Life, a performance by The Graduates, was created to accompany The Life Quilt, a hand beaded quilt with the names of the 107 women serving life sentences in Louisiana in 2017. The performance features four Graduates who were a part of The Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women (LCIW) Drama Club: Taece Defillo, Carry Emerson, Fox Rich and Ivy Matthis—a juvenile lifer, whose name is on the quilt and who was released in 2019. The performance is a combination of monologues, songs, dance, and motivational speaking.

About the graduates

The Graduates, founded in 2012, is a performance ensemble composed of four formerly incarcerated women from Louisiana, who were former members of the 23-year-old LCIW Drama Club in St. Gabriel: Taece Defillo, Carry Emerson, Fox Rich and Ivy Matthis. The Graduates and the LCIW Drama Club are co-directed by Kathy Randels of ArtSpot Productions and Ausettua AmorAmenkum of Kumbuka African Drum & Dance Collective and were initially co-produced by these two companies. Their performances focus on the experiences that women from Louisiana have when they interact with the prison system and are designed to move and motivate audiences to become active in helping to end mass incarceration in Louisiana. Visit and our Won’t Bow Down! Facebook page for more information.