Empowerment Avenue’s Writing for Liberation track is a collection of the most skilled and insightful writers and journalists who happen to be incarcerated. At any given time, Empowerment Avenue supports 25 to 30 writers in facilities around the country.
Empowerment Avenue is not a publisher. Instead, we help writers pursue their freelance writing careers. We are the intermediary who helps writers get published and paid. This works by using a “one on one” volunteer model — we pair inside writers with volunteers on the outside with writing and editing experience. The pair work together to develop ideas, refine writing, pitch it out and secure publishing and payment.
Between May of 2020 and March of 2023, Empowerment Avenue writers earned over $110,000 in earnings from writing. Writers have published hundreds of articles, essays, op-eds and investigative reporting in dozens of publications, including the New York Times, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Miami Herald, The Appeal and Marshall Project.
Empowerment Avenue writers have access to a number of resources beyond one-one-one volunteer support. We provide funding for supplies like stamps and books, send them outside media including news articles, newsletters and magazines, and connect them to editors and publishers seeking to work with incarcerated people.
**We do not have an open application process into the program. We recruit writers who have already begun to publish their work.
Writing op-eds, essays and poetry through a Black, feminist lens, advocating for prison abolition and legislative change. Seeks liberation and self determination for LGBTQ+ peoples, as well as for our cis-hetero incarcerated partners.
Solutions/investigative journalism related to prison conditions and advisor to organizations seeking to end over-incarcerating people as a means to solve societal problems, such as mental illness and substance use disorders.
Foster-care-to-prison pipeline, prison industrial complex abolition, 3-strikes,13th amendment, prison conditions, intergenerational incarceration, criminal legal system transformation, and the socioeconomic impact of mass incarceration.
Investigative and whistleblower articles and op-eds regarding prison conditions in New York State prisons, particularly in regards to jailhouse lawyering and LGBTQ+ rights and experiences. Poetry, public interest and pop culture news, as well as advice columns for LGBTQ newsletters.