Empowerment Avenue

I am working with the Oakland-based nonprofit Prison Renaissance, founded in 2015 out of San Quentin State Prison, on a pilot program called Empowerment Avenue. Empowerment Avenue is the vision of Rahsaan “New York” Thomas, who you can read about here, for advocates and incarcerated writers, artists, musicians, and thinkers committed to the radical act of paying incarcerated people fairly for their labor.

We are working to build better frameworks to fulfill Rahsaan’s vision. I’m the program organizer of the Empowerment Avenue’s Writer’s Cohort, a one-on-one volunteer model in which outside editors and writers are paired with incarcerated writers to work together to workshop and publish the incarcerated writer’s work. Between June 2020 and March 2021, Empowerment Avenue has supported publication of 25 pieces of writing, earning incarcerated writers over $10,000. Our work was profiled by the Columbia Journalism Review in April 2021.

If you are interested in participating, supporting or collaborating with us, please reach out: empowermentave@gmail.com.