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Open Letters, is a socially engaged art project that engages communities in dialogue around capital punishment issues by inviting individuals on Texas death row to author open letters to society about the trauma they and their families have experienced post-conviction. You are invited to join us for an evening gathering where we will collectively read one such letter and through facilitated dialogue have an opportunity to process and respond. Transcripts from this and 15 other gatherings around Texas will later be compiled into a publication.

We live in a country with the highest prison population in the world – over 2.2 million. To see this number come to life, that’s more than the entire population of New Mexico, behind bars. 142,000 people are serving time in Texas, with 216 of them awaiting execution on Death Row. Of these, 44% are black. Is the death penalty fair? Why do inmates on death row wait years before their execution? Is it possible to redeem oneself after conviction of a violent crime? Is prison reform necessary or even possible?

These conversations matter. By collectively exploring the experience of death row inmates, we can better understand how our prison systems work and discuss whether or not this current system is the best method in addressing violent crime. We can also engage in empathy, with victims, families, and even perpetrators of violent crime.

This project is led by artist Mark Menjivar:
Hosted by The Impact Guild: