No Way Home Unites Communities Across Pennsylvania
No Way Home has been on the road this Fall in counties across Pennsylvania. From Lancaster to Allentown, Reading to Germantown, new people have come into the movement through this powerful film. We have been delighted to have No Way Home star, Mrs. Dee Dee, at most of the screenings to share more about her fight to unite her family. She continues to inspire people of all backgrounds to get involved in the movement against mass incarceration.
For the Germantown screening, the conversation centered on questions of forgiveness and restoration as it relates to the carceral system. We had posters and booklets with stories from folks inside PA state prisons as a way to highlight their voices in the space. Panelists discussed their inner struggles with anger, bitterness, healing, and forgiveness. Mrs. Dee Dee didn’t miss the opportunity to tell the audience that forgiving the man who killed her brother was what set her free to fight for second chances for all incarcerated people.
Our Reading event was a very special occasion for us. The last time we hosted a community event in Berks County, our dear friend and collaborator Felix Rosado, a Reading native, was in prison. After his sentence was commuted in 2022, Felix was not only able to attend our screening at Goggleworks, but joined his mother––who fought for his freedom for years––for the panel discussion.
At our Bucks County screening in Bristol, we were excited to meet new family members who heard about the event from loved ones in prison. CADBI organizer, Jay Bergen, led a community conversation after the screening to help people process the film. They invited audience members to reflect on tangible actions they could take to join the movement for second chances for incarcerated people in PA. Another CADBI member named Cody Stuhltrager celebrated Mrs. Dee Dee by playing her favorite song as a way to honor her immeasurable contribution to our movement.
In Allentown, we screened No Way Home in the beautiful Civic Theatre, a nearly century-old art deco theatre. Joan Sehl, whose loved one is serving a life sentence in prison and who also lost a loved one to violence, spoke powerfully about the need for second chances. Joan had her own version of a second chance as a recipient of a double lung transplant. “I know literally what it means to have a second chance at life,” Joan said. “And just as I am not squandering my second chance, I know that the vast majority of men and women serving life sentences wouldn’t squander their second chance.”
We are grateful to organizations that co-sponsored these powerful events: Make The Road, Berks Stands Up, NAACP Reading Branch, The Real Deal 610, Building Justice in Berks, Lehigh Valley Stands Up, and SELF! Lehigh Valley. Also, these events would not have been possible without our movement family Straight Ahead and Coalition to Abolish Death By Incarceration who helped to organize them with us. Stay tuned for more opportunities to build community in the fight against mass incarceration in the coming weeks and months!