95.3 / 88.5 FM Grand Rapids and 95.3 FM Muskegon
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
A WGVU initiative in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation using on-air programs and community events to explore issues of inclusion and equity.

"Orange Is The New Black's" Piper Kerman to speak Tuesday

Piper Kerman

Orange is the New Black author, Piper Kerman will Keynote in Grand Rapids Tuesday Night at Fountain Street Church.

Piper Kerman says she wants to call attention to issues in the criminal justice system—especially those affecting girls and women.

“There’s three really important things that drive women’s involvement in crime or in potentially their incarceration. And that is substance abuse, a high incidence of mental illness or mental heath problems and an incredibly high incidence of physical victimization.”

Kerman says up to 90% of women and girls in the system have been sexually or physically abused prior to ending up incarcerated. And beyond individual women, the effect is societal.

“So we know, for example that when we incarcerate a mother her kids are five times more likely to go into the foster care system.”

And it’s these issues that Doug Tjapkes, president of Humanity for Prisoners hopes to bring light in Michigan.

“Michigan rates, probably among all of the states, if not at the top its very near the top of the states who keep people in prison longer than any other state. So we have a lot of people in prison in Michigan and a lot who probably really should be out.  

The event begins at 7:00 p.m. at Fountain Street Church. Tickets will be available at the door and on the humanity for prisoners website.   

Mariano Avila is WGVU's inclusion reporter. He has made a career of bringing voices from the margins to those who need to hear them. Over the course of his career, Mariano has written for major papers in English and Spanish, published in magazines, worked in broadcast, and produced short films, commercials, and nonprofit campaigns. He also briefly served at a foreign consulate, organized for international human rights efforts and has done considerable work connecting marginalized people to religious, educational, and nonprofit institutions through the power of story.
Related Content