The Daily Tar Heel

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Friday December 3rd


Campus Y opens new exhibit on the art of incarcerated youth

While teaching abroad in Ghana, Amber Koonce began to feel restless.

“I felt like there was something more I could be doing,” Koonce, a junior, said.

After searching for another place to work Amber was soon granted permission to work at a local young women’s institute. It was there at the institute, that the idea for Behind Bars was born.

Behind Bars, a new exhibit located at the Campus Y, is a collaborative effort of juniors Amber Koonce, Oprah Keyes and senior Bianca Bell. The exhibit showcases writing and art from juvenile delinquents from Ghana, Scotland and Durham.

The main themes in Behind Bars speak of happiness, dreams and the future, exhibited through the writing of young boys and girls. One boy, from the Durham County Youth House wrote, “What I want people to know about me is that I can be trusted and real.”

The project is connected to CJAA, Criminal Justice Action and Awareness, an organization run through the Campus Y. Students volunteer and mentor teens at the Durham County Youth Home every weekend. CJAA’s message aims to promote awareness of discrepancies in the social justice system.

Sophomore Qubilah Huddelston attended the opening of the exhibit on Monday.

“People have big aspirations, but this makes your appreciate what you have because some people have the bare minimum,” she said.

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