We are overjoyed to share the remarkable success of our first in-person Love Above Bars event since 2019. This gathering is a powerful testament to our collective dedication to promoting the health, safety, and dignity of individuals in custody and their families.The turnout exceeded our expectations, with over 180 attendees, both familiar faces and new connections. A highlight of the evening was the recognition of our annual award winners, whose commitment to the health, safety, and dignity both inside and outside prison walls, left us inspired. Our emcee, Raheem Manning, Philadelphia's Night Time Economy Director, masterfully moderated a conversation with our awardees and embodied the Society's commitment to compassion.
“My uncle Kerry has been locked up my entire life. I’ve never seen him as a free man. My mother and my aunt have a close relationship with him so growing up they took me to visit him. I didn’t really fully understand I was visiting him in prison. I can only imagine the relationship that I would have had with him [if he weren’t incarcerated].” Aleisha Peterson, niece of Incarcerated Person of the Year, Kareem McNeil
“What’s really important for people to know about the Prison Society is that this really wouldn’t be possible without all the volunteers who just step up. Despite the difficult circumstances [in prisons and jails], they show up and visit people.”Andrea Stripen, Volunteer of the Year
“Compassion is essential in this job. It’s important that we serve high-quality meals and it’s a process that is often taken for granted. Although there are many challenges, we at Washington County still manage to serve the best food in all of the surrounding counties.”Georgia Dovshek, Correctional Employee of the Year
“The first time I ever walked into a correctional facility, I was a high school student. I was stunned to see how many young faces there were in that county jail. Speaker Joanna McClinton, Human Rights Champion of the Year
Additionally, we had the privilege of spotlighting the invaluable work of four amazing community partners: Committee of Seventy, Eastern State Penitentiary, FAMM, and The Pennsylvania Innocence Project. Their contributions were truly inspiring for all in attendance. None of this would have been possible without the generous support of our sponsors, whom we wholeheartedly thank:
Given the extraordinary success of this year's event, we are delighted to announce that Love Above Bars will return to World Cafe Live next year! Mark your calendars for Wednesday, September 25, 2024 for another evening of transformative impact and camaraderie.
Thank you once again for your support. We are better together.