Imagine the abolition of cash bail with MoMA PS1, clothing label Telfar, and nonprofit human rights advocacy organization Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights during a full day of teach-ins, music, and conversation. The program features speakers including Emily Bazelon, Jackie Wang, Pedro Hernandez, Amanda Jack, Tourmaline, Katie Schaffer, and Hannah Black, performances by Standing on the Corner and Total Freedom, and teach-ins by organizations including Bronx Defenders, Court Watch, The Legal Aid Society, Mass Bail Out, and Youth Represent.
1:30 p.m. Doors open
2:30 p.m. Introduction
2:45 p.m. presentation by Jackie Wang
3:15 p.m. conversation with Jackie Wang & Pedro Hernandez
3:30 p.m. film screening of Sable Elyse Smith's "Men Who Swallow Themselves in Mirrors" (2017)
3:45 p.m. conversation with Emily Bazelon and Amanda Jack
4:15 p.m. panel discussion moderated by Hannah Black with Emily Bazelon, Darren Mack, Katie Schaffer, and Tourmaline
5 p.m. live performance by Standing on the Corner
5:30 p.m. DJ set by Total Freedom
Redaction Gallery Teach-ins
2 p.m. Jay Holder (Center For Justice, The SAFElab, Mass Bail Out) and Wesley Caines (The Bronx Defenders)
3:30 p.m. Ezra Ritchin (Dollar Bail Brigade, The Bail Project) and Thais Saunders (Youth Represent)
In 2018, Queens-born designer Telfar Clemens created the "LeFrak" unisex capsule collection. Proceeds from the collection went to Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights' Mass Bail Out campaign to free women and youth from Rikers Island as a part of the largest bailout in a single city, posting nearly $1.2 million to free 105 people. This action was made possible through the coordinated efforts of over 1,200 volunteers: community groups, service providers, public defenders, faith communities, formerly incarcerated people and their families, as well as public officials, influencers, and activists, who sought to demonstrate that closing Rikers Island and ending cash bail is possible.
As a continuation of this initiative, MoMA PS1 has invited Telfar and Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights along with artists, writers, activists, volunteers, and advocates to share practical information on how bail works and how to get involved in its reform. The program highlights ways in which the discourse of innocence is used disproportionately against people of color, women, and gender nonconforming people to discriminate who is worthy of justice, care, and life. Discussions provide a range of perspectives on these issues, including a panel on radical alternatives to the bail system with New York Times Magazine journalist Emily Bazelon, activist and organizer Darren Mack, artist and activist Tourmaline, and Katie Schaffer, who led the recent #FREEnewyork campaign instrumental in changing New York state legislation, moderated by artist Hannah Black; a talk on bail from the legal perspective with Emily Bazelon and Amanda Jack, a public defender and Project Director of Mass Bail Out; and a conversation between author and activist Jackie Wang and Pedro Hernandez, whose recent release from Rikers Island was facilitated by Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. These talks are interspersed with a screening of Sable Elyse Smith's film Men Who Swallow Themselves in Mirrors (2017), a DJ set by Total Freedom, and a performance by Standing on the Corner.
Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Redaction: A Project by Titus Kaphar and Reginald Dwayne Betts, on view at MoMA PS1 through May 5, the program will also feature a series of teach-ins within the gallery led by representatives from Bronx Defenders, Center for Justice, Dollar Bail Brigade, The Legal Aid Society, Mass Bail Out, Violence Interrupters, and Youth Represent. These teach-ins will provide an overview of the bail system in New York City, and offer visitors practical tools of resistance and information about local organizations' longstanding activist efforts.
In conjunction with the program, a limited edition Telfar t-shirt will be available for sale, 100% of the proceeds from which directly support Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights’ ongoing effort to free school-aged youth from Rikers Island.