An Interview with Liberation Literacy Founder Dr. Garrett Felber
One of the most tragic legacies of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 was its elimination of Pell Grants for prisoners, which dismantled prison education programs. Liberation Literacy, founded by Dr. Garrett Felber in 2015, began as a Black History Study Group with inside students at Columbia River Correctional Institution (CRCI) in Portland, Oregon. The group then established a donation-based Freedom Library with books about social justice and the African diaspora. The library is now home to nearly 100 books, which are checked out weekly to the reading group and may also be requested on an individual basis by other prisoners at the institution. In Fall 2016, the group initiated its first community reading group at CRCI, and took the name Liberation Literacy. It is presently comprised of nearly twenty inside/outside students who read a common set of books and meet weekly.
Rape culture is in the failure of schools and communities and families to provide adequate sexual education and in the abstinence only [sic] education that convinces us sex is not in fact about consent, but rather about secrecy and shame. Rape culture is in the way we still conceive of sex as a commodity-based transaction. Rape culture is in the way we are still taught that men control the terms of the transaction. Rape culture is in the boring porn videos that situate women as passive recipients of male desire. Rape culture is in the way we still refuse to believe that sex means mutual fulfillment and is a voluntary act for both parties involved.
The law can’t define for you what a violation of your own body is or isn’t. It simply determines what is criminal, and very poorly.