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Artwork from Chicago Arts Department


An exhibition showcasing the art of former and current juvenile detainees kicks off tomorrow at the West Side Justice Center located in East Garfield Park.

As part of the launch of First Defense Legal Aid’s (FDLA) newest ad campaign – “Be Ready” – the exhibit aims to challenge the perceptions, stereotypes and fears about youth in detention and adults in jail and prison.

The fifth exhibition in an ongoing series titled “Mitigating Evidence” the collaboration between the Chicago Arts Department and Free Write Arts hopes to engage the public about the prison-industrial complex while providing former and incarcerated artists the opportunity to tell their own stories through art and writing.

According to Prisons + Neighborhood Arts Project (PNAP): “the exhibition will feature self-portraits, a retrospective of Free Write and PNAP student work, a listening station featuring audio recordings of student compositions, and a multimedia timeline that juxtaposes significant events related to criminalization and prison reform with the power of the personal narrative.”

download-32FDLA, a not-for-profit organization has been on the forefront of championing civil and human rights for the poor and low-to-moderate income people, for the past 20 years, providing free, 24/7 legal representation for those arrested by Chicago police.

Tonight, the launch of their new ad campaign will coincide with the free mini-workshop for lawyers and anyone who works with youth to learn about what’s at stake when youth are alone with the police and how adults can assist them.

download-33Scheduled panelist include: Vickie Casanova Willis – National Conference of Black Lawyers & FDLA; Herschella Conyers – Mandel Legal Aid Clinic & Juvenile Justice Initiative; Xavier McEthrath-Bey – Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth; Paul Williams – FDLA Street Law Corps.

3d457c0The event runs from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m., October 28, 601 S. California. Call 1.800.LAW-REP4 as soon as you or someone you know has been arrested by Chicago police, for free representation.

To learn more about the organizations, please visit their websites.

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