50th Anniversary Poetry and Performance

In honor of our 50th anniversary, NC Poet Laureate and HKF board chair Jaki Shelton Green created a new poem, “Dancing in a Sky of Kindness,” and the Hidden Voices Collective created a new performance piece, “Together-Apart.”

“Dancing in a Sea of Kindness” was crafted from poems written in response to a request in the Fall 2023 newsletter for submissions on the meaning of kindness, in 50 words or less. Over 50 writers shared their poetry with us. Jaki wove over a hundred pages of poetry into a new poem, with 80% of the words coming from incarcerated authors.

“Together-Apart” was created from letters sent to HKF from residents of prisons and jails over the past 50 years as well as interviews with HKF staff. Letters from each decade of the past 50 years were featured in this performance. Many thanks to all who participated in making this performance a reality, including Lynden Harris, Rasool Jahan, Monét Marshall, Estes Tarver, Jade Arnold, Jessica Flemming and Jenna Curia.

These videos are from the first performances of both works on December 2, 2023 at Shared Visions Retreat Center in Durham, North Carolina, during HKF’s 50th anniversary celebration.