WHAT YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW
Email or call the DA, Jeffrey Rosell at:
Demand that the vandalism and defacement of the BLM mural be tried as a hate crime. Express your concern about what this violent act means to you and the community. Think about how we can begin to truly shift white supremacy culture and start building a better world, for us all.
Please cc the Board of Supervisors in your email, so they know how the community feels: firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, if you see racist comments or people downplaying the severity of this action on social media or in your neighborhood groups, please add your thoughts and feelings about what living in an anti-racist community means to you. Sharing personal stories is a powerful way to get through to others and no one can argue with your story.
Finally, read this letter from local Black community groups, including the NAACP Santa Cruz County Branch, Santa Cruz County Black Coalition for Justice and Racial
Equity, Santa Cruz County Black Health Matters Initiative, Black Kings of Santa Cruz County, and the Santa Cruz Equity Collab. Write your own letter to any city officials, teachers or community leaders who might be able to enact some systemic change. You can read more about the news here.
SHERIFF’S OVERSIGHT COMMISSION SCC: Email Your County Supervisor
Sheriffs in California possess extraordinary powers, not only as law enforcement officers but also as the keepers of the jail and in many other public functions that are not presently subject to public oversight or accountability. The Sheriff in Santa Cruz County presently operates on an approximately $90 million budget per year, which constitutes about a quarter of the entire county budget.
Template Requesting Study Sessions:
TO: The Board of Supervisors [you can also send an email directly to the supervisor you elected from your district],
In September 2020, AB 1185 – Sheriff’s Oversight Commission was signed into law. The law became effective on January 1, 2021. AB 1185 empowers California counties to institute a Sheriff Oversight Commission or Office of Inspector General, either by action of the board of supervisors or through a vote of county residents, “to assist in the board’s supervisorial duties over the sheriff.”
On June 17, 2021 the Santa Cruz County Grand Jury issued its report titled, “Justice in the Jail.” In that report, the Grand Jury found numerous deficiencies in the management, resourcing, and efficient oversight of the Sheriff’s Department. It also found that more transparency of the operations of the Sheriff’s Office is needed for the public to rebuild trust between the public and the Sheriff’s Office. It pointed out that these deficiencies contributed to “inmate deaths, violence, and equipment failures at the Main Jail and criminal conduct including sexual assaults by correction officers.” Finally, the Grand Jury provided detailed explanations as to why neither the Board of Supervisors nor the Grand Jury itself possessed the level of expertise and qualitative granular oversight required by the present ongoing jail crisis.
On June 30, the local NAACP and ACLU sponsored a town hall regarding the need for accountability and transparency for the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s office. It was demonstrated that there is an urgent need for an independent auditor and/or oversight board for the incredible breath of responsibilities and power enshrined in the office of Sheriff.
Currently, the County is presently facing two federal lawsuits based on jail deaths, several more from severe sexual and nonsexual injuries sustained in the jail due to institutional deficiencies and others related to excessive uses of force in general. The Grand Jury detailed several previous jail lawsuits that resulted in millions of dollars of settlements. Had there been an oversight board and/or an Inspector General, I believe that these deaths and grievous injuries could have been prevented with corrections through investigations and best practices suggested by such an oversight board or Inspector General.
Respecting the Grand Jury’s incredible amount of research, effort and their role in oversight means instituting its recommendations. I am writing to request that you immediately convene study sessions with the community to discuss how best to implement the Grand Jury’s recommendations in their June 2021 report for implementing a Sheriff’s Oversight Commission and/or Office of Inspector General in Santa Cruz County.
Thank you very much for your time.
If you don’t know who your County Supervisor is:
- Look up your Supervisor using this tool.
- Once on the webpage, use the Supervisorial Districts map to determine your Supervisor.
- There’s a “Click here” button below the map to specify your address to find your Supervisor if it isn’t clear from the Districts Map.
Supervisor Email Addresses:
- Manu Koenig, scroll to bottom of page to leave a comment (https://www.co.santa-cruz.ca.us/Government/BoardofSupervisors/District1.aspx) email@example.com
- Zach Friend, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ryan Coonerty, email@example.com
- Greg Caput, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Bruce McPherson, email@example.com
To reach all Supervisors, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
CALL FEINSTEIN TO VOTE FOR S1!!!
(added 6.17.21 from Santa Cruz Swing Left)
It’s imperative that the Senate passes S1 to protect voting rights!! It seems the Senate is scheduled to vote next Tuesday, June 22nd. Thanks to Stepanie Singer for this great information on how we can encourage our Senator Diane Feinstein to vote for S1 and get rid of the filibuster. Let’s call everyday!!
