Editors Mateo Hoke (’14) & Taylor Pendergrass discuss their new oral history collection, SIX BY TEN: STORIES FROM SOLITARY, with narrator Mohammed “Mike” Ali. Featuring a reading and Q&A with Mateo, Taylor, and Mohammed, as well as a journalistic reversal in which Mohammed will interview the editors. This event is hosted by the Berkeley Oral History Center and is co-sponsored by Voice of Witness, Haymarket Books and the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.
About the book
Six by ten feet. That’s the average size of the cell in which tens of thousands of people incarcerated in the United States linger for weeks, months, and even decades in solitary confinement. With little stimulation and no meaningful human contact, these individuals struggle to preserve their identity, sanity, and even their lives.
In thirteen intimate narratives, Six by Ten explores the mental, physical, and spiritual impacts of America’s widespread embrace of solitary confinement. Through stories from those subjected to solitary confinement, family members on the outside, and corrections officers, Six by Ten examines the darkest hidden corners of America’s mass incarceration culture and illustrates how solitary confinement inflicts lasting consequences on families and communities far beyond prison walls.
About the editors
Taylor Pendergrass has been gathering stories about the US criminal justice system for more than a decade. As a civil rights lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, Taylor has been counsel in major cases challenging “stop and frisk” policies, deceptive police interrogations, broken indigent defense systems, and degrading jail and prison conditions. His work includes advocating for reforms to solitary confinement and other practices in the New York City jails on Rikers Island. He currently works as strategist for the ACLU’s Campaign for Smart Justice, which is dedicated to reducing the US prison population by 50 percent and eradicating racial disparities in the criminal justice system. He lives in Denver.
Mateo Hoke is a writer, oral historian, and mixed-media journalist. He previously spent four years interviewing and researching throughout the West Bank and Gaza for the Voice of Witness book Palestine Speaks: Narratives of Life under Occupation, which he coedited with Cate Malek. His work often explores human rights and poverty, though he also enjoys writing about plants, books, and consciousness. His work has appeared in The Best American Nonrequired Reading, Rolling Stone, Pacific Standard, Lucky Peach, McSweeney’s, and Guernica, among other outlets. He lives in Oakland.
Mohammed “Mike” Ali grew up in the Bay Area after his family immigrated to the United States from Fiji. Growing up romanticizing gang life, he escalated through youth detention, jails, and prisons before landing in solitary confinement in a private immigration detention facility in Arizona. He now works full time while raising a family. His story is included in the book Six by Ten: Stories from Solitary, a collection of oral history narratives from people whose lives have been impacted by solitary confinement throughout the US.
About Voice of Witness
Voice of Witness (VOW) is nonprofit that advances human rights by amplifying the voices of people impacted by injustice. We explore urgent and underrepresented human rights issues and force space for marginalized voices to be heard and seen through our two core programs: (1) Our oral history book series, which illuminates firsthand accounts of injustice, and (2) Our education program, which brings these stories and ethics-driven oral history methodology to classrooms and communities across the U.S.
Six by Ten: Stories from Solitary is published by Haymarket Books. Click here to purchase the book before the event.
Logan Multimedia Center (Room 142 North Gate Hall)Get directions to Logan Multimedia Center (Room 142 North Gate Hall)
This is a FREE event.
Tax-deductible donations from the J-School community help make this possible.
CONTACT INFOJulie Hirano