Sunday, January 1, 2012

Prison Creative Arts Project, continued...



Photo provided by Buzz Alexander

Click on the below article link to obtain background information to this blog post:

Examiner article

As I have matured into an adult and especially over the past 10 years, I have come to realize that we are all very much connected in the human race. Even those individuals who are imprisoned are much like you and me.

I once knew a person who ran a shelter where I used to volunteer. She helped others who where coping through domestic violence. As I worked with her I discovered that she was one of the most loving and compassionate women I have known. Later I found out she had served many years in prison for killing her husband who had been beating her though out their long-term marriage. The little time I spent with her has changed me forever. She helped me to let go of my judgmental bias towards not only prisoners but others in general. Unless you’ve walked in someone else’s shoes, you will never truly know what lead them to their offense or horrible decision or if they’ll find health in the aftermath. This is their demon to battle and hopefully overcome. All we can do is try to find the compassion to be kind and supportive, to come from a place of love. This can be very difficult.

This compassion and nonjudgmental presence is overflowing from Buzz Alexander. I admire this most about him. You all know how difficult it is to let go of judgment and, when doing so, it has to be sincere or it is obvious.

Buzz has a genuinely warm soul. It is apparent in the success of his prison arts work over the past 20 plus years.

He has been published several times but his latest book, Is William Martinez Not Our Brother, provides further insight about his work.

He shared, “The book basically talks about everything we’ve done, our values and methodology. We now have 226 associates (former members of PCAP who are engaged in social justice work all over the world). I talk about the art show and quote what the prison artists say about the impact of the Annual Exhibition. I also talk about the impact of the classes and the workshops. There is also a chapter on mass incarceration and much more!”

Click here to purchase a copy of the book.

If you have any comments, for Buzz or myself, feel free to open a conversation. We would like to hear your thoughts.

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