At the Prison Book Program, we are heartbroken by the devastating murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and many others. These are just the most recent in a long line of killings of unarmed Black people. We want to turn our heartbreak into action. We affirm the rights of all people to live in safety, and stand firmly against racism, hate and injustice. We stand with the protesters who are calling for deep and lasting change. We envision a world in which our program is less needed, where every human being’s life is valued and cherished. We are grateful for the incredible outpouring of support for our program this week.

For too long, Black Americans and other people of color have been disproportionately arrested, jailed, and given much harsher sentences than white people. We acknowledge the systemic institutional racism in policing and the prison industrial complex. Black, Latinx, Asian and
Indigenous Americans, people with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ community are disproportionately incarcerated and underserved in our nation’s prisons.

As an organization, we reaffirm our commitment to antiracism and justice. We welcome people of all backgrounds to volunteer with us. We are proud of our volunteers whose time at the Prison Book Program launches them into activism. We are grateful to our volunteers who are showing up for justice and hope they stay safe and healthy.

Our mission has always been sending books to people in prison. We believe that access to education is a right, not a privilege. We strive to treat every incarcerated person with dignity, kindness and respect, and to provide access to information. We are intentional in providing books by people of color, those of different faiths, and LGBTQ folks. #BlackLivesMatter. Black voices matter. Black stories matter.

We are deeply committed to supporting incarcerated readers as they navigate life behind bars. We hope that reading will change their lives in a positive way, but also that the act of receiving a package reminds them that they are not alone. People in prison are some of our most forgotten members of society, but we have not forgotten them, and neither have you, our supporters. As one reader wrote: “Thank you for believing that incarcerated people are human beings.”