Yale Undergraduate Prison Project (YUPP)

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Our Mission:

The Yale Undergraduate Prison Project (YUPP) is a student-run social justice organization with over 150 members. We believe that the discrimination and dehumanization driving the U.S. justice system is a product of white supremacy and structural racism. Our mission is to challenge the inequities of mass incarceration through service and advocacy, while learning from and supporting others who share that vision.

YUPP runs programs at correctional facilities and community reentry centers in Connecticut. Our GED tutoring, seminar-style discussion groups, and mentoring programs impact over a hundred incarcerated or formerly incarcerated individuals annually. In addition to the educational programs we run each week, members engage in advocacy and activism on a local, state, and national level. On campus, YUPP hosts a diverse group of speakers each semester from fields and disciplines that intersect with mass incarceration in order to promote dialogue and engage Yale and New Haven community members in this work.



Our Activities:

Reading Group
Advocacy, or Activism
We have already done four abolition reading group events (two within YUPP and two partnering with Yalies4Palestine). We would like to continue the reading group with more books throughout the semester.

ArtLinks Events
Advocacy, or Activism
We are reigniting our annual collaboration with the Justice Arts Coalition to amplify the voice or art of a current or previously incarcerated individual, appreciate the beauty of their work, and discuss it. We are inviting organizers from a food justice organization to speak on cultivating a healthy community by growing gardens, sharing food, and advocating for just food systems. This event will feature a cooking activity at Yale Farm, for which we are purchasing groceries from Misfits, a delivery service that sells high-quality produce that cannot be sold at grocery stores for aesthetic reasons and would instead go to waste.

Being Michelle Documentary Screening
Advocacy, or Activism
We will hold a screening of a film on the story of Michelle Ricks, who is deaf and experienced adverse childhood trauma in the child welfare system and eventually incarceration. The screening is a part of our effort to highlight how systems that are supposed to protect and support those with disabilities thrust them into the prison pipeline.

Student Activism 101 Speaker Event
Advocacy, or Activism
We want to invite Professor Sarah Medina Camiscoli to talk to our members, and other interested people, about student activism. Mostly, we want the event to be a workshop on the rights of student activists.

Reading Group for Freedom
Advocacy, or Activism
In collaboration with other student organizations on campus, YUPP will host a reading group. We will explore a text that addresses our shared goals.

Speaker Event with Professor Roy Bolus
Advocacy, or Activism
In the same vein as past YUPP speaker events, we want to invite Professor Roy Bolus to speak about the book he wrote while unjustly imprisoned for thirty years and his experience with clemency. Bolus regularly shares his story at similar events across the country. He also led a seminar in Spring 2022 titled “Criminal Justice, Prison Culture and Effective Rehabilitation '' which speaks directly to YUPP’s purpose. We have hosted several amazing grassroots organizers and activists in the past, but have not gotten to hear from many authors. Through this event, we want to center the experiences of a justice-impaired individual and pay tribute to YUPP’s origins as a reading group. Providing copies of Bolus’s books would be an amazing way to support him while giving YUPP members a way to further educate themselves.



Student Leaders:

Yakeleen Almazan - Co-Coordinator/Co-President Bahar Bouzarjomehri - Co-Coordinator/Co-President Fikir Mekonnen - Co-Coordinator/Co-President

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