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PNAP Think Tank
A Statement on
Harm,Art  &  Healing


We are a group of people facing life sentences or long-term sentences of twenty years or more. We have harmed and we have been on the receiving end of harm. Some of us have claims of innocence. Others of us do not. Most of us come from communities where harm and violence are perpetual; yet, we have grown together recognizing each other’s humanity on this side of the wall. 


We have come to understand that harm has far-reaching tentacles that manifest physically and through insidious, invisible, life-stealing emotional scars. These harms have a ripple effect that permeates the lives of victims/survivors, their families and loved ones, ourselves, our families and loved ones, our communities, and beyond. We make no excuse for the harm we caused. We learned harm as a normalized behavior, and we have been actively working to unlearn it. We choose to take accountability for harm that we have caused.  


For us, accountability is a journey, and we are all at different stages of our individual journeys. We believe we have a duty to go to any lengths to do and be better…to see ourselves wholly and completely. We are products of our choices, our circumstances, and the violence inherent in our communities and in our society. We, too, have experienced harm that has been enacted against us socially, politically, economically, and constitutionally every day. Most of us have also experienced physical harm carried out against us by other individuals. Many of us were not aware of the extent to which we had harmed others. We were also unaware of the harm we, and our people, have experienced until we began educating ourselves. 


In our everyday lives, we seek to tell our truths and live by them. Because of the serious and sensitive nature of our crimes and the accusations against us, we are uniquely vulnerable to the way information, including our own words, can be distorted and used against us in the courts, media, and the penal system. We are thankful that Humans of Life Row is a profoundly safe space that acknowledges our humanity and allows us to be vulnerable and to heal through our academic and artistic endeavors. 


We are committed to do no harm, to do what we can to ensure that others are not harmed, and to heal ourselves. We are proactive in our healing everyday because we know the journey has no finish line. We are unequivocally sensitive to and deeply care about the effects of all forms of harm. We believe it is our duty to promote healing from and eradication of harm as we strive toward lasting and systemic change. 


We believe in the life-changing power of forgiveness and healing. We are always prepared to make amends whenever possible, and these hands that have harmed are now the hands that can heal. May the arts bring understanding and grace to each other. 


Special thanks to Mariame Kaba, Shaneva McReynolds, and Maria Pike.

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