The story of a young man trapped in what he experiences as the U.S. colosseum of racist justice and economic games of exploitation.

Astro Allison delivering his monologue at Motus Theater’s MLK Jr. Day performance, 2020 ©Michael Ensminger

The criminal justice system doesn’t make sense to Black people. And if White people would think about it, outside of a lens of racist justification that says it’s normal for one out of three Black men to end up going to prison, they wouldn’t understand it either.

Black people work hard, too often at low paying jobs, only to be chased and locked up like exotic beasts. Then we get told: “You’re useless, you’re worthless.” The system actually does that to us.

The criminal justice system operates without empathy. They can judge us like they want to. They can enslave…

The criminal legal system claimed a young woman negotiating homelessness stole $62 on her birthday. But what did the criminal legal system steal from her mistake?

Cierra Brock performing this story at National Association of Community & Restorative Justice conference, 2019 ©Rick Villarreal

It was just us — my mom, my sisters and me — on a trip up to Colorado’s Cripple Creek Casino in early March for my 21st birthday. It had been a hard spring. We were all living out of a U-Haul truck. …

One man’s story of overcoming addiction through love and grace, in contrast to the systemic violence he, and other inmates, experienced in prison; a call to reimagine a criminal justice system that truly offered rehabilitation.

Daniel Guillory performing his story at Motus Theater’s MLK Jr. Day performance, 2020 ©Michael Ensminger

The last time I went to jail, I had been in there for about 18 months while I was fighting my case. I called my mom, “Hey, Mama, you guys wanna come bond me out?”

She said, “Well, let me talk to your sisters and see if we can get up the money.” She talked to my sisters and they said, “No, Ma. He’s up to the same thing. Hes gonna get out and go right back to the drugs. So, we ain’t in.”

But my mom said, “Well, Im going to come get you.” She went and got a…

A story honoring the undocumented domestic workers, and women cleaning businesses, hospitals and government buildings to protect us against COVID-19.

I would like to share a story in honor of all the women cleaning businesses, hospitals, homes, and government buildings during the pandemic. My story is about my mother’s hands but it could be about your mother’s hands — the hands of women who are protecting us against COVID-19.

My mother’s hands are a form of magic because with them she can do anything.

Any time she chooses, she can make delicious food. The best homemade tortillas, barbacoa, menudo, enchiladas, tamales, buñuelos, and hot cocoa (Chocolate Abuelita).

Her hands become tender and skillful whenever I am sick. They reach out…

One man’s reflection on how fairness, freedom and not going to jail is experienced as a luxury for Black Americans and surviving an interaction with the police, a privilege.

Brian Lynch (CB Toolit) on the set at ICU Visuals. Photo permission of ICU Visuals

Have you ever worked, and worked, and worked, and when you get out of work you’re just drained? I mean DRAINED. And you can’t stand to even look at whatever it is you’ve been working on — not for one more second! For me, that was refrigerators, stoves and compressors — because I worked at Sears’ package pickup.

Well, one night I was leaving work and heading to the parking lot, totally exhausted, when the phone rang.

Do you have a friend that doesn’t have a car? I mean, just period. Not, ‘their car is in the shop’, but they…

A story of systemic oppression and one man’s insistence on transforming the brutality he was given as a DOC number into his own armor and influence.

”JustUs” monologist Juaquin Mobley at the CPR studios in Denver on Jan. 13, 2019 — Stephanie Wolf/CPR News

It’s late fall, 2002, and I’m 18 years old — full of strength and light. I tripped all the way from Washington Heights in Manhattan to Flushing, Queens, the last stop on the 7 train. Down to my last, I traveled to Home Depot to be interviewed for a job.

Filled with hope and cloaked in desperation, I walked in to meet my potential new employer. His name was Sheldon. We interviewed, and I killed it. I’m sure Sheldon felt my hunger. I detected his Caribbean accent and I tried to find common ground, being that my father was from…

A story of one young woman’s battle against invisible borders in her journey toward who she is and loves.

Kiara Chavez in the arms of her maternal grandmother in Mexico.

The longest plane ride of my life was for a trip to Mexico when I was 19 — about four years ago.

I don’t remember packing. I don’t remember the drive to the airport. I don’t remember much about all the forms I had to fill out, or how much my family had to pay to apply for Advance Parole — the program that used to allow DACA recipients to leave the country for study abroad, employment or, as in my case, a humanitarian reason. …

A story of risks and CPB checkpoints on the journey to freedom.

Irving and his grandmother on a bus in El Paso

On an annual basis, I go to El Paso, Texas to see my grandmother.

I have no problems on the drive to El Paso, but when I return home to Colorado I must pass through an immigratin checkpoint. The U.S. has CBP checkpoints within 100 miles of the border. CBP stands for Customs and Border Protection. Everyone calls them the Border Patrol, but the agents don’t like that. They are really sensitive people. The name “Border Patrol” hurts their feelings.

Sometimes when you’re stopped they want to search your vehicle. It all depends on the agent and the time of…

A story of one man’s journey through the darkness and beyond the chains of anti-immigrant policy and rhetoric.

Imagine living in a lonely, cold world where you cannot see anything around you but dark shadows moving in the distance. There is no hope. No future. Nothing to plan ahead. You have nightmares of being taken from your family and sent into exile. You have learned to think of yourself as an “illegal;” something shameful; something that does not belong. And you fear you are the only one.

Your fellow classmates are talking, laughing, preparing for their life and choosing colleges. But you don’t have a social security number. You can’t apply.

You seek guidance. Help. “I am a…

A story of brotherly love and the uncompromising fight for hardworking, undocumented people across the U.S.A.

Juan Juarez and his three brothers before moving to Arizona.

There are all kinds of older brothers — and from what I hear, some of them are a bit of a pain. I’m sorry if you have one of those… but not mine. My older brother, Alejandro, has always been there for me.

When I was in the hospital as a two year-old child Alejandro insisted on being by my side. Even though he was too young to read, Alejandro would pretend, pointing to the pictures and telling me the story just to cheer me up.

When we were in elementary school Alejandro was always protective of me and our…

Motus Theater

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