I’m so excited to tell you all about the amazing opportunities I had over the summer doing a fellowship research on race and incarceration! For the past four summers, StuCo has offered the Fellowship Progr am for rising uppers and seniors to research a specific area of topic or participate in a community service project. When the fellows return to Exeter in the fall, we present projects to the community.
This year, there were four fellows including myself, and we spent the summer working on independent projects across the globe. My project specifically focused on the flawed American justice system that performs racialized social control and over-incarcerates people. It was inspired by the recent uprisings against the lack of indictment of Darren Wilson and the speech delivered at Exeter by Bryan Stevenson. The purpose of the project was to investigate how the system of mass incarceration fuels and is fueled by the still-prevalent racial injustice in America. Furthermore, my personal goal for this project was to explore where Asian Americans like myself fit into the often binary narrative of racial injustice and mass incarceration.
Over the summer, I had the opportunity to interview different social justice workers, professors, lawyers, and the previously incarcerated from New York, San Francisco, Boston, and Chicago. I visited rehabilitation or legal assistance nonprofits such as the Osborne Association (NY), the Fortune Society (NY), the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights (CA), ACLU, and Boston Mobilization (MA). I also interviewed an ex-prisoner who served a very long sentence from New York, as well as Ross Mirkarimi, the sheriff of San the place and the role of Asian Americans in ending racial injustice. In addition to that, I had an opportunity to intern at a nonprofit called Boston Mobilization, where I organized protests against mass incarceration, participated in legislative meetings with senators and representatives, and hosted youth workshops to raise awareness. Here are several photos of me and some of my interviewees:
This project has motivated me to take active, brave steps to end mass incarceration and racial injustice. I’m currently making a documentary with the interviews and am also writing an essay about the role of Asian Americans in ending racial injustice. We are having an assembly for all the fellows to present their work in winter term, so I’m super excited for that, too!