Bend the Bars Conference Organizing Update

Thanks for your interest in Bend the Bars!

This event is only one month away! We hope we’ll see you there!

Our scheduling is shaping up, proposals are coming in, and we will have an honest-to-goodness registration button on our website within 24 hours. Here is some of the programming that we are looking forward to:

-A presentation from experienced representatives of #Black Lives Matter, the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, and Support Prisoner Resistance. This panel will articulate the intersections between these organizing initiatives as well as the strategic opportunities available to their collaboration.

-Videoconferencing breakout sessions with convicts to address inside-out organizing, conditions of confinement, trans&queer resistance, restorative justice, convict unity, and the Free Alabama Movement program.

-A public demonstration featuring an amplified call-in from a SuperMax prison in Ohio.

-Primers and workshops on prisoner support skills like navigating mail room censorship; producing and distributing publications inside; processing large volumes of mail; how to open an IWOC branch or start a books to prisoners program in your region.

-Primers on the lessons learned from past prison rebellions and their strategic importance today.

We are still accepting and soliciting proposals for content. If you would like to contribute, please RSVP ASAP to

Content Evaluation: We will evaluate proposals based on the author’s proximity to the content they are presenting, as well as its proximity to the struggles of people who are incarcerated. Our intention is to center our gathering on the struggles of prisoners and develop our programming from there, rather than attempting to articulate every expression of anti-prison work equally. Please send us an email if you want to check in before making a proposal.

Trigger Warnings, Content Warnings, and Safe(r) Spaces: We insist that participants refrain from using triggering and graphic descriptions of traumatic experiences gratuitously or for shock value. We cannot, however, ask the convicts, ex-cons, or other directly-affected individuals who are contributing to this convergence to censor their expression of their experiences. Dehumanization, torture, abuse, and sexual violence are integral to prisons, not exceptional, and we believe that hearing our comrades express their experiences is an essential part of honoring their humanity. We are developing a plan for providing safer spaces and skilled support people to the best of our ability. We are also open to your suggestions and contributions in this regard. Please send a note to with the subject heading [safer space] if you have a suggestion or contribution that you would like us to take into consideration.

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