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Attica Prison Uprising 101 – A Short Primer (2011)
This publication, created by Mariame Kaba with contributions by Lewis Wallace and Katy Groves, is a brief primer for educators and organizers. It includes a timeline of events about the Attica prison uprising (with primary sources), testimonies from Attica prisoners; poetry by Attica prisoners; sample activities for youth, and other suggested resources.

Black & Blue (2012)
Project NIA and the Chicago PIC Teaching Collective have developed a set of resources addressing policing, violence and resistance. The resources include a series of pamphlets about historical moments of police violence, a ‘zine about the roots of police violence by Rachel Marie-Crane Williams, and an activity guide by Mariame Kaba.

Chain Reaction Curriculum (2013) Chain Reaction: Alternatives to Calling the Police is a youth-driven, multimedia project run by volunteers in Chicago from 2011-2013. The project website includes an archive of video and audio stories about young people’s encounters with police, a “how-to” on creating a youth media project in your own community, and a curriculum for workshops on what it means to not call the police in your own community.

Girl Talk Curriculum (Second Version, Spring 2012) The Chicago Girl Talk Leadership Team released our first curriculum (see below) in the Spring of 2011 and this is our second one. We are making this available to others at no cost. We do welcome feedback about the curriculum. You can reach us at

Chicago Prison Solidarity Meet and Greet (2011)
This half-hour curriculum walks participants through the 14-point platform of the Formerly Incarcerated and Convicted People’s Movement and links each of the points to Chicago-based activism.

Film, Art & Resistance with Young Women in Detention (2011)
This is a curriculum guide developed by the Girl Talk Leadership Team for its work with young women at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center.

Giving Name to the Nameless – Using Poetry as an Anti-Violence Intervention with Girls (2011)
This curriculum resource was developed by Mariame Kaba with contributions by Caitlin Ostrow-Seidler. The guide includes over 30 poems that address gender-based violence as well as tips and suggestions for individuals who are interested in facilitating poetry circles with girls and young women.

Illustrating Intersections: Gender and the PIC (2011)
This hour and a half-long workshop developed by Lewis Wallace, Carrie Kaufman and Billy Dee uses images to initiate discussion about intersections between gender and the prison-industrial complex.  The images we use for this workshop are available along with the curriculum online, but we encourage you to adapt and seek out your own images.

Mass Detention and the PIC (2012)
Members of the Chicago PIC Teaching Collective and our allies developed an activity to underscore the intersections between immigration and the prison industrial complex.  Also included is a graphic handout created by Billy Dee to explain the Correction Corporation of America’s attempt to build a private immigrant detention facility in Crete, Illinois.

No Selves to Defend: Curriculum for A Marissa Alexander Teach-In (2013)
On the occasion of Marissa Alexander’s 33rd birthday, we hosted a teach-in about her case in the context of others involving women of color who were criminalized for defending from violence. A big part of our work at Project NIA is focused on making information readily available in the spirit of collaboration and a desire for a more just world. As such, we are making the curriculum and materials that were developed by Mariame Kaba freely available. Please feel free to adapt the materials however you choose. We only ask that you make sure to credit Project NIA for the materials as you use them.

No Selves to Defend: A Legacy of Criminalizing Self-Defense and Survival (2016)
This site created by Mariame Kaba offers resources for people who want to run book and poetry discussion groups about survivors of violence who are criminalized for self-defense and survival.

PIC 101 Curriculum (2011)
The Chicago PIC Teaching Collective developed a curriculum for a 4-hour introductory workshop on mass incarceration. Volunteers are available to facilitate the workshop for organizations around Chicago.

Something is Wrong – Exploring the Roots of Youth Violence (2010)
This curriculum guide was developed by Project NIA, the Chicago Freedom School, and Teachers for Social Justice in order to contribute to the ongoing efforts by young people and their adult allies to analyze the root causes of youth violence and to create local solutions.

Suspension Stories: A Youth-Created Curriculum (2011):
This is a youth-created workshop template for making use of the resources provided on the Suspension Stories website. The workshop provides an opportunity for facilitators to lead youth and/or adults in discussions about harsh disciplinary policies and school pushout within their communities. This was a collaboration between Project NIA and the Rogers Park Young Women’s Action Team (YWAT).

Teaching about the Prison Industrial Complex and Criminal Legal System: Exercises, Simulations, Resources, and Discussion Ideas (2014) by Dr. Michelle VanNatta
This curriculum offers ideas for exercises that can be adapted, shared, and transformed to meet the needs of different groups. These activities are offered as potential tools in the hopes they may be useful in sparking discussion and in the development of more curricula.

Transformative Bail Reform – A Popular Education Curriculum (PDF, 2017): This is a curriculum that we at Project NIA co-created with several other organizations including Color of Change and the Movement 4 Black Lives Policy Table. It is intended to support local education and consciousness-raising about bail and pre-trial detention.

Transformative Justice Curriculum Guide (2013) Billy Dee & Mariame Kaba put together this curriculum for the Chicago Transformative Justice Fall in 2013 (includes contributions by Ann Russo). It is a basic introduction to transformative and restorative justice that includes reading and activities.