We need to put pressure on our senator, Diane Feinstein. She needs to hear how important it is to you that S1 passes—even if it means the filibuster has to go.Calling is easy. In the rare times you get a real person on the line, they generally just ask your name & zip code. Then just tell them you have a message for the Senator—that you want her to vote for S1 and to get rid of the filibuster. You can always add more, but that’s the basic important message. And be sure to leave a message if you don’t get a real person.
Call every day until the vote! You can also email her: Feinstein.senate.gov. Our democracy appreciates you! Here are the phone #s: (202) 224-3841–DC(415) 393-0707 –SF(310) 914-7300 –LA(619) 231-9712–SD(559) 485-7430–Fresno
REPEAL 3 STRIKES YOU’RE OUT
(current as of 6.17.21)
Repeal California’s Three Strikes Law Coalition is led by directly impacted people and their loved ones and is made up of grassroots organizations, organizers, and advocates working to repeal the Three Strikes Law in California. They represent those who have not been served in the sentence reform process. Their goal is to reunite families by utilizing the initiative process. They believe the people of California are ready to right the injustices created by Prop 184 in 1994 (which codified the Three Strikes Law) resulting in mass-incarceration and inequity in sentencing. (added 5.27.21)
Call to support Legal Services for Prisoners with Children / All of Us or None (AOUON) 5.4.21
AOUON is in the middle of their biggest advocacy day of the year, where hundreds of formerly incarcerated & convicted people, their loved ones and family, and allies are lobbying legislators about important bills.
Can you spare 10 minutes to make the following calls:
We need your support to amplify their voices.
Call script for Senator: “Hi, my name is—-, and I am a resident of —-. I’m calling to register my support for the following bills. First, I’d like to register my support for SB 586, which would eliminate over 60 fees that can still legally be charged to Californians moving through the criminal justice system. Second, I’d like to register my support for SB 731, which will help more than 8 million Californians overcome barriers to housing, employment, education, and much more, by removing old, burdensome background records. Third, I’d like to register my support for SB 416, which would reflect advancements in higher educational programming in prison. It would require the California Department of Corrections (CDCR) to work with regionally accredited, non-profit institutions of postsecondary higher education and prioritize college programming.
Call Script for Assembly: “Hi, my name is —-, and I am a resident of —-. I’m calling to register my support for the following bills. First, I’d like to register my support of AB 990, which would restore visiting as a right and restore four visiting days a week in California prisons. Second, I would like to register my support for AB 937, which would protect refugee and immigrant community members who have been deemed eligible for release from being funneled by local jails and our state prison system to immigration detention. Third, I’d like to register my support for AB 328, which redirects a portion of prison closure savings to house formerly incarcerated individuals at risk of homelessness and to provide services to help people reenter society.
PROTECT WOMEN 4.28.21
The S&P Mutual Aid group is a project of Survived and Punished NY, a grassroots prison abolitionist organization that exists to end the criminalization of survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
They are raising money to provide commissary, packages and other material support for criminalized survivors. Please donate as we continue to expand our giving to more survivors and provide care to our communities. All donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.
Survived and Punished has chapters in California, New York and Chicago with a mission to End the Criminalization of Survival
There are three new prisons planned to be built in Alabama, and frontline communities are fighting back fiercely. Alabama has been sued by the Department of Justice in recent years for terrible prison conditions and has an incarceration rate that is nearly 300% higher than the US rate, which is already the highest of any country in the world. Last week Communities Not Prisons—an Alabama-led coalition of progressive activists, students, formerly incarcerated people, rural residents, and officials—successfully forced CoreCivic, a private prison giant, to put the brakes on their movement towards prison construction. We need to keep the pressure on and make sure that CoreCivic can’t get the financing they need for these prisons that will only be a place to lock up more Black, Brown, and poor people. Sign this letter showing your support for stopping these prisons from being built
Between 1909 and 1979, California forcibly sterilized at least 20,000 people of color and people with disabilities, and imprisoned people under its eugenics laws. Government documents also indicate that at least 250 people—disproportionately women of color and non-native English speakers—were forcibly sterilized in California women’s prisons between 2006 to 2010. The State must address its shameful past and commit to ending destruction of the right to family for communities of color and disabled people. We demand California notify all survivors that they were sterilized and immediately budget to provide reparations.
A Budget 2 Save Lives 3-25-21
Budget 2 Save Lives (B2SL) is a multi-year vision to move California toward a “Care First” future by investing in healing and rehabilitation, divesting from incarceration and policing, and ending the economic austerity that endangers the lives of countless human beings. The B2SL coalition represents more than 150 grassroots organizations who have created three 2021-22 legislative policy proposals focused on reentry services and alternatives to incarceration that seek to create lifelines of hope for community members across the state. Support the 2021 campaign launch by sharing and using this social media toolkit and signing on as an individual to endorse B2SL.
