In 2012 the ACLU launched a class action lawsuit against the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department for abuses in the jail system.
Having read the 86-page report, Patrisse decided to create a performance art piece that highlighted her brother’s story of being brutalized in the county jail while dissolving the disconnect between the conditions inside custody and the community outside.
That piece became “STAINED: An Intimate Portrayal of State Violence,” a powerful and intimate performance where mere caution tape separated the audience and artists. A recording of Patrisse’s voice could be heard reading correspondence between her mother and brother detailing the beatings he was forced to endure.
Meanwhile, several people could be seen within the caution tape boundary displaying various behaviors from push-ups and escape attempts to laughing and crying uncontrollably.
The group would occasionally turn to the monotonous task of wheatpasting the ACLU’s jail abuse lawsuit to the wall. The piece stained the audience profoundly. After leaving the performance, viewers were unable to wash their hands clean of the abuse incarcerated people experience.
“STAINED” toured for a year around Los Angeles County – and ignited a movement. Audiences wanted to do more than watch the piece; they wanted to change the county jail system. The Coalition to End Sheriff Violence was born.
Watch the performance below: