The GALA (Girls as Activists, Leaders, and Advocates) program traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana for an art and service learning trip during spring break. We worked with local artists, got to know our sister program the YAYA’s, and explored the music, culture, and food of New Orleans at Jazz Fest! We were particularly inspired by activist and artist, Jackie Sumell, known for her book, The House that Herman Built. As a prison abolitionist, Sumell is well known for her research on Angola prison and the thirteenth amendment. After learning about the injustices within the prison system, we worked on Jackie’s latest project, Solitary Gardens, where we created flower beds the size of solitary confinement cells (6ft x 9ft) as a symbolic gesture towards the absence of freedom for inmates. The garden represents a second chance the inmates never had, one step forward towards the vision of Jackie and many other activists. After pushing to help Jackie’s vision sprout, we later indulged in food from the famous Cafe Reconcile, eating many different New Orleans originals like Jambalaya, Gumbo, and Po-Boys.
– GALA Girls: Veronica, Kimberly, Maddison, Krista, Keyara, Tiana, Anyah and Karina