ACTION ALERT! 3.19.21
Here are some resources and actions you can take to support our Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Communities :
- You can support the families of the victims of violence in Georgia here.
- Consider donating to the AAPI Community Fund.
- Learn more about actions you can take to Stop AAPI Hate.
- Attend a free, 1-hour, online Bystander Intervention to Stop Anti-Asian/American and Xenophobic Harassment workshop presented by Hollaback! and Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAAJ).
- Join the Chinese Progressive Association’s community space in San Francisco tomorrow, Saturday, March 20, at 12:00 pm. “From the Bay to Atlanta: A Safe Space for Asian Americans to Grieve and Rage” will center immigrant, Asian-identified folks, while non-Asian allies are also welcome. It will be safely socially-distanced, family-friendly, and delivered in Cantonese and English. (Asian American Organizations Across the Bay Area Join Forces to Demand Action Against Violence)
- Read and/or have your organization sign on to this statement from Red Canary Song, a grassroots collective of Asian and migrant sex workers, calling for protection and rights for Asian massage workers and not an increase in policing in Asian communities. You can also support this visionary organizing here.
- Educate yourself and share timely articles here and here about the intersection of racism and misogyny in the Atlanta shootings and white supremacist efforts to divide Black and Asian American communities and how they have worked to find common ground.
ACTION ALERT! 3-17-21:
The Justice in Policing Act (JPA)- which just passed the House and is headed to the Senate- gives more money and power to police, not to communities. Contact your senators telling them to stop the JPA and to demand committee hearings for the BREATHE Act, a visionary piece of legislation introduce to Congress by The Movement for Black Lives and others to move police funding into investing into in our communities.
This is a critical moment to resist increasing repression and support decolonial activists in your community.
On Indigenous Peoples Day 2020, a monument to Junipero Serra, a notoriously violent mission system leader known for imprisoning and enslaving Indigenous people, was removed from a downtown street in front of Mission San Rafael.
While monuments to racism and violence are being removed across the state, the city of San Rafael is refusing to recognize the harms perpetrated against Indigenous people by Serra and instead has decided to file felony charges against five of the fifty demonstrators. All five facing charges are Indigenous women and Two Spirited people.
#FreeThemAll Phone Zap with SURJ NYC
February 24, 9-10:00am PT
Join SURJ NYC at 9am PT to call, email, and tweet demanding release of the disproportionately Black, brown, and poor people who are incarcerated in ICE detention, prisons, and jails, in unsafe, inhumane conditions and at heightened risk of COVID-19.
AID INFO FOR HOUSTON, TEXAS
The snow storm in the south is literally killing people! Here’s the most recent request we’ve heard about:
La Unidad 11-Houston is an immigrant-led grassroots group and this weekend they are distributing water, food, and money to immigrant families in Houston who are still without water and electricity, and whose homes were damaged by burst pipes.Many of these families haven’t been directly included in other mutual aid efforts in Houston because of language and technology access. Funds raised will be used for direct check/cash payments and for purchasing food and water for La Unidad 11 families.Here is the link to donate: https://donorbox.org/launidad11covidresponse
Please direct money to Mutual Aid Houston GoFundMe –they have also been actively sharing resources on Twitter and IG (@mutualaidhou)
The Parkhill Capital Foundation (@Allergic2Hourly on Twitter) has been coordinating relief efforts on the ground and connecting those in need with shelter and supplies.https://www.gofundme.com/f/mutualaidhou
On January 29, the Rochester police department released bodycam footage of several officers responding to a domestic dispute. The video shows officers violently escalating the crisis—first shoving a nine-year-old girl into the snow, then hand-cuffing her, and most egregiously pepper-spraying her in the face. Disturbingly, this is not a new phenomenon for the Rochester Police Department, which has a pattern of historically anti-Black racism. Last March, Daniel Prude, a Black man experiencing a mental health crisis, was murdered by Rochester PD. Similar to Daniel, this nine-year-old girl was experiencing a mental health crisis and her family’s crisis also called for trauma-informed care, not state-sanctioned violence. Demand justice by calling on Mayor Warren and Rochester PD to fire all officers involved.
