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.

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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.

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OAKLAND, Calif  ---  Two weeks ago, we honored Martin Luther King Jr. and others in the Civil Rights movement who were courageous enough to not remain silent. Instead, they stood together in solidarity and spoke loudly through their actions for peace, equality, and justice for all people. In 2015, we are following in the steps of Dr. King and speaking loudly on the social issues that plague our community.

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California's Prison Labor Problem
California Attorney General Kamala Harris said that she was "shocked" by the Los Angeles Times report that lawyers from her office had argued in court that if forced to expand prison releases per the order of federal judges, prisons would lose an important labor pool.

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On Tuesday, October 21, Baratunde Thurston, Michelle Alexander, Van Jones, and Shaka Senghor gathered for the first time at the Ella Baker Center’s Justice Rising breakfast to discuss how to end mass incarceration and build safer and stronger communities.

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Proposition 47, Explained
This November 4th, when Californians go to the polls, they will have the opportunity to vote on Proposition 47, the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act. This initiative is a criminal reform to reclassify some nonviolent crimes from felonies to misdemeanors, permitting re-sentencing for prisoners serving time for crimes classified as felonies prior to its passage.

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It’s a rare thing when two great thinkers come together, but that is exactly what is going to happen next week when Ta-Nehisi Coates, a national correspondent at The Atlantic and author of the article The Case for Reparations, leads an online book club that will delve into a study of the book, The New Jim Crow, written by acclaimed civil rights lawyer, legal scholar,

TAGS: Racial Justice
In a 2004 keynote address at the Democratic National Convention, Barack Obama delivered one of the most memorable lines of his political career. “There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America,” he said. “There's the United States of America.” It was a powerful, if simple, statement of unity and togetherness; the convention hall thundered with applause.

TAGS: racial profiling
Last week, Judge Carney in the Central District of California wrote a refreshingly accessible, logical, and just opinion declaring California’s death penalty system unconstitutional.  It is worth reading, but I summarize it briefly below.

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