What's Happening

Laura Browder, a single mother of a two and a six-year-old, had just moved to Houston and was trying to start her life there by getting a job. Called in for a last-minute job interview, she had no one to watch her kids, so she decided to bring them and station them 30 yards away in the food court. Her joy at being offered the job was crushed when she was arrested for “abandoning” her children despite the fact that she was close by.
Say Her Name
Let us remember that no woman is more likely to be murdered in America today than a Black woman. No woman is more likely to be raped than a Black woman. No woman is more likely to be beaten either by a stranger or by someone she loves and trusts than a black woman. Black women are the greatest demographic influenced by mass incarceration, yet very little academic literature or research studies this tragic escalation.
It’s been a big week for criminal justice news. Here are a few of the top news stories, essays, and must-read articles from this historic week, good and bad:
On June 28, 1969, police performed a routine raid of a gay bar in New York City called the Stonewall Inn. However, not so routine was the response of the patrons, who were tired of being discriminated against for their sexuality and gender identity by the police. They stood up against the police , who responded with violence, starting a three-day rebellion.
Freedom for Our Families
Last Tuesday night, around 300 people gathered at St. Columba Community Catholic Church to hold elected officials accountable for how they are spending county public safety funds, and ensure that jobs, not jails are the priority.
The Truth Behind OITNB Season 3
In the recently released third season of Orange is the New Black, Litchfield Prison faces a possible closure because of lack of funding, and is taken over by a private prison corporation. While Orange is the New Black (OITNB) does not always capture the true brutalities of the prison system, this prison privatization is not confined to the world of fiction, nor to the federal prison system.
In 1829, Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia began using solitary confinement to better rehabilitate prisoners. In this prison, they believed those isolated in cells alone with the Bible, a small window, and honest work would begin to repent. Almost a century after its opening, this strategy was repurposed for punishment. Critics had won the debate with compelling arguments about solitary’s ineffectiveness and inhumanness. So began the torture of American citizens.
I have spent more than half my life as a community organizer advocating for change in the prison system in Los Angeles. My first brush with the system was as a child experiencing my father cycling in and out of the system until he passed away in 2009. Despite witnessing my father’s struggles, I didn’t really become aware of the depth of injustice in the system until I was 16.
Tuesday, April 7th was my fifth day as the new State Field Director here at the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. Along with many of our allies in the movement against imprisonment here in California, myself and other folks at the Ella Baker Center were up in Sacramento to advocate for a series of important criminal justice bills that were being heard by the Public Safety Committees.
"Jobs, Not Jails" was the chant of the crowd of approximately 40 community members and faith leaders who gathered at the Alameda County Administration building in Oakland on Tuesday, January 20th. During the rally, people filled the Board of Supervisors' office to demand more county funding for jobs, education, healthcare, and housing. The participants also expressed their support of the #BlackFriday14 BART protestors, and urged the Alameda County District Attorney to drop the criminal charges against them.