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Town Hall Seattle: Civics Series

Town Hall’s Civics series highlights everything from local policies to world politics. These events offer perspectives on a range of topics as diverse as Seattle itself—a bustling forum for activism, discovery, and thought-provoking discussion.

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Apr 9, 2018

The purpose of law is to serve our communities by leveling the playing field and creating a more just society. Documentary photographer Deborah Espinosa believes that the only way to know if a law is serving us is to listen to those most impacted. Living with Conviction: Sentenced to Debt for Life in Washington State is a multi-media and civic engagement project about how the State of Washington sentences people not just to prison, but to a lifetime of debt.

Failure to make monthly payments for “legal financial obligations” that are due in the wake of prison time can result in arrest, and the loss of housing, jobs, and children. Espinosa and a panel of individuals featured in Living with Conviction joined us to share their stories of trying to survive and thrive under court-imposed costs, fees, fines, and victim restitution.

Deborah Espinosa is the founder of Living with Conviction. She is an attorney and a photographer who combines her legal training and visual storytelling skills to advocate for the rights of the poor and marginalized, both at home and in Africa. She also works to strengthen those rights by providing legal technical assistance to state and national governments, primarily in the global south.

Peter DiCampo is a photojournalist and documentary photographer. He is the co-founder of Everyday Africa, the Instagram-based project that has become a global phenomenon expanding perceptions of Africa. His work has been featured in the New York Times, BBC World Service, TIME, National Geographic, and numerous other publications.

Recorded live at University Lutheran Church by Town Hall Seattle on Tuesday, March 27, 2018.