The documentary features the stories of youth in Washington State, thrown into prison – not for education or rehabilitation, but for removal and punishment (“out of sight, out of mind”). These children, who are now adults, could not be silenced. Together they built a prisoners’ community of healing that extended beyond prison walls.
This event is being organized by the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. This event is being held on Zoom.
Dr. Gilda Sheppard is the director and activist behind “Since I Been Down”, a documentary that highlights the education, organizing and healing developed and led by incarcerated women and men in Washington State’s prisons. For over a decade Sheppard has taught sociology classes in Washington State prisons and is a co-founder and faculty member for FEPPS- Freedom Education for Puget Sound. She is also a member of the faculty at The Evergreen State College Tacoma Campus. Sheppard is an award-winning filmmaker who has screened her documentaries throughout the United States, and internationally in Ghana, West Africa, at the Festival Afrique Cannes Film Festival, and in Germany at the International Black Film Festival in Berlin. Sheppard is a 2017 Hedgebrook Fellow for documentary film and a 2019 recipient of an Artist Trust Fellowship.
Kimonti Carter is one of the prisoners featured in “Since I Been Down.” Kimonti is currently serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole. He has devoted himself every day to educating and expanding the perspectives of his fellow prisoners. Carter is a member of the #BlackPrisonersCaucus and started the prison-led education program, T.E.A.C.H. The documentary follows his efforts, as well as a wide group of prisoners, as they break free from their fate and create a model of education that is transforming their lives, their communities, our prisons and our own humanity.