Student prison activists around country protest solitary confinement through 7x9 vigil
September 30, 2014
Cambridge, MA – Students on campuses up and down the Northeast will be rallying on Oct. 14-15, 2014 for 7x9, a performance art vigil against solitary confinement. Members of the Student Alliance for Prison Reform, a nationwide network of students working in prison reform, are leading these exhibits on their respective campuses. Participating campuses include Harvard University, Yale University, Princeton University, Rutgers University, Columbia University, Boston University, Suffolk University, and Brandeis University. Partners include SolitaryWatch, the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, and the ACLU of Massachusetts.
On each campus, students will occupy a 7’ by 9’ space marked out in a prominent location for a 24-hour period. During the day-time, the exhibit will draw the attention of passing students; during the night-time, the exhibit will serve as a vigil for the ever-occurring human rights violation.
First conceived of and executed at Princeton University in 2013 by Princeton Students for Prison Education and Reform (SPEAR), 7x9 is a vigil for people in solitary confinement.
The average solitary confinement cell in America is 7’ x 9’.People who are or have been incarcerated in solitary confinement spend 23 hours per day in their cells. In the remaining hour, they may choose to go outside or take a shower depending on the rules of the facility in which they are incarcerated.
Each hour, for 23 hours, a student on each of the above listed campuses will be present in a 7x9 “cell”. The dimensions of these “cells” will be marked out on the ground with tape. In keeping with the restrictions on incarcerated persons in solitary confinement, they will have no books, music, or other forms of entertainment. They will not interact with the outside world. Each participating student will be asked to write a brief reflection in an effort to document their views on solitary confinement before and after the experience.
The Student Alliance for Prison Reform hopes that 7x9 will facilitate the conversation on campus about solitary confinement, motivate individual interest in learning more about the experiences of solitary confinement, and inspire students to take action against the abuse of solitary confinement in American facilities.
To learn more about the Student Alliance for Prison Reform and 7x9, please see the Student Alliance for Prison Reform website or contact Eva Shang at firstname.lastname@example.org.