The themes and priorities of our roundtable have been decided by our Planning Circle, made up of mothers with lived prison experience and their children. They are claiming their personal voice, expertise and stake in supporting the health of mothers and their children.
SEVEN ROUNDTABLE THEMES
"Your baby, your child, is your heart on the outside, you can’t beat without it".
- Planning Circle Mother
PRISON: LIFE ON THE INSIDE
"If we don’t have some type of freedom, I don’t see the point of being here. Being owned by corrections is not for me" - Planning Circle Mother
- Planning Circle Mother
"I had such anxiety from being in jail and [my son] being separated from me, I almost died"
-Planning Circle Mother
"We need data on women who had babies in jail versus women who had babies taken away. It’s really black and white ...women who had their children with them are the ones who are doing well now."
- Planning Circle Mother
"Because the women don’t know their human rights, [it's] used against them".
– Planning Circle Mother
Stemming from the belief that relationships are the foundation of fruitful collaboration, we will begin by getting to know each other and learn about what motivates us in our work. We will ask: “Who are we dedicating this work to?” For one week, we represent a village at the roundtable and we will start by drafting a charter that will guide the spirit and culture of our time together.
The Delegates Museum
Each delegate is asked to bring one object that represents why this topic and this work is important to them. Together the objects will form the Delegate’s Museum and will represent our collective work, ideas and aspirations.
The Circle of Realizations
In the centre of our roundtable circle will be a large circular blank canvas. Throughout the week, as you listen and learn, you are invited to scribble your insights as they occur. This will be our collective memory of our moments of understanding that we will share.
Speaking from Silence: Sacred Sunrise and Moonrise
The voices of incarcerated mothers and their children are too often silenced because of oppression and circumstance. We will begin and end each day by carving out space for them to speak and be heard. The speakers in these sessions serve as our teachers to help us better understand the deeper root causes of inequity and oppression that act as barriers to health for mothers and their children
The Circle of Seven: Stories and Dialogue Exploring the Canadian and International Landscapes
Stories and group dialogue will be used to explore the seven roundtable themes within the Canadian and International landscapes. The issues will be explored through a holistic approach, encompassing personal, cultural, spiritual, societal and systemic views. As ideas bloom, they will be planted for collaborative work later in the week.
Growing in the Ground of Our Parents Health
This session will be led by the children of parental incarceration. This is time carved out for the adults to be quiet, listen and learn from the leadership of the youth with lived experience
Reviewing all the ideas from the week, we will form small circles to work collaboratively on action plans for change, health and healing. This is the time to roll up our sleeves and work together toward our shared goals. Each small working circle will then present to the whole group.
One of our shared goals is to produce an international documentary that will tell the story of parental incarceration through the eyes of children. Through participatory arts, we hope to give children the opportunity to tell their own stories. We will plan and brainstorm together around next steps for this project.
The Commitment Record
Studies demonstrate that a woman’s criminal record follows her for life, and also tends to be carried by her children, and her children’s children. At the end of the roundtable, as a metaphor to break the cycle of generational criminal records, delegates will be asked to leave with a commitment record, which is a personal pledge to apply the knowledge learned through the roundtable to their various projects and into their spheres of influence
Harvest: Family Feast and Celebration
To mark the end of our roundtable we will have a family feast and celebration; a time to celebrate the connections made and enjoy the harvest of our time together.
Public Event: The Rights and Realities of Children of Incarcerated Mothers
Through a public panel discussion, we will highlight what many of our international delegates are doing to change the lives and paths of children whose parents are living behind bars. We will also hear from lawyer Geoff Cowper on the current BC Supreme Court challenge on a mother’s constitutional right to be with her baby while incarcerated. Everyone is welcome. This is a free/by donation event.
PWIAS Special Guest Speaker: Caryl Phillips
“The Cities by the Water, Post-Colonial History and Participation of Newcomers”. Professor Caryl Philips, award-winning and internationally acclaimed British author and playwright, will join us in Vancouver for a special evening to discuss themes from his many plays and books, including how the experience of newcomers is often shaped by the personalities of cities in which they choose to settle. Illustrated by passages from his writing, Professor Phillips will explore the cultural legacies of colonialism, with a particular focus on the historical and cultural connections between Europe, Africa and the Americas. He will examine the immigrant experience of identity, place and belonging, interweaving threads from many of his novels that hinge on cultural and social dislocation associated with the migratory experience, slavery, racism, and stereotyping.
DOXA DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL: Screening and panel discussion
Friday May 10th - official announcement of venue and film will be made after April 3rd.