The Spirit & Place Festival will present “Outside the Boxes: Challenging Labels Attached to Justice Involved Individuals,” as one of several events this year.
Event facilitator and IUPUI Professor of Anthropology Susan B. Hyatt has taught in work release and reentry programs. She said labels such as “addicts,” “felons” and “offenders” place additional hurdles on individuals reentering society.
“I realized just how tremendously detrimental that was, and how much that really limited people's opportunities, even once they were out of prison, to get jobs, come to school, fulfill desires that they might have to move on with their lives, and how they were always held back by having those labels attached to them," Hyatt said.
The gathering will include group dialogue and panel discussions to help participants think about themselves beyond an identity that other people often assigned to them.
“Each group would be facilitated by a formally incarcerated person, most of them students that I've had in my classes, to really get into the discussion of why we use these kinds of labels, and what we would need to do in order to have a world where we wouldn't feel compelled to use these kinds of labels," Hyatt said.
The event is Nov. 4 at The Church Within in downtown Indianapolis. The Spirit & Place Festival engages the arts, humanities and religion to build stronger communities and civic skills. More than two dozen festival events exploring the theme of identify will run through Nov. 13.