For Immediate Release 

May 17, 2023 


Amanda Powers 
2nd Street 
(518) 928-9888 
[email protected] 

Deadline is June 9

PITTSFIELD, MA — 2nd Street seeks submissions for Using Our Outside Voices, a literary project created in partnership with Berkshire Community College (BCC) that is designed to promote creativity, acceptance and inclusion for presently or formerly incarcerated men and women in Berkshire County. The deadline for submissions is Friday, June 9, 2023.

Any presently or formerly incarcerated resident of Berkshire County is invited to submit original poetry, short fiction, personal essays or other literary works. Submissions will be judged by a team to include at least one formerly incarcerated individual and at least two BCC students. Julianna Spallholz, chair of the BCC English department, will oversee the editing, production and publication of the literary magazine.

“BCC is so proud to be able to support the great work of this initiative through providing the services of our Writing Center and involving our great faculty as they lead elements of this program,” said Matthew Muller, BCC Interim Dean of Humanities, Behavioral and Social Sciences.

The initial run of 400 printed copies of the free journal will be distributed to local facilities and events, and digital copies will be available online. Authors whose work is included in the Using Our Outside Voices journal will receive a cash award of $200, and they will be invited to participate in public readings at various venues in the Berkshires.

“On behalf of Berkshire United Way, I’m proud to support the Using Our Outside Voices project,” said Tom Bernard, president and CEO of Berkshire United Way. “Our mission to build a stronger community together benefits when everyone has the chance to use their voice, tell their stories and communicate the truths of their varied perspectives, as shaped by their unique experiences.”

Emily Bronson, Senior Community Engagement Officer – Initiatives and Special Projects at Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, said, “Berkshire Taconic’s Arts Build Community (ABC) initiative aims to increase community engagement through the arts, especially among communities of color, immigrants, youth and other residents who wish to participate in the arts but face a variety of barriers. Using Our Outside Voices is a powerful example of using creative arts to challenge conventional narratives and build community.”

For more details on how to submit a literary work, visit and click Special Projects, or call (413) 443-7220, ext. 1275.

Financial and in-kind support of Using Our Outside Voices is provided by Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation’s Arts Build Community initiative with funding from the Barr Foundation; by Berkshire United Way; and by Berkshire Community College.

About 2nd Street

Second Street Second Chances, Inc., better known as 2nd Street, supports formerly incarcerated persons in Berkshire County and connects them with the tools, programs and support they need to successfully reenter their community. 2nd Street is committed to treating formerly incarcerated individuals with respect and encouragement; providing them with job readiness skills and access to employment opportunities; preparing them to become productive and contributing citizens; and educating and advocating for communities to embrace them as such. Services and referrals include medical and mental health resources, substance use disorder services, financial resources and literacy, transportation, family reunification, housing, job training and employment, and legal services. Visit 2nd Street at