Reimagining Justice Residencies
The Lab provides residencies for individuals working in a variety of disciplines whose work and advocacy confronts the criminal legal system. Residencies last for at least one full academic quarter and are often project-based.
Artist-in-Residence (Winter 2020–Ongoing)
Dorothy Burge is a self-taught fabric and multimedia artist who began creating fiber art in the 1990s after the birth of her daughter, Maya. A Chicago native, Mama Dorothy is a descendant from a long line of quilters who hailed from Mississippi and created beautiful quilts from recycled clothing. Her realization that the history and culture of her people were being passed through generations in this art form inspired her to use this medium as a tool for her own activism.
Educator-in-Residence (Winter 2019–Ongoing)
Eric Blackmon was incarcerated for 16 years and became a paralegal while locked up at Stateville Correctional Center. With support from his family and friends, he represented himself and kept his case alive, winning a rare and extraordinary ruling before the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. In January 2019, his long legal battle ended when prosecutors dropped the murder charges against him.
Blackmon currently works as a paralegal at MacArthur Justice Center and is earning his bachelor’s degree through the University Without Walls program at Northeastern Illinois University. A former student of the Prison + Neighborhood Arts Project, he is committed to supporting education in prison.
Alex Y. Ding
Activist-in-Residence (Summer 2020)
Alex is an organizer, filmmaker, and writer based in Chicago. She is currently the Chicago organizer for Parole Illinois. Prior to that, Alex organized with Chicago Student Action and #CareNotCops, and has organized in Chicago around racial and economic justice for six years.
Alex has produced videos for movement groups across the country and her work has appeared in WBEZ, Chicago Reader, In These Times, Huffington Post, and more. She received a BA in Race and Ethnic Studies and Anthropology from the University of Chicago, where she was a 2016 Human Rights Intern and the 2018 Dr. Aizik Wolf Post-Baccalaureate Fellow in Human Rights.