IllinoisHumanities

The #LetUsBreathe Collective

Mission
The #LetUsBreathe Collective is an alliance of artists and activists organizing through a creative lens to imagine a world without prisons and police. We organize artists to love and transform themselves, their families, their communities, and their cities through radical imagination and healing. The Collective produces cultural events and direct actions that disrupt oppressive systems, amplify marginalized voices, and serve people and communities most directly harmed by mass incarceration, police violence, and systemic injustice. We leverage access, power, and cultural capital to steward resources from the institutions that stole them to the people and communities who have been historically pillaged.  The #LetUsBreathe Collective programs and operates The Breathing Room space, an arts, healing, and organizing headquarters and platform for liberatory and cultural work in Chicago.

Vision
The #LetUsBreathe Collective envisions a world without police, without prisons, and without global systems of oppression. We believe artists are the vanguard of revolution, and we incubate visionaries charged with the work of imagining and designing that world. Our work creates alternatives to prisons and policing for  communities, families, and people who are safe, whole, self-actualized, and equipped with the tools for healing. The #LetUsBreathe Collective believes in love over capitalism, abundance over scarcity, and collaboration over control. We believe that people and communities are able to govern themselves peacefully when they have access to and sovereignty over quality education, housing, art, healthcare, nutrition, useful & prosperous livelihood, and skills for resolving harm and conflict through an anti-violent lens.

 

Hub Staff/Organizers

Kristiana Rae Colón, Hub Director

Kristiana is a poet, playwright, actor, educator, & co-founder of the #LetUsBreathe Collective

Jenna Anast

Jenna is an actor, performing artist, comedian, social+emotional educator, & righteous individual whose place on the planet is to empower & inspire. She is a founding member of the collective.

Damon Williams

Damon is a rapper, poet, organizer, radio podcast producer, political educator, & co-founder of the #LetUsBreathe Collective

Booqbaag

Boldly Overcoming Obstacles never Questioning Body’s Abilities About Greatness; more than a name, it’s a lifestyle – artist, activist, co-director of the Relationship Cipher at Breathing Room

Cherisse Jackson

Cherisse is a culinary artist, yogi, healer, and Envisioning Justice Coordinator at Breathing Room

Supporting Organizations

Art on 51st

Art on 51st is the youth-arts program of Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation, a restorative justice hub in the Back of the Yards neighborhood.

Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation started in 2000 when a few friends – priests of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood together with sisters from various Precious Blood communities associated with the Precious Blood Leadership Conference– sat down and shared their stories of ministry, of the suffering they had witnessed and experienced, and of their work for reconciliation. They shared stories of many years of jail ministry, of community renewal, of inner city parish work, of retreat ministry for reconciliation. Out of those shared experiences was born the dream of the Ministry of Reconciliation – what would it look like to have a ministry whose purpose was to work for healing and reconciliation in the midst of the violence and alienation of our world?

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For the People Artist Collective

For the People Artists Collective is a radical squad of Black artists and artists of color in Chicago. As artists who also organize, it is our duty to create work that uplifts and projects struggle, resistance, liberation, and survival within and for our marginalized communities and movements in our city and our world.

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Upcoming Events at Back of the Yards