Unmarked Campaign: Juvenile Expungement Curriculum (2011):
We are often asked by educators, organizers, and community members to provide workshops about the impact of juvenile criminal records and the value of juvenile expungement. In an attempt to reach more people, we have developed a curriculum which can be facilitated with youth and/or adults. We are pleased to share the curriculum unit here for anyone who is interested in addressing these issues. Special thanks to Sneha Raj who created this unit with support from Mariame Kaba (Project NIA).


A Story of Attica: A Zine (2011)
This ‘zine was developed and created by Mariame Kaba, Lewis Wallace, Micah Bazant and Katy Groves.  It is a primer on the Attica prison uprising of 1971, created to commemorate the 40th anniversary.

Assata: A One Page Comic by Rachel Marie-Crane Williams (2013)
This provides a quick introduction about Assata Shakur’s case for youth.

Assata’s Testimony 1973 (June 2017) – This is a zine designed by Monica Trinidad of For the People Artist Collective with content compiled by Mariame Kaba of Project NIA.

Black/Inside: Black Prisoners Writing About Incarceration (2012)
As part of the exhibition by the same name, we created (with the help of Camp Firebelly) this publication that includes writing by black prisoners. It includes personal reflections about prison and incarceration by Martin Luther King Jr, Mae Mallory, Angela Davis, Malcolm X, Assata Shakur and more…

Black/Inside: Facts and Figures about Criminalization (2014) — This Black/Inside zine was created as a perk for people who donated to the exhibit fundraiser. It was designed by Billy Dee with content by Mariame Kaba. This is a publication by Project NIA.

Blue & Black: Stories of Policing and Violence (2012) by Rachel Marie-Crane Williams. This comic is part of our policing, violence, and resistance initiative. The publication explores the roots of police violence.

Chiraq and Its Meaning(s) (low resolution PDF, 2014)
This publication is a cacophony of voices and doesn’t provide answers or a single definition of the meaning(s) of violence and safety in Chicago. Instead, it is an invitation for others, for you, to add your ideas and thoughts to the larger conversations that we are having in this city in our local communities, workplaces, and families. The publication includes a curriculum unit and a beautiful foldout poster by artist Mauricio Pineda.  You can order a copy of the publication for $5 here or you can download a low resolution version for free HERE (PDF).

Community Safety Looks Like: This is a publication inspired by Morris Justice’s safety wall project. It was organized by Project NIA and is part of an ongoing initiative to interrogate the meaning(s) of safety. See the blog HERE.

Cradle to Prison Pipeline Zine Series (2011)
These ‘zines were developed through a partnership between Project NIA, the Jane Addams Hull House Museum and the Chicago Freedom School.  Teaching artists worked together with youth to create four ‘zines: Girls in the System, History of Juvenile Justice in Illinois, the School-to-Prison Pipeline, and Youth Stories (of the Incarcerated). Information about the process of developing the series can be found here.

Historical Moments of Policing, Violence, and Resistance: A Series of Zines (2012):
This series features pamphlets/zines on various topics including: The Mississippi Black Papers, the 1968 Democratic Convention, Resistance to Police Violence in Harlem, the 1937 Memorial Day Massacre, Oscar Grant, the Danziger Bridge Shootings, Chicago Red Summer, and the Burge Torture Cases. The zines are available for free downloading.

Laura Scott, Negress, Prisoner #23187 (2012) by Mariame Kaba
This zine was created for the Black/Inside exhibition. Laura Scott’s story figures prominently in the exhibition as an example of the experiences of black women prisoners in the early 20th century. Unfortunately, the stories of 19th and early 20th century women prisoners have until relatively recently been neglected and largely invisible.

The PIC Is…(2011)
This zine was created in 2011 by members of the Chicago PIC Teaching Collective and illustrated by Billy Dee. You can download the full ‘zine here and find out about ways to use it for political education here.

Violence Against Women & Criminalization Historical Timeline (2014): This publication offers some key moments in the history of the violence against women & girls’ movement and also in the history of women in prison. The publication was designed for the “No Selves to Defend” exhibition (July 2014). It is an abbreviated timeline (a longer timeline exists).


2009 Rogers Park Juvenile Justice Snapshot (2010)
This is a report that presents key juvenile justice data for the Rogers Park community.

2010 Rogers Park Juvenile Justice Snapshot (2012)
This is a report that presents updated key juvenile justice data for the Rogers Park community.

2010 North Lawndale Juvenile Justice Snapshot (2011)
This is a report that presents key juvenile justice data for the North Lawndale community.

Arresting Justice (2011)
This report about 2009 and 2010 juvenile arrests in Chicago was co-authored by Project NIA and First Defense Legal Aid.

Arresting Justice 2 and Trends in Chicago Juvenile Arrests 2009-2012 (2013)
Both of these report include updated data about juvenile arrests in Chicago.

Arresting Justice 3 (2015) – This report includes 2013 and 2014 Chicago juvenile arrest data.

Chicago Youth Justice Data Project (2010)
This online resource provides timely and relevant data about juvenile justice in Illinois and Chicago.

