“The Box”, should be ABOLISHED at NYU and beyond because: Education must be recognized as a mechanism for liberation and not as an instrument of omission, and universities should been seen as environments to transform one’s life, not reproduce, the class, gender and racial stratification of society. In an attempt to spark dialogue between those with [documented] criminal records, educators, scholars, activist, students and institutions of higher education administrative folks, I echo the words of Victor Hugo, “(s)he who opens the school door closes the prison”. As a formerly incarcerated doctoral candidate I share my testimony, a story similar to other currently and formerly incarcerated individuals. I have mustered the courage. I have found the mental, emotional, financial, relational and psychological resources that are required to apply to college and enter into the financial debts of higher learning. I have crossed a threshold and made promises to my family, communities and self. Instead of succumbing to a life of crime and/or the reproducing of structural violence, I have rose up to the challenge of a life dedicated to education and human justice. For me, and many other system impacted individuals, families and communities crime is no longer an option. When we arrive to the college application and the steps of colleges and universities, we arrive as HUMAN, not as convicts or ex-felons. We carry no risk. We only carry hope.”

 

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