Letter from the Founder

When we started teaching writing at Dade Correctional Institution (DCI) nearly three years ago, we had no idea how quickly our classes would gain traction, prompting us to expand to other courses and then other institutions. Our success, which includes 17 classes this past semester and more than 400 diplomas awarded for completing courses that range from the creative to the practical, is less about our instructors showing up each week than it is a response to the unfed appetite of talent behind bars. Writing exchanges with academic institutions and open exhibits of our students’ work have helped their genius cross over the razor wire and into public view. Several of our students have won awards and been published, and two of our students’ work will be included in an upcoming anthology. Our dedicated board, an exceptional group of facilitators, our academic and community partners, and our selfless interns are helping us to expand our mission to teach writing in prison, foster leadership, and promote dialogue across social and institutional barriers. We continue to focus on collaborations that nurture empathy and advocacy and create individual and social change.

–Kathie Klarreich

Click here to read archived Letters from the Founder.


Fundraising Corner

Exchange for Change would like to thank everyone who has given in 2017.  Their contributions make it possible for us to offer courses and to teach writing that transforms! A special thanks to these recent donors:

  • Russell Banks

  • The Coral Gables United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Board

  • Pravin Daswani

  • Edwidge Danticat

  • The Dunspaugh-Dalton Foundation

  • Pamela Goddard

  • Anke Graichen

  • Maureen. G. and K. Lawrence Gragg

  • The Grymes Fund

  • David Kowitz

  • Allison Langer

  • John Lester

  • Rebeca Ramos

  •  Eva Ritvo

  • Stephanie Rosen

  • Adina and Luis Garcia Sanchez

  • Juan and Rita Zubillaga

We are also deeply grateful to O, Miami and the University of Miami for their ongoing institutional and financial support, and for their faith in what we do.  Yet even with this abundance of generosity, we need your support more than ever. Our rapid expansion, unprecedented outreach, and new community initiatives are reaching more individuals each semester, on both sides of prison walls. There is no other organization doing this kind of work. It’s important and necessary. But to continue to do what we do, we need your help. Your contribution provides a unique opportunity for dialogue across social and institutional barriers. It will change lives.  You can make your online donation here, through the button below, or send a check made out to Exchange for Change to:

Exchange for Change
2103 Coral Way, Second Floor
Miami, FL 33145


In Miami & In the News: Events & Media Coverage

The Opening of "Connecting Sentences" at the Main Library in Downtown Miami

The Opening of "Connecting Sentences" at the Main Library in Downtown Miami

2017 has proved to be our best and busiest year yet.  In addition to classes at Dade Correctional Institution, Everglades CI, Homestead CI and Everglades ReEntry Center, we are organizing more workshops and events for our incarcerated students. We have also worked hard to increase its visibility and spread its message.

On June 19th and 20th, WLRN aired a two-part, 15-minute story by Wilson Sayre on the E4C students at Homestead CI and their University of Miami writing partners. Hear the story in their words at WLRN.org.

In March and April, View-Through, a unique collaboration with O, Miami and artist Julia Weist, significantly increased our online presence and was featured in more than a dozen media, including VICE Magazine, WLRN, and NPR’s Here & Now.

Connecting Sentences, an exhibition of student work at the Main Library in downtown Miami, will soon transition to an exhibit space at Florida Atlantic University. In addition, “Voices from the Inside,” a Tedx Talk delivered in Coconut Grove by E4C director Josh Stone in March of this year is now available on YouTube.   

Our crowning achievement, however, was the graduate showcase at DCI on May 3rd.  More than 70 outside community members attended, including judges, activists, donors and prominent community leaders. The event was featured in the Miami Herald and on WLRN.

In recent months, E4C has also presented on multiple University of Miami panels; moderated Slavery & Incarceration: Bridging the Past and the Present, a panel at the Center for Social Change; live-streamed an interview with the Miami Herald Editorial Page editor; and spoken on a panel for the Miami Mass Story Lab that co-hosted “States of Incarceration”, the first national traveling multimedia exhibition aimed at examining the history of mass incarceration in the United States.

Click here to read archived installments of In Miami & In the News.


Special & Ongoing Projects

Spring 2017 Graduate Showcase at Dade Correctional institution

Spring 2017 Graduate Showcase at Dade Correctional institution

Three unusual projects deserve special mention: Don’t Shake the Spoon, Prisoners Have Mothers, Too, and the View Through project.

Don't Shake the Spoon

Don’t Shake the Spoon: A Journal of Prison Writing is a literary journal sharing some of Exchange for Change’s students’ best written and visual work. The theme of our first issue, available this fall, is change, which has not only served as our contributors’ inspiration but celebrates their transition from writers to published authors. For an explanation of the name, be sure to check out our first issue!

Prisoners Have Mothers, Too

Prisoners Have Mothers, Too is a zine comprised of writings by Exchange for Change in honor or memory of their mothers. The zine was produced by UM/E4C interns in collaboration with Special Collections at UM’s Richter Library, and was released and distributed at the O, Miami Zine Fair on UM’s campus. The front page of the Miami Herald's Healthy Living section featured our students’ performances of this material from our Spring 2017 graduate showcase at Dade CI.

Click here for our coverage in the Herald.

View-Through

The View-Through project was a collaboration between over 100 of our incarcerated students, Exchange for Change, O, Miami, and artist Julia Weist, This community-based initiative’s aim was to alter the results of online search engines to downplay stereotypes and highlight the poetic prowess of incarcerated individuals. People from more than 40 countries participated in changing the algorithm. Google “Miami inmates are….” to keep the project alive.

Click here to read archived installments of Special and Ongoing Projects.


Writer Spotlight

This Poem–is revision1. . .


[1] This is a one line poem. This Poem was conceived by a thought impregnated by Sha’condria . . . This Poem demanded itself into being . . . existed, and then . . . insisted on being unlike any other This Poem poem . . .

This Poem is not to bust shots or drip lust or lead . . . Even though Its Author is, This Poem is not compelled to be hip-hop or like it must Dred . . . Just like its Author, This Poem is Red . . . Yet This Poem listens intently & seriously considers everything this crip poem just said . . .

This Poem recognizes that the true enemy doesn’t live in rust red . . .brick, dilapidated tenement houses . . . but in the white marble colonnaded ones . . . that, with discrete precision, frames children for failure, imprisons, fathers in freeze frames, and this division, forces mothers to cross-dress (parentally speaking), in the absence of spouses . . .

This Poem rhymes, but it doesn’t have to . . . This Poem has a choice . . . . [Click here to read the rest of the poem and to see further work by E4C writers.]

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Allington "Dante" Dottin