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Between the Lines: Prison, Poetry & Families
Performance Featured Event Family

Between the Lines: Prison, Poetry & Families

June 16, 2024
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Join Santa Fe Poet Laureate Tommy Archuleta with Adam Griego, Advocate for the Formerly Incarcerated and Bill Zunkel, Justice Reform Advocate in a presentation and discussion.   

ASL interpretation will be provided.

In conjunction with the upcoming exhibit Between the Lines: Prison Art & Advocacy

Thank you to the International Folk Art Foundation and the Museum of New Mexico Foundation for the generous support.

Tommy Archuleta, Santa Fe Poet Laureate

Born and raised in Santa Fe, Tommy Archuleta works as a mental health therapist for the New Mexico Corrections Department in Santa Fe County, and lives and writes in the Cochiti Pueblo. Susto, his full-length debut collection of poems, published by the University Press of Colorado, is a 2023 Mountain/West Poetry Series title. He is also the author of the chapbook Fieldnotes (Lily Poetry Review & Books, 2023). Most recently his work has appeared in the New England Review, Laurel Review, Lily Poetry Review, The Cortland Review, Guesthouse, and the "Poem-a-Day" series sponsored by the Academy of American Poets.

Bill Zunkel, Justice Reform Advocate,

I am a professional counselor in Corrections or treatment for addictions. I met a young man in 2017 that had a vehicular manslaughter criminal charge, and he was sentenced to 9 years in New Mexico prisons. I followed his incarceration with visits and letters and telephone calls and became a visitor to the Roundhouse by attending Subcommittee sessions on Criminal Justice Reform and saw very little legislation that mitigated the circumstances of the incarcerated person, the young man. Over the years I have developed a network of persons connected with the “system” and support steps to give humanity to those individuals that are incarcerated.

I have known Tommy Archuleta for over 20 years and have linked with his efforts to counsel persons in prison. I have a similar relationship with Adam Griego.

We believe that allowing creative activities increases the chances of successful release and reduction of recidivism.

Adam Griego, Advocate for the Formerly Incarcerated

Incarcerated in the state of Texas prison system for the summer of 2018 and after bond got indicted federally and served my 18-month sentence for drug possession from April 11, 2019, until September 09, 2020. Was brought into this work by a wonderful woman, mentor and friend Nora Ranney who is in philanthropy. Giving 110% every day that I wake up breathing!

My involvement in the brief time period has been a massive commitment. Participant in the fight for HB4 the Voting Rights Act for the State of New Mexico in 2022, 8 committee hearing speeches and a speech on the rotunda. During this time, I was released early from Federal Probation and Parole almost a year early. Date of release was May 16, 2023, my due date was April 11, 2024. Became an adjunct professor for the Santa Fe Community College in fall of 2022 teaching in the automotive program, completed a legislative fellowship with Barron Jones the Senior Policy Strategist for ACLU New Mexico in 2022-23. Became a member of OLE’ (Organizers in the Land of Enchantment) 2022-present. Spring of 2023 joined the Justice Advisory and Accountability Board to the ACLU New Mexico. Marched in Philadelphia for affordable housing and to end homelessness in summer of 2023. Published in Source Nm, The Santa Fe New Mexican, and Bolts Magazine Washington D.C. I have been a critical participant in the development of a civics-based curriculum in conjunction with OLE’ and The Project Echo at the University of New Mexico, we are preparing after some final changes to take the curriculum into the state prison system. Have been a powerful catalyst for change and leading current legislative efforts to end solitary confinement in both the federal and the state prison systems. This requires meeting in person or over zoom with folks like Congresswoman Melanie Stansbury, who by the way was so moved by our presentation that she agreed to sponsor the federal bill almost immediately, we have met with Senator Martin Heinrich’s office, Senator Ben Ray Lujan’s office just to name a few. Knee deep in the fight to end mass incarceration. Daily working towards changing the narrative on how we define ourselves. I am driven by a unique passion to serve others. Drawing on my own life experiences, I wish to help others through democracy reform and getting meaningful legislation passed. So grateful to be alive and share my narrative to bring peace and knowledge to other people and the formerly incarcerated. Having experienced the carceral system firsthand, I am eager to draw upon my experiences to give back to communities, find a positive direction for those whose path is not so straight and narrow. I hope this is a little of what you were looking for, believe it or not my mother was a Franciscan nun for 22 years and was once nominated by Patrick Leahy pro tempore of the United States Senate for woman of the year! Bringing my life full circle, however challenging has been something I will never regret and will be my legacy for my daughter and grandson!

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