Junior League of Tulsa community partner – Poetic Justice – focuses on helping incarcerated women with restorative writing workshops, emphasizing voice, hope, and the power to change. In March of 2014, Poetic Justice started as a writing class for incarcerated women at the Tulsa County Jail. Since then, more than 1,750 women have been a part of the classes.
The Junior League of Tulsa (JLT) began partnering with the organization in 2018. The JLT Poetic Justice Committee visits Eddie Warrior Correctional Center in Taft, Oklahoma; Mabel Basset Correctional Center in McLoud, Oklahoma; and Resonance Center for Women in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The groups serve about 15 women who meet weekly for two months.
These sessions empower women to express themselves through written words. Women who have never picked up a pen in their lives find the confidence to write from the hearts. The writing sessions allow them to have an outlet for the wide range of emotions they feel as they face the journey through the criminal justice system. “This is certainly not a placement for the faint of heart,” remarked Kellie Stone, JLT Community Programs Vice President. “There can be heavy subject matter, but the tears and laughter with these women is priceless and reminds us of how we all face similar struggles and triumph in our lives.”
Poetic Justice’s work is important for our community as it puts a face and story to the women in Oklahoma’s correctional facilities. “It is truly a moving experience listening to a woman write a poem about how much she misses her children and how she can’t wait to get back to them,” said Stone as she reflected on her experience working with the women.“ I’ve seen women break into tears reading a poem they wrote about their mother, and how if she would have listened to her she would not be in the situation she is now. It is heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time.”
Poetic Justice has published five volumes of poems written by women during the sessions. The poetry books are available for purchase through the Poetic Justice Etsy shop: etsy.com/shop/poeticjusticeok. Visit www.poeticjustice.org to learn more.