A few years ago I had the privilege of directing an undergraduate honors thesis written by Anita Rao, who was then a senior at UNC Chapel Hill. Anita took on an ambitious original research project, interviewing formerly incarcerated women in the Triangle Area of North Carolina about the time they spent as part of an arts workshop in a women’s prison in Raleigh. Anita’s senior thesis was awarded highest honors and now sits in bound form in the UNC library. Her research inspired me to write an article about the same prison arts workshop for a forthcoming special issue of the academic journal American Music.
After graduating from UNC, Anita went to work for National Public Radio’s StoryCorps program, where I know she is doing wonderful things. She recently sent me an email with this link to a StoryCorps clip in which a formerly incarcerated mother and her daughter interview one another about their experiences of the mother’s imprisonment.
Thank you, Anita, for the great work you are doing! We need many more thoughtful young people like you to help bring stories of women and families’ experiences of incarceration to light.