Tapestries: Interwoven voices of local and global identities


Building on bell hooks’ conceptualization of love as a mode of political resistance, this article explores how prisoners’ radio employs love to combat injustice. Through an examination of two prisoners’ radio projects—The Prison Show in Texas and Restorative Radio in Kentucky—I argue that incarcerated people and their loved ones appropriate the radio to perform public and revolutionary acts of love, countering the oppressive forces of mass incarceration in the United States. By unapologetically positioning their love for prisoners front and center, ordinary Americans subvert systems of oppression which mark incarcerated folks as incapable and unworthy of love. Love is an intrinsic marker of humanity, so prisoners’ radio allows the incarcerated and their advocates on the outside to actively challenge the dehumanization that people face behind bars.

Author Biography

Eleanor R. Benson '18 is a graduating senior at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota. She studied American Studies with a concentration in Human Rights and Humanitarianism. Eleanor is passionate about criminal justice reform, community building, and the production of radical grassroots media.