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The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student


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Motus Theater Performance to Explore Mass Incarceration


Colorado-based Motus Theater comes to Galesburg with JustUs: Stories from the Frontline of the Criminal Legal System

A performing arts group that uses theater to build alliances across diverse segments of the country is coming to Galesburg. They will perform “JustUs: Stories from the Frontline of the Criminal Legal System” at Knox College’s Harbach Theatre at 12:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 27. The performance is free and open to the public. 

Assistant Professor of Peace and Justice Studies Leanne Trapedo Sims, said the performance is meant to expose audiences to new perspectives on the criminal legal system. 

Trapedo Sims has done a substantial amount of work within the prison system. Recently, she has been working with Knox students on an Inside-Out Prison Exchange program at Henry C. Hill Correctional Center in Galesburg. This program uses courses inside prisons to educate students across profound social differences.

“Once you get to hear these stories and you get to hear the profound trauma, I think you have to have compassion and understand there’s something wrong with our culture and our society and the system, and you know it’s about systemic injustice and not personal injustice,” Trapedo Sims said.

At the Motus Theater event, President Andrew McGadney and Knox County State’s Attorney Jeremy Karlin will co-read monologues of Dereck Bell and Daniel Guillory. McGadney and Karlin personally selected these stories from the JustUs series of monologues based on what resonated with them the most. 

Other performers scheduled include Juaquin Mobley and Colette Payne with their JustUs stories, and the Chicago based a cappella group, Spirit of Grace. 

Musical a cappella singers from Spirit of Grace singing at Motus Theater’s JustUs performance of “Boundless Truth.” Photo by Michael Ensminger

The performance will cover themes including racial profiling, human rights abuses in prisons, and inequities in the bond and bail system. A question-and-answer panel is planned after the performance. 

First-year students at Knox have been studying the United States justice system in their preceptorials. This year’s common reader book was “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption” by Bryan Stevenson, a memoir about the author’s experiences as an attorney working with wrongful convictions and life sentences. Students will attend the performance as part of their classes. 

Trapedo Sims hopes the Motus Theater performance will open up discussions about the justice system, both at Knox and in the Galesburg community. 

“Unless we look at these things and are willing to talk about things that are very vulnerable and very difficult, things will not change,” Trapedo Sims said.

This story was produced in collaboration with TSPR

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