California prisons are home to the largest COVID-19 outbreaks out of all state prisons, jails, and ICE detention centers nationwide: over 50% of people in CA prisons have had COVID-19, and 197 have died as a result of CDCR’s medical negligence. The #StopSanQuentinOutbreak coalition—which includes UCSF’s White Coats for Black Lives and our partners at the Ella Baker Center—have launched a petition to emphasize that while vaccine access for incarcerated people is urgent, vaccines alone cannot solve the public health crisis in CA prisons. Join them in calling on the Governor, CDCR, and Public Health officials to grant releases NOW.
It’s not too late to take these actions:
Demand $0 Bail – Essie Justice Group
This November, a statewide coalition of California organizers and voters defeated Prop 25 with a resounding NO. This proposition would have replaced the racist, classist system of cash bail with equally problematic risk assessment algorithms. Our collective statewide NO vote was crucial in stopping that cycle of harm from continuing, but it did not fundamentally address the deeper issue of our need for real pretrial reform in California. Today we are emailing State Senators and State Assembly members to urge them to take action by urging the judicial council to reinstate the $0 emergency bail schedule and making pretrial reform a priority in the next legislative cycle.
This action comes from Essie Justice Group. Learn more about their work here.
Email Your State Senator and/or State Assemblymember about prop 25
Note: Two weeks ago, we asked you to e-mail at least one of your representatives – either Assemblymember or Senator. Today, we are asking you to e-mail the other one. If you contacted both last time – that’s amazing! Please do it again to keep up the pressure.
- Look up your Senator and/or Representative using this tool.
- Once on their webpage, navigate to the “Contact” page. (There’s usually either a “Contact Me” link in the banner or a “Contact Me” button along the right side of the page).
- Fill out the contact form and use the e-mail script below. (Feel free to edit it! If you didn’t vote against Prop 25, no worries – you can still use the script!)
Dear [Senator / Representative] _______,
I voted against Prop 25 because I believe in ending the harmful cycle of cash bail, reducing the power, scope, and funding of law enforcement, and preserving the presumption of innocence. Despite misleading information, California voters saw that Prop 25 and SB10 were not the path to end cash bail, and instead would empower the very systems that drive incarceration. The risk assessment algorithms proposed by Prop 25 were a thinly veiled attempt to hide automated racial profiling. The sweeping power this would have given judges and the probation department was not a trade we were willing to make to end cash bail. Prop 25 was not defeated by those in support of the bail bonds industry; it was defeated by the millions of Californians who understand that our communities deserve real change.
Our resounding NO vote on Prop 25 is a call to action to address the urgent need for pretrial reform. Thousands of incarcerated Californians are in limbo, awaiting transfers that have been suspended due to COVID-19. Meanwhile, COVID is devastating our incarcerated population, with over 26,400 cases recorded to date and 96 deaths. We need pretrial reform, now more than ever, and to reinstate the $0 bail order to alleviate jail overcrowding and reduce the threat of COVID-19 in the jail system. When $0 bail was implemented, LA County was able to reduce its jail population from 17,000 to less than 12,000. Since the judicial council rescinded the order and the SB10 pilot was implemented, LA County’s jail population has exploded to more than 15,000. This is happening all over California with no hope in sight without reform.
You have the opportunity to listen to your constituents and move forward with the pretrial reform California needs to stop the cycles of harm that affect low income and communities of color, who are already disproportionately harmed by of our carceral system. I respectfully call on your support of real pretrial reform in the next legislative cycle and ask that the Judicial Council implement $0 bail immediately.
The BREATHE Act is a 21st-century Federal civil rights bill that will help communities of color not just survive, but thrive. Tell your congressperson to support the BREATHE Act
1-27-21: Make calls to Central California’s Women’s Facility (CCWF)
COVID cases are rising rapidly at Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) with over 200 people testing positive. We are hearing from incarcerated people that conditions are rapidly deteriorating. CDCr staff continue to not wear masks and more and more people are being sent to filthy cells in Covid quarantine where they are unable to communicate with loved ones or report on conditions to the outside world. Further, Covid-positive people who are demanding better conditions are facing additional isolation and punishment. CCWF Action
President Joe Biden signed an Executive Order to shut down Keystone XL, but Line 3 is on the same scale and so is the Dakota Access Pipeline. Not only does Line 3 violate Indigenous rights, the pipelines would be a 10% expansion of the last tar sands pipeline. The bulldozers have arrived to plow through sacred wild rice watersheds, over 800 wetlands, and 200+ bodies of water in Ojibwe treaty territory. Please sign Honor the Earth’s petition calling on Joe Biden to #StopLine3 immediately and invoke a climate test for ALL pipelines.
1-28-21: Protect Water Calls and letters to stop Line 3 pipeline in Minnesota. And donate to the organizations who support water protectors on the ground. Stop Line 3 Action Guide. Learn more at Honor Earth.