Guide to Kulchur, the westside non-profit book store that reopened
in June of 2017 in a new location at Lorain and West 52nd, launched a GoFundMe in June of 2016 to send books to 10,000 prisoners
. The fundraiser is now about $1,000 short of reaching its $7,000 goal, and it comes at a time when states around the country have been placing increasing limits on what prisoners can and can't read. GTK already has the books on hand; the funds will help with distribution.
"Carceral institutions are actively contracting with vendors who limit the scope of titles available to inmates," the GoFundMe page says. "Carceral institutions also institute rules like no property sharing, which they name “trafficking” and suspicious. How then can we provide resources to inmates?"
One of the titles RA Washington, founder of Guide to Kulchur, and the rest of the team are intent on getting into the hands of inmates is Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.
That award-winning 2010 work argued that discrimination in the justice system and the ensuing mass incarceration of minorities are mechanisms the country has used to control and limit people of color across the board. The book's been banned by prisons in North Carolina and Florida; it had been banned in New Jersey prisons until the ACLU got involved and challenged the unconstitutional restriction.
Want to help out? Pony up a donation to Washington's Books 2 Prisoners fundraiser here.