Formerly Incarcerated Ithacans Share Stories in Radio Play “Steppin’ Into My

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Last fall, a group of Ithacans who have been formerly incarcerated or experienced court involvement shared their stories in the form of oral history interviews they conducted with one another, which will be archived at the History Center in Tompkins County. Over the summer, a group of the same people transformed what they shared into a radio play called Steppin’ into My Shoes, which was released throughout September and can be downloaded now on Spotify, Apple and Google podcasts.

According to Julia Taylor, the director of Re-Entry Theatre (which sponsored and facilitated the project along with College Initiative Upstate), part of the purpose of this project was to “make available the vast diversity of experiences in our community.” From the perspective of a Cornell student, it might be easy to imagine that Ithaca is a white, academic, upper-class community, but Taylor wants more people to realize that “while that identity exists here, our community is so much broader than that. The stories told in these oral histories, while painful, show other aspects of our community.” 

Taylor hopes that the oral histories and radio play will help to “crack open a mythology of a very narrow understanding of who experiences incarceration and why and how,” and “affect a shift in how we engage our community that makes space for people who’ve experienced these systems.”



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