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The Graduates

The Graduates is a performance ensemble comprised of former members of the LCIW Drama Club.  The Graduates use their personal experiences with the criminal justice system to create performances that: reach out to young at-risk women; give a window into incarceration's effects on individual lives; and encourage those who have the power to shift current policies to do so.  The ensemble's performances are directed by Ausettua Amor Amenkum (Big Queen of the Washita Nation and artistic director of Kumbuka African Drum and Dance Collective) and Kathy Randels (artistic director of ArtSpot Productions and founder of The LCIW Drama Club).

Graduates photo

The Graduates draw on centuries of Black resistance in Louisiana to build awareness of mass incarceration and racial injustice.  They perform monologues, mount public art installations, and organize gatherings of local and national citizens who are working on criminal justice system reform and prison abolition.  Read more about the larger issues on The Graduates' website.

The Graduates program was created in 2012 with support from the Open Society Foundations and the Surdna Foundation.  Additional support was provided by The Edward Wisner Donation and the Emerging Philanthropists of New Orleans.  Major support for The Graduates and Won't Bow Down! was provided by the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Alternate ROOTS Partners In Action program.