Local music nonprofit Beyond the Bars has been teaching music to youth affected by the incarceration system for a few years now, and the organization’s newest initiative will introduce their efforts to the public in a more hands-on way than before. In conjunction with the Free Library of Philadelphia, Beyond the Bars will host Live at the Library, a new series that focuses on discussion based around local activism, plus musical performance.
The sessions will be hosted in the music department of the Parkway Central Library, and each installment will include an activist-led discussion and performances by Beyond the Bars students as well as higher-profile artists. The first one, on Saturday, December 1, will feature guest speaker Jondhi Harrel of The Center for Returning Citizens, which provides assistance to people transitioning from incarceration back into public life. In addition to Beyond the Bars students, local rapper Chill Moody is lined up to perform a stripped-down solo set.
Since 2015, Beyond the Bars has integrated itself into the community by providing musical education to young people who have either experienced incarceration themselves or have coped with a loved one in the system, teaching over 200 students in the last three years. The organization is in the process of securing a permanent location from which to operate, and is currently crowdfunding to make that goal possible — see a video on their efforts below.
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