The following was written by incoming UVA Campus Coordinator Evan Davis.
Evan received the $75 activism grant used for this event for applying early to the CC Program. If you’re interested in applying, we’re still accepting late applications until Monday, May 9th. Apply today!
Incarceration Nation turned out to be one of the most successful events we have put on so far this year at UVA!
During the day, we tabled on the lawn (UVA’s version of a “quad” at most universities). We had people take pictures holding up fake jail cell bars (see on the left in the picture below), introduced people to criminal justice reform, and spread awareness about the panel in the evening. We had four speakers at the event, including a professor at UVA, a Generation Opportunity leader, and a representative from the Charles Koch Institute. Each provided valuable insight about what’s wrong with the current system, and potential solutions. One of the leaders in our club at UVA, Grace Charlton, asked open-ended questions to the panelists, and then opened it up to the audience for questions. Lots of the questions showed a good deal of interest in the topic. The food helped attract people to the event and made it a more enjoyable experience overall.
As it turned out, about 90 people showed up to the event to watch the speakers talk about reform. Also, I think it is safe to say that everyone was interested; while at the start many had laptops out or were checking their phones, by the end everyone looked engaged and was giving their undivided attention to the panelists. This alone may not cause any change right now, but spreading awareness and getting people thinking about this important issue is the first step to making real, significant impacts later on.