The 2019 Fight Toxic Prisons Convergence is taking place June 14-17 in Gainesville, Florida and will include speakers, panels, workshops, protests and cultural activities exploring the intersections of anti-prison and environmental struggles.
We are currently confirming venue, speakers, music and action plans for the conference and are excited to share updates with y’all in the coming months. We maintain a commitment to creating a space in which those most directly impacted are at the forefront of this conversation.
Cost: The Convergence is always free, we just ask for a sliding scale donation ($25 – $50) to help us cover costs, primarily to provide assistance with transportation, food and housing to make the event broadly accessible. Folks who can donate more make it possible for people to attend who may otherwise not be able to. If you want to help fundraise for the Convergence, that would be amazing! We have a general fundraising page here.
Travel: The closest airport is the Gainesville Regional Airport, though tickets are often much less expensive into Jacksonville, Orlando or Tampa (all in 1 – 2 hour drive). There are also Greyhound, Megabus and Amtrak train routes. Please get in touch with us directly if you have any additional questions about travel and housing logistics which are not addressed in the registration form.
Background: Fight Toxic Prisons seeks to build momentum across, bridges between, and solidarity amongst the movements for ecological justice, environmental justice, and prison reform/abolition. Through our annual convergences we seek to create space at the intersections of various movements and across prison walls (at our 2018 convergence 9 prisoners called in to speak on panels and breakout groups), a space through which we can collectively explore how we might achieve liberation and justice. A space where we can directly share and learn from tactics, strategies, and experiences beyond the scope of our particular movements and campaigns that might play decisive roles in our local victories.
Why Gainesville: North Florida is home to some of the most repressive prisons in the country, with a steady stream of headlines about racist beatings, guards involved in KKK plots, censorship of critical books and magazines like The New Jim Crow and Prison Legal News (not to mention, mail from us!). There are over a dozen state and federal prisons within an hour of Alachua County, where Gainesville and the University of Florida is located. While Gainesville was once referred to as “the Berkeley of the South” for its student anti-war activism in the ’60s and ’70s, its actual name comes from a U.S. General who’s claim to fame was in laying siege to a well-known community of escaped slaves which had occupied an abandoned military fort in the Panhandle. The city is also home to a campus still full of buildings named after administrators and politicians that opposed the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the integration of the school. Today UF has allowed this legacy of inequality to manifest in its contracts with prison slave labor working its agricultural research centers across the state. This modern slavery is also used by government agencies all over Florida. Prisons in the region are also full of environmental justice issues, from chronic problems with mold to neighboring mines and landfills (where prison slaves are used to literally process the free world’s garbage). To top it off, prisoners face the worst of hurricane impacts, and then are used in hurricane clean up efforts. They experience some of the worst water quality, then are forced to clean up dead fish from toxic red tide algae blooms…
The region is also home one of the most rebellious prison populations in the country, where public records have surfaced under-reported news about hundreds of work stoppages, hunger strikes and full-blown uprisings in Florida’s state prisons. And solidarity demos in response have also been growing in numbers and boldness.
Hope to see ya soon in Gainesville !
– FTP Crew
Call for Proposals: 2018 was a year of unprecedented national coordination, in which networks of support for localized struggles in abolitionist and environmental movements realized advances with global implications.
We want to learn from and build upon recent victories and ongoing struggles, towards creating a broad-based, interconnected, intersectional, and ironclad movement.
At this year’s convergence, we are seeking committed, skilled participants to engage in and develop mutual and collective education, in a combination of panels, roundtables, and workshops.
If you would like to participate, please submit a brief paragraph ( 150 words or less) on your proposal. Please specify if you prefer to lead/facilitate a workshop, participate or moderate a roundtable discussion or panel.
Please send all submissions to
By April 25th, 2019
(Deadline is suggested to best accommodate travel arrangements)
Carbon Cops and Cages, Strategic Value of Abolitionist Demands, Resisting Prison Slavery, Border Wall and Detention Centers, Resource Extractions and Prisons, Prisoner Support 201, Beyond Letter Writing, Supporting Jailhouse Lawyers, Voices from the Inside, Re-Entry Support, Aging in Prison, Mental Health, Decriminalizing Domestic Violence, the International Movement Against Prisons, Support for Palestine, Queer and Trans Experiences in Prison, Women in Prison, Black Liberation, Juneteenth, Animal Rights and Prison Intersectional panels.