Hank Dixon, interim Director of Open Circle, and Natalia Ilyniak, Director of Circles of Support and Accountability, spoke at Geez Magazine’s launch of Issue #44: Prisons. Hank shared about his experiences with the prison, both as an inmate and chaplain. He closed his presentation by quoting Gregory J. Boyle: “We stand there with those whose dignity has been denied. We locate ourselves with the poor and the powerless and the voiceless. At the edges, we join the easily despised and the readily left out. We stand with the demonized so that the demonizing will stop. We situate ourselves right next to the disposable so that the day will come when we stop throwing people away.”
Natalia spoke about her experience working for Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA), focusing on the ways stigma prevents individuals from integrating into society after incarceration. Individuals are expected to become “productive members of society,” while experiencing barriers to accessing work, safe housing, programming, education, and support overall.
Follow these links to watch Hank and Natalia’s presentations (on Facebook):
Image from the graphic novel undocumented: the architecture of migrant detention (The Architecture Observer, 2014) by Toronto artist Tings Chak.