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Apr 7, 2020

Writer, artist, and NYU student Jose Díaz shares his experience of being arrested and imprisoned on a technical violation during the COVID-19 crisis. 

Jose describes the conditions and lack of medical care inside New York City jails where he was held. He talks about the organizing efforts that secured his release and how exceptionalism played a role in gaining people’s support. 

Finally, Jose shares his thoughts on why demanding the immediate release of prisoners is important and why reform efforts so often fall short of addressing people’s problems.

Jose Díaz is a Master’s student majoring in Social and Cultural Analysis with an emphasis on Latino Studies at NYU. As a student and advocate, he seeks to unravel ideological narratives that underlie our common notions of race, class, and gender, and how those ideas inform public space and human interaction. He is also a writer and public speaker, where he uses the power of storytelling to highlight his personal struggles with incarceration while challenging theoretical postulations about the carceral system. He advocates and educates on the importance of inclusivity within prison initiative programs and education as well as pushing back against the language, privilege, and ideas that perpetuate the reproduction of negative notions of people of color. As an artist and photographer, he is currently engaged in a project that looks at the urban landscape of New York City as a place to explore cultural memory, the city block, and overlapping diasporas.

Jose’s website:

NYU Prison Education Program:

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Hosts: Kim Wilson and Brian Sonenstein

Music: Jared Ware