Marie “Mechie” Scott is an organizer, writer, and lifelong advocate for children of incarcerated parents. While she’s been incarcerated, she has written legislation, started support groups, and participated in numerous projects and organizations. She was born in Harlem, New York on the fourth of July and is the mother of two children. She is a writer and editor, as well as an aspiring pianist. She is featured in Howard Zehr’s book Doing Life: Reflections of Men and Women Serving Life Sentences. She has been serving a death by incarceration sentence for the last 45 years.
MECHIE: I have imagined at least 500 different ways my release from prison would look like if God blesses me with my freedom one day. Those imaginations are the only hopes I have left to hold onto, since all the doors seem to be shut for women serving life, the other death penalty.
ROBIN: There were so many times I wished that I could videochat with her to show her what I was working on, a choice I was making in one of the pieces and wanted her feedback on. The most important thing to me was that Mechie feel like she was an equal collaborator as much as possible within the confines of our situation. I’ve seen other “social justice” art projects that claim to be collaborative between an impacted person or community and an outside artist but are not true collaborations and ultimately elevate the power of the artist and not the community. It is really important to me that the final products of this collaboration represent Mechie and her ideas and elevate her power, and that I am more of a conduit for that vision to be materialized on paper.
MECHIE: The thing that keeps me fighting is instinct. Imprisonment is not our natural habitat. This is not my home. Every creature wants to be free to go wherever they want. Humans are no different. I don’t think about the majority who will die in here, whether that includes me or not. I focus on what keeps me from becoming complacent in prison for the rest of my life!
ROBIN: When I started working on the portrait, I didn’t have to work hard, it just sort of came to me. When I wrote Mechie to describe it, she wrote back, “You know how some people can read minds but not on purpose? Well it’s like that’s what you’re doing to me!!! I don’t have to think of anything different than what you’re doing already because you are already doing what I would have thought to do!!!! How do you do that??!?!??? “I told her, “I’m a witch.” Lol. This has continued throughout our process and it’s definitely the most moving aspect part of the project for me.
Robin Markle is an artist, organizer and revolutionary witch practicing their crafts in West Philadelphia. Robin’s practices are inspired by their queer community and the resiliency and strength that comes from people working together against oppressive forces. They often collaborate with local organizations, such as Decarcerate PA and the Coalition to Abolish Death By Incarceration, on art pieces to aid in political work. Collaborations have included a postcard series with anti-incarceration messages, a prison piñata, protest banners, and silk-screened patches. Robin has been a coordinator of the Philly Childcare Collective for nine years and regularly coordinates kid’s programming at their favorite event, the Allied Media Conference. When they’re not in a meeting, Robin can be found cooking up a scheme, a spell or a meal, and selling queer altar candles at FlamingIdols.com.