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Aminata Diallo, MS, MSSP
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FANZINE: Stories of Families at Berks

Community Fund for Wellness

Storytelling is a powerful tool for healing and empowerment. The Familias Separadas Project will be documenting the struggles and triumphs of children and families detained at Berks County Family Detention Center in a Fanzine.

About

Developed in 2013, the “Familias Separadas” project, focuses on the stories of families affected by detention and deportation and currently centers on families detained at the Berks County Family Detention Center, a state-run prison outside of Philadelphia for immigrant families. Berks is one of three family prisons in the United States, where children as young as two-weeks-old have been incarcerated. In 2016, the Berks family prison had their license revoked due to a litany of human rights abuses that include sexual assault by a guard and lack of immediate medical attention to several children at the Center. However, the Center’s license was renewed this year and continues to detain families (mothers, fathers, and children) to this day.

This next phase of this project will result in a large public art installations in Harrisburg, Lancaster, and Reading, PA; a fanzine that will compile the stories of struggle and triumph from families detained at Berks; and  a short video documentary that will share the stories of families at Berks illustrated through the artwork created through the project.

Specifically, the Community Fund’s grant dollars will support the creation of the fanzine which will be a small-circulation, self-published work of original texts and images created with families currently and formerly detained at Berks. The fanzine will be printed in a limited edition to be distributed to the families and in select educational and advocacy settings in Harrisburg, Lancaster, Reading, and Philadelphia. A digital version of the fanzine will be available online to spark others to take action in advocating for the families detained at Berks.