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BL Shirelle is an accomplished musician, producer, and songwriter. In addition, Shirelle serves as deputy director of Die Jim Crow, the first non-profit record label in United States history for currently and formerly incarcerated artists. After serving ten years in prison herself, Shirelle is dedicated to social change and activism through her music and work with Die Jim Crow Records. Shirelle has been a guest speaker at colleges across America, educating youth on mass incarceration. She also continues to work with artists still in prison to produce and share their music on high-quality platforms. Shirelle and her work have been featured in, the LA Times, NPR, Rolling Stone, PBS/Whyy, Ms. Magazine, Bushwick Daily, Aesthetics For Birds, We Want The Airwaves, and The Philadelphia Inquirer among others.

“I was born in the ‘50s and raised in North Philadelphia. I had a great childhood and discovered that I had musical talents at a very early age. I recorded my first single, I’m So Young, when I was 15. During that time, I went down a dark path, quitting high school, then becoming a drug addict and alcoholic. In 1982, I went to prison for conspiracy to murder. I was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. While in prison, I obtained my GED, earned an associate’s degree in business and a paralegal certificate. In 2019, after serving 37 years in prison, my sentence was commuted, and I was released from prison. I now work as a commutation specialist for the Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (Pennsylvania). I am also a program consultant for the Shining Light Academy where we try to unlock human potential inside of all American prisons. Life is now, like a box of chocolates.” – Naomi Blount Wilson

Dinny Risri Aletheiani is a faculty member at the Council on Southeast Asia Studies, the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies, and director of Southeast Asia Language Studies at Yale University. Her publications and research are in curriculum studies, curriculum history, historical archives, free school, language learning and policy, education and history of education, schooling in Indonesia, indigenous education, and education in Southeast Asia. She was a Fulbright scholar and has acted, danced, and choreographed internationally. Recent stage appearances include Echoes of Attica (2022) and Islands: The Lost History of the Treaty that Changed the World (2017), which was broadcasted by NPR, RRI, and featured on BBC Radio. As a dancer and dance choreographer, she has worked on community-based dance projects with themes of diversity and history.

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