The other day I received a cryptic call. After a few moments I learned that, once again and out of the clear blue, writing inside VT is the subject of an unsolicited PR/fundraising effort.
It happened a year or two back, when we received a generous check from a local congregation. The accompanying note explained that writing inside VT had been chosen the worthy non-profit recipient of the week’s Sunday collection. Quite aside from my curiosity as to how individuals not directly involved with us actually hear about or find us, these incidents move me. Deeply.
A few weeks back it happened again. This time, a UVM student called to ask if we would be the focus of a student fund-raising project. A team of 10 students from a variety of disciplines who have come together in a class on entrepreneurship have been charged with creating a pop-up commercial venture. Their personal interests intersect at gender equality, criminal justice and women’s issues. Which is how they found us.
For six to eight weeks, they will have two slots/week on camput to sell something which they have designed and produced. Their goal is to start a conversation about incarceration. When me met, I jotted down the list of impacts they wanted from their project: connection, building social capital, rehumanizing and validating the incarcerated in an authentic way to raise awareness about criminal justice reform. A tall order by any standard.
They are mid-project right now. Their product is still under development. Working with a copy of HEAR ME, SEE ME: Incarcerated Women Write and their own brainstorming, initiative and energy, they will choose artwork and empowering quotable lines to create their product.
Stay tuned for more information as the plan unfolds!