How To Talk With Children About Incarceration Using Books

Sat, May 18, 2019 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM EDT

Join Mariame Kaba, author of Missing Daddy which is currently featured in our exhibition Lil’ Radicals, to discuss the impacts of prison on children and to address ways to explain it to them. This event is relevant for families with incarcerated loved ones, individuals who work with children of the incarcerated (such as educators, caregivers, or service providers), and a general public interested in developing better communication skills regarding incarceration. During the conversation, participants will be introduced to a variety of children’s books that address incarceration. In addition, there will also be an introduction to supporting those who are incarcerated with letter writing.

There are 2.7 million children under 18 who have an incarcerated parent and over 5 million have experienced the incarceration of a parent at some point in their lives. In other words, 1 in 28 American children (3.6%) have an incarcerated parent. Thirty years ago, the number was 1 in 125. About 1 in 9 Black children and 1 in 28 Latino children have an incarcerated parent. More than 14,000 children of incarcerated parents enter foster care each year.

These numbers are staggering. As a result of the epidemic of incarceration, millions of children have endured traumatic separations from their parents. This has impacted their material conditions, their mental health, their school performance and their overall well-being.

Mariame Kaba’s Bio:

Mariame Kaba is an organizer, educator and curator who is active in movements for racial, gender, and transformative justice. She is the founder and director of Project NIA, a grassroots organization with a vision to end youth incarceration. She has co-founded multiple organizations and projects over the years including We Charge Genocide, the Chicago Freedom School, the Chicago Taskforce on Violence against Girls and Young Women, Love & Protect and most recently Survived & Punished. Mariame is also a co-organizer of the Just Practice Collaborative, a training and mentoring group focused on sustaining a community of practitioners that provide community-based accountability and support structures for all parties involved with incidents and patterns of sexual, domestic, relationship, and intimate community violence. She is on the advisory boards of the Chicago Torture Justice Memorials, Critical Resistance and the Chicago Community Bond Fund. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications including The Nation Magazine, The Guardian, The Washington Post, In These Times, Teen Vogue, The New Inquiry and more. She runs Prison Culture blog. Mariame’s work has been recognized with several honors and awards.

As a Researcher in Residence at the Barnard Center for Research on Women, Mariame Kaba works with Andrea J. Ritchie, fellow Researcher in Residence, on a new SJI initiative, Interrupting Criminalization: Research in Action. For more on this work, visit the Interrupting Criminalization page.