Health/Fitness » HIV/AIDS

Philly Fight Holds 12th Annual Prison Health Care Summit

by Winnie McCroy
EDGE Editor
Monday Jun 9, 2014

On June 10, as part of Philadelphia FIGHT's city-wide month 20th Annual AIDS Education Month, they will tackle the problem of incarceration and return to the community with "Beyond the Walls: The 12th Annual Prison Health and Reentry Summit," at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. New York Times bestselling author Michelle Alexander will be the keynote speaker.

"The summit provides a unique opportunity to bring diverse stakeholders to the table to explore the effect of mass incarceration on our communities," says Hannah Zellman, Director, Philadelphia FIGHT's Institute for Community Justice (ICJ), and Coordinator of the Prison Health Care & Reentry Summit. "Our goal is not only to highlight innovative work happening in the field, but to bring the experiences of those most directly impacted to the forefront of these conversations. The summit prioritizes hearing from individuals with records, their loved ones, and those still on the inside, because we know that for our work to be successful it must be grounded in their wisdom."

The event is part of a series of events, conferences and workshops to increase HIV/AIDS awareness, and explore the issues of prevention, treatment and social justice. Through panels and workshops, they will take a closer look at health and reentry challenges facing people who are incarcerated or reentering our communities, including HIV, mental health issues, substance use, housing, employment, advocacy, mentorship and educational programs.

Keynote speaker Michelle Alexander is a highly acclaimed civil rights lawyer, advocate, and legal scholar who currently holds a joint appointment at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity and the Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University. Prior to joining the Kirwan Institute, Professor Alexander was an Associate Professor of Law at Stanford Law School, where she directed the Civil Rights Clinics.

In 2005, she won a Soros Justice Fellowship, which supported the writing of her first book, "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness." The book was considered one of the top African American books of 2010 and it won the NAACP Image Award for "outstanding literary work of non-fiction."

Alexander’s address will kick off a day of workshops and discussions around accessing services for reentry, activism, community empowerment, healthcare, youth, spirituality and legal issues.

Highlights of the event include the interactive art exhibit, "Windows from Prison," a screening of the documentary film, "Stolen Dreams: Breaking the Cycle of Youth Trauma, Violence & Imprisonment," a screening of clips from the HBO documentary "Every F---ing Day of My Life," featuring Wendy Maldonado, followed by a workshop focusing on women protecting themselves from domestic violence, and "My Truth: Plays of Real Life in Prison from Our Eyes to Yours."

Philadelphia FIGHT is a comprehensive AIDS service organization providing state-of-the art, culturally competent primary care to low income members of the community, HIV specialty care, consumer education, advocacy, social services, and outreach to people living with HIV and those who are at high risk, including family members, communities with high rates of HIV, formerly incarcerated persons, and young people at risk, along with access to the most advanced clinical research in HIV treatment and prevention.

Their goal and hope is to end the AIDS epidemic within the lifetime of those currently living with HIV. Among their major collaborating partners for this summit is the Philadelphia Prison System, which participates in the planning process, provides speakers for the panels, and allows staff members of ICJ to bring HIV 101 presentations to all correctional staff during AEM.

Beyond the Walls: the 12th Annual Prison Health Care & Reentry Summit, will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 10 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, 12th and Arch Streets, Philadelphia. All AIDS Education Month events are free. For more information, please visit

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women's news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.


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