Note: This is a statement prepared for Rave The Vote PSA segment aired on September 11, 2020
By Lauren Segal, Co-Founder of Give A Beat
The values of the original dance music culture that was created largely in black and gay communities. It is inherently political, radically inclusive, and socially conscious. When I got into the scene, I immediately recognized the power of this community and believed the energy could and should be channeled to tackle injustice.
Our mission is to reduce the harmful effects of incarceration through music production, DJing, and other education programs that transform individuals and inspire communities to take action. I believe mass incarceration and the larger criminal justice system is the biggest problem we face in this country. It’s a trillion dollar industry, racially driven, and has multi-generational devastating effects even internationally since voter disenfranchisement clearly has global implications.
Half of Americans have had a family member incarcerated.
Over the last 20 years, the incarceration of women has increased by over 800%.
There are 70 million people with previous felony convictions and many can’t vote.
I believe every community and industry needs to have some response to this injustice and I think the dance music community is uniquely positioned to make an impact.
Give a Beat has 4 programs that align with Bryan Stevenson's key strategies on how to "change the world: - we create opportunities for proximity teaching DJing to incarcerated youth and in afterschool programs, ask people to do “uncomfortable” things like visit our Prison Electronic Music Program in Ca State Prisons, change the narrative by being a voice for incarcerated people, and inspire hope through our reentry mentoring program.
We launched All Hands on the Decks to raise funds and awareness about the barriers people face after prison and to support our music centered reentry program. Please visit our website to learn more - we really need ALL HANDS ON THE DECKS!