On Monday March 30, 2020, hundreds of organizers joined us to connect digitally and learn about grassroots campaigns fighting to get people free from cages during the health crisis. We learned so much from the speakers and their collective organizing efforts, and are excited to share this video and the list of resources shared and mentioned, as well as some more gathered in the last 24 hours on relevant organizing.
We hope they can help inform and inspire local organizing and a strong national movement for abolition in these dire times.
Thank you so much to all the presenters!
We strongly encourage you to support these organizations and their efforts. If you value this work, we invite you to make a donation to help us fuel our resistance! Please follow links to organizations to donate. For Critical Resistance, you can donate here.
LOCAL CAMPAIGNS FOCUSED ON JAIL DECARCERATION
Amber Akemi Piatt, Human Impact Partners, part of the Audit Ahern campaign
Eunisses Hernandez, JusticeLA Coalition
Liz Blum (in place of MK Orsulak and Tifanei Ressl-Moyer), Decarcerate Sacramento
Kyle Neil, CUAV, No New San Francisco Jail coalition
Sharlyn Grace, Chicago Community Bond Fund
CAMPAIGNING FOCUSED ON IMPRISONMENT AND SENTENCING
Amber-Rose Howard, CURB (Californians United for a Responsible Budget)
Laura Whitehorn, RAPP (Release Aging People in Prison)
Andrea James, National Council For Incarcerated & Formerly Incarcerated Women & Girls
James Kilgore,* Challenging E-Carceration
DECRIMINALIZATION, JAILS and POLICING
Anna So and Rory Elliot, Critical Resistance Portland chapter, Care Not Cops Portland
Lara Kiswani, Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC)
*James was not able to be on the 3/30/2020 webinar.
RESOURCES AND MATERIALS MENTIONED
Santa Rita Jail Fight, Audit Ahern campaign
Human Impact Partners: Statement on COVID-19 & incarceration.
Call to action: Last week, a nurse in Santa Rita Jail tested positive for the coronavirus. For the last two weeks, a group of amazing organizers and I have been pressuring county officials to release everyone from Santa Rita Jail. Our latest estimate is that there are 2,171 people still in custody who are at grave risk of being infected by COVID-19.
On Tuesday, March 31, 2020 the Board of Supervisors will vote on an $85 million proposal to hire hundreds of additional jail staff. With a global pandemic bearing down on us, it is unconscionable to overlook the needs of our dedicated frontline public health workers who have been begging for personal protective equipment and adequate staffing, while also continuing to hold thousands of people in custody.
Who we’re trying to get released — our Alameda County letter calls for the release of everyone. Read the letter here.
We got unions, including one who represents some of the health workers in Santa Rita Jail, to support our Alameda County work against the $85m money grab! Also, in another area of HIP’s work, we support this open letter specifically for health workers re: immigrant prisons in CA.
To get updates on our campaign, follow @ellabakercenter and @HumanImpact_HIP on twitter and follow #AuditAhern & #HealthNotPunishment
Justice LA (JLA):
Last Friday, JusticeLA joined over 40 local and statewide advocacy groups in demanding that Los Angeles County takes immediate action to prevent the spread of COVID-19 inside the county jail system http://justicelanow.org/lajailscovid-19/
JLA Covid-19 response team https://jlacovid19.org
Judges petition: bit.ly/LAjudges
ACT NOW: Urge Los Angeles County Health Officers — Drs. Barbara Ferrer and Muntu Davis — to declare LA County Jails at risk for further spread of COVID-19. Protect our jail community today!: Sign on here.
Demand Los Angeles County officials take immediate and decisive steps now to save lives in LA County Jails
Frontline Wellness Network COVID-19 Petition for Healthworkers: Los Angeles Must Immediately Release People from the County Jails!
BUNDLE OF MATERIALS FOR DOWNLOAD HERE, including:
Decarcerate Sacramento demands letter + in graphic form
Medical community – demands letter
Disability Rights California (a law firm)– issued a demands letter [they recently sued the jail]
Jail Support – call for donations, call for volunteers, flyer for those released
No New San Francisco Jail coalition, Shut Down 850 Bryant campaign:
Chicago Community Bond Fund
Original letter re: need to decarcerate CCJ (now signed by over 100 organizations)
National Bail Fund Network COVID-19 response guide for bail funds (just an excellent resource to share, and CCBF contributed to it and used it to develop our demands): English (ly/NBFNCOVID19) and Spanish (bit.ly/NBFNCOVID19-SPANISH).
On who to advocate to get out: “Our position is that effective social distancing is impossible in jails and prisons. First, we have to reject “quarantine” inside since what it really means is solitary and punishment, which also makes people more vulnerable to medical neglect and other violence. So that is unacceptable. And even if incarcerated people are on lockdown or otherwise have their movement severely limited, the guards continue to move between spaces and between inside and the community, so the virus will be spread. Healthcare inside is also more limited, placing people at greater risk.
Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB)
Drop LWOP, Elder parole and COVID 19 letter and ask to call Gov Newsom
Recording of a digital press conference by the Justice Collaborative on conditions in California prisons
Release Aging People in Prison (RAPP)
RAPP’s demands are HERE
Events, action items, etc. are on website, along with a huge number of press pieces reflecting the demand to release people. They haven’t had a chance to put up the newest batch yet, more coming! http://rappcampaign.com/press/
Family Members of Incarcerated New Yorkers and Advocates Host Virtual Press Conference to Announce COVID-19 Community Demands for People in New York State Prisons, March 30, 2020: watch here.
RAPP’s statement responding to California’s release of 3,500 people, March 31, 2020: read and share here.
Care Not Cops PDX
Additional campaign materials shared during the call through chat box (not a comprehensive list of all the relevant organizing happening):
Regarding international solidarity:
Aboriginal Legal Service (Australia https://twitter.com/ALS_NSWACT)
Petition to stop COVID Aboriginal Deaths in Custody https://www.alsnswact.org.au/free_our_people
See also: People Against Prisons Aotearoa (New Zealand https://twitter.com/againstprisons)
Urgent Action Call by Addameer: Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association to free all Palestinian prisoners