America’s Largest Public Housing Program

Hand of the government holding a mother with two babies

     Art by John Havard Macpherson

I am happy to announce that the Challenger Street Newspaper is partnering with the Inside Books Project to send back issues of our paper into Texas state prisons. The Inside Books Project sends books and other reading materials to Texas prisoners, in 2012 receiving 12,000 requests and sending out over 20,000 free books.

In addition to sending in our paper, I am excited to amplify voices from within these prisons, what a friend has called America’s Largest Public Housing Program. We are sending in fliers recruiting writers and artists!

Years ago the Inside Books Project introduced me to the Prison Abolition Movement, which helped me begin to think critically about the justice system in the US. Prison Abolition to me is the vision of a world where people are not put in cages and the creation of attitudes and social relationships where the police are not the answer to conflict and suffering.

For me, police and prisons represent and maintain a society based on oppression and exploitation serving to discipline the population to “know their place”, where ever that place may be. A year ago I published an interview with a friend, who, recently released from Texas prisons, was struggling to find housing and stable employment, due to his record. Mass imprisonment has a huge repressive impact on society, showing us all the consequences if we step out of line.

With the beginning of this project I hope to amplify prisoner voices and prisoner struggle, connecting the dots for a broader movement of the poor against the social order.

Did you enjoy this article? Want to read more like it? Great news! The latest issue of the Challenger Newspaper is available for download here. Or for a hard-copy version see our distributors map to locate a friendly Challenger distributor near you. Thank you for helping support our mission to end homelessness in Austin!

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One thought on “America’s Largest Public Housing Program

  1. July 2, 2014 at 2:35 am

    Homeless PULSE count run by ECHO(Ending Community Homelessness) the main coordinating body in Austin to address homelessness.

    Saturday July 26
    5am-8am

    This will help determine the number and characteristics of the homeless in our area, which will directly impact the type and amount of services and resources dedicated to address homelessness in our area. Last count of all of N Austin from Mopac to I35 N of 183 only counted 11 people. We know there are more folks up here than that, but to PROVE it we need volunteers to assist with the count. Veterans are especially encouraged to participate. We will be covering vacant land and creekland and parkland as well as overpasses, etc.

    Contact prestonpetty@austinecho.org to volunteer to be on a team to help with the count, and find out when training will be. (beforehand)

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