A Conscious Chicagoan’s Guide to Youth Detention and Incarceration (updated, 2014)
In May 2014, we released an updated version of our “Conscious Chicagoan’s Guide to Youth Detention and Incarceration” that includes data mostly from 2012 & 2013. The data cover both the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center (JTDC) as well as the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).

Data Snapshot: Juvenile Justice in Illinois (2014)
In April 2014, we released a new report that provides an overview of juvenile justice in Illinois. This is not a research report but is intended to offer a brief primer for those who want to better understand how many young people across the state come to the attention of the criminal punishment system. We thank the Steans Family Foundation which provided funds for the design of the report.

Policing Chicago Public Schools (2012)
This is a report based on 2010 data from the Chicago Police Department that addresses juvenile school-based arrests in Chicago Public Schools.

Policing Chicago Public Schools Vol. 2 (2013) – This is a report based on 2011 and 2012 data from the Chicago Police Department that addresses juvenile school-based arrests in Chicago Public Schools.

Policing Chicago Public Schools Vol. 3 (2015) – This is a report based on 2013 and 2014 data from the Chicago Police Department that addresses juvenile school-based arrests in Chicago Public Schools.

Violence and Criminalization of Girls in Illinois (2010)
This is a section of a report by the Chicago Taskforce on Violence against Girls and Young Women, written by Mariame Kaba.

“WE’RE IN IT FOR THE LONG HAUL:” Alternatives to Incarceration for Youth in Conflict with the Law (2013) by Michelle VanNatta and Mariame Kaba
This paper specifically addresses five programs in Chicago that provide alternatives to incarceration for young people charged with or convicted of crimes. Included in this exploration are issues of cost, effectiveness, capacity, and the needs of youth and organizations moving forward.


Audio Stories and More

Don’t be a Bystander: 6 Tips for Responding to Racist Attacks (2017)
Created by BCRW and members of Project NIA, this video offers an abolitionist approach to bystander intervention that does not rely on the police. The United States has a long history of violence against People of Color, disabled people, Muslims, immigrants, and LGBTQ people. In the current political moment, white supremacists and white nationalists have been emboldened. As a result, public attacks are on the rise. Many people aren’t sure how to respond if they witness a racist or transphobic attack. This video provides some tips. Connecting individual acts of violence to a broader systemic analysis, this video is intended to be a resource for activists, students, educators, and anyone who wants to interrupt the violence of white supremacy and anti-blackness. Narrated by Aaryn Lang. Directed and produced by Lewis Wallace and Hope Dector.

Black & Blue: An Online Exhibition of Art about Policing, Violence & Resistance (2013):
From March 19 to March 29 2013, Project NIA organized and sponsored an art exhibition in association with our historical moments in policing, violence, and resistance zine series. Artists contributed their work addressing these topics. Our friend and volunteer, Eva Nagao, created an online exhibition to ensure that the terrific art can be seen beyond the short-run.

Chain Reaction youth stories about police encounters (2012)
Chain Reaction: Alternatives to Calling Police created a series of audio and video clips about youth encounters with police in Chicago in collaboration with Vocalo radio, the Broadway Youth Center, BUILD, Circles and Ciphers and the Southwest Youth Collaborative. These clips are meant to be tools for political education and conversation-starters about the chain reaction police involvement can kick off in a young person’s life.

A Different Approach to School Safety (2013)
This short film was filmed and edited by Debbie Southorn and co-produced by Mariame Kaba (Project NIA). It features a Chicago public school located on the West Side of Chicago and documents their approach to addressing school safety. The school, North Lawndale College Prep, does not rely on metal detectors and police officers to keep the peace. Instead, the school focuses on restorative practices to ensure school safety.

The Missing Toolkit (2012)
“The Missing” Toolkit offers a set of suggestions for individuals and community organizations who want to address the issue of mass incarceration through discussion and the arts.

No Place for Kids: A Youth-Created Film about Juvenile Incarceration (2012) — This 23 minute documentary was created by Nina Friend and Keely Mullen, two high school seniors, who interned with Project NIA for the 2011-2012 academic year. Nina and Keely created and produced this film as their final project. The film can be watched HERE.

Timeline: Policing and Resistance in the U.S. (2012)
Lewis Wallace, Jessie Lee Jackson and Megan Milks created this interactive timeline that covers the history of policing in the U.S. from pre-colonial times to the present. You can visit the interactive timeline or download the PDF.

Timeline: Police Violence Through Rap Music (2012)
Mariame Kaba of Project NIA created this interactive timeline of police violence through rap, 1980-2012.

Test Your Knowledge of the PIC (2014) – This is an online quiz with some facts and figures about the prison industrial complex. It’s an informative and educational tool.

Trayvon Martin Youth-Friendly Reader (2013)
After the Zimmerman verdict, Mariame put together this youth-friendly reader that was designed by Antonia Clifford. This publication is appropriate for high school aged youth and older. It includes articles, manifestos, and a couple of poems. At the end, we offer a short list of potential activities and actions that young people can do.