Recently, Comparative Studies donated a thousand copies of books and zines produced through Redbird Books-to-Prisoners, thanks to our graduate student, Gabriel Piser, who organized and distributed this contribution. Redbird is an all-volunteer prisoner support collective founded in 2003 as a collaboration between Comparative Studies graduate students and well-known organizers in the Columbus music and activist community. Redbird mails about 1200 packages of books and zines, annually. Each package may have up to 5 books and 10 zines, and every piece of reading material that enters a prison is read an average of seven times. These catalogs are popular since Redbird is one of the few groups that sends materials free of charge and without asking anything of those inside.
Redbird has enjoyed the opportunity to publish essays, art, and other media produced by inmates in Ohio. Some of these publications are featured in the catalog and available by request to other Ohio inmates. Examples include compilations of essays about the prison industrial complex and reflections on the Lucasville riots of '93 authored by survivors of those riots, original stories and poetry, essays about gang unity and post-civil rights era grassroots organizing in black communities, prison organizing, whistleblowing, indigenous struggles, and guides to finding optimal nutrition through hyper-processed commissary offerings ("cookbooks").
This is a very important organization that does much good in Ohio and Comparative Studies is proud to have faculty and staff involved in their operations. If you wish to learn more about Redbird and want to get involved in some way, take a look at the Redbird Catalog 2015, as well as their Facebook page.