Building Bridges through Books
This is a book club that has participants both inside and outside the prison walls. We have book club discussions through written discussion questions that get distributed to all members, and then the answers are collected and distributed to facilitate a shared educational experience by transcending the prison walls. Our leadership collective is made up of inside and outside the prison walls members.
Check out our FAQs by clicking this link (pdf document, will open in new window)
Our first book is A People’s History by Howard Zinn. This book was chosen by our inside the prison walls leaders.
Click here to check out our welcome letter (pdf document, will open in new window)
Discussion Questions and Answers for A People’s History
Questions for chapters 1-3 (pdf document, opens in new window)
Answers for chapters 1-3 (pdf document, opens in new window)
Questions for chapters 4-6 (pdf document, opens in new window)
Our purpose, mission statement, objectives and ways to get involved are below.
To exchange ideas and foster discussions, promote reading for knowledge and enjoyment while simultaneously building community inside and outside the prison walls.
We envision building more committed and connected relationships through shared reading and discussion of books in efforts to support the movement of prison abolition.
- Give everyone a voice through the distribution of discussion questions and answers both inside and outside the prison walls, as well as leadership being equally comprised of incarcerated people and those outside the walls.
- Inspire meaningful conversations, critical thinking, imagination and empathy in all members.
- Provide a supportive, safe and respectful environment for exchanging ideas and stimulating dialogue with a focus on the ‘isms’ that attempt to divide us all (such as racism, sexism, classism, etc).
- Offer a selection of high-quality, thought-provoking, diverse literature.
- Encourage intellectual development and mutual education given the lack of rehabilitation and programming available by the CDCr.
Ways to get involved:
We are not accepting any new members at this time.
If are interested in joining in the future, please check this page for updates. Once we have finished reading our first book, we will open up membership for new inside and outside the prison walls to join the club.
Make a monetary donation!
Thank you to everyone who donated! We reached our goal of raising $1000 to see this project through for at least a year. As we move forward with this project, there are many unexpected hurdles such as the prisons not delivering the books to our inside participants, books going missing, and mailings disappearing. All of these unexpected hurdles are costing us more money than expected. If you are in a position to give, please read below for ways to donate.
We’ve drawn up different sponsorship levels below for those of you who can make a larger donation, and we encourage you to invite friends and family to donate as well. Your donation will help reduce isolation, increase education, and foster meaningful connections for someone in solitary confinement (currently or has even been), and will make our movement for human rights stronger all around.
Please consider what you can give. You can donate online using PayPal. When donating using PayPal, indicate that the donation is for Building Bridges through Books. Please use this link to donate: Donate using PayPal
Prefer to donate by check? Please make the check out to Human Rights Pen Pals, and write Building Bridges through Books in the memo section. Mail your check to:
Human Rights Pen Pals
1301 Clay Street
PO Box 71378
Oakland, CA 94612
Zine Level = $25 for postage for 7 mailing packets of discussion questions and answers.
Paperback Level = $50 to pay for one inside participant’s materials for the entire year
Sketchbook Level = $100 allows us to purchase a care package and shipping of packets for 2 incarcerated pen pals for an entire year!
Hardback Level = $200 allows us to purchase a care package and shipping of packets for 4 pen pals on the inside for an entire year!
Illuminated Manuscript Level = $600 allows us to purchase a care package and shipping of packets for 12 pen pals on the inside for an entire year!
Please note that this is a new, grassroots program. Building Bridges is not a 501(c)3, so donations are not tax deductible.
Thank you Tae Won Yu for donating the illustration.
Have questions or comments for us? Contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.