Ain’t I a Mother, Too?

A mother without housing is a mother without her child.

Ain’t I A Mother, Too?
May 10th 6-8 pm
Oakland Asian Cultural Center
388 9th St, Oakland, CA 94607 

Register for this Free Event HERE!


Are you outraged by family separation at our Southern border?

Are you aware that family separation is happening right here in the Bay Area?

Did you know that lack of housing is often the greatest barrier to a mother’s reunification with her child(ren)?

We are asking for the tech industry’s help!

The tech industry has been blamed in large part for the rent increases and displacement of people seen recently in the Bay Area. While we cannot minimize the wonderful contributions that technology has given us in the advancement of our healthcare, science, and educational systems, we know that modernizing and upgrading efficiencies have not served to help everyone, as they should.

While many applaud and appreciate the innovations of modern society, we know that our society has failed to keep up with adequate housing supply to meet the needs of the people. This is why our coalition is looking to change the narrative and engage with this promising sector to innovate, not eliminate, the most precious relationship on earth – that between a mother and her children. The first step to protecting this relationship is housing.

Unbeknownst to many members of the public, women who have children in the child welfare system are losing their parental rights for lifebecause in the Bay Area housing is becoming more of a luxury than a basic human right. Meanwhile, our court system requires that mothers find and sustain housing before they can reunify with their children. Due in large part to this requirement, there are over 28,000 children currently waiting for reunification with their mothers. Leaving those children to wait is certainly a cruel jest as it is no secret that the housing their parents are required to obtain does not exist. The extreme shortage of “low income” housing is well documented with the latest data revealing that there are only 34 units for every 100 persons in need. This is cruel and unusual punishment.

Technology and data analysis systems are helping us to center the voices of the marginalized, build community power, and connect in ways we’ve never seen before. We owe this progress to the technological advances and tools made for everyday people, used creatively by organizers and advocates. It is our hope that technology can help us to overcome this issue of family separation, and be harnessed to keeping families together instead of facilitating their separation.

We are building an interdisciplinary team of innovators from various fields including law, technology, social work, community organizing, urban development, and education. This team will reimagine our housing deficit and the various social services that rely on this system to develop local and state advocacy efforts. Please join us for this thought-provoking conversation and to be a part of the solution! We encourage you to attend our “Ain’t I A Mother Too!” symposium being held on May 10th from 6-8pm at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center.  If you are interested, please RSVP by May 1st with Sonja Tonnesen at stonnesen@rootandrebound.org.

Press Release: FUNDING THE FIGHT AGAINST MASS INCARCERATION

CJI Quest for Democracy Fund to Grant additional $400K

Media contact: Aleah Bacquie Vaughn
Email: aleahb@cjifund.org
Phone: 646-599-6354

BROOKLYN, NY – Circle for Justice Innovations (CJI) is pleased to announce that in partnership with the Formerly Incarcerated and Convicted Prisoners and Families Movement (FICPFM) it will award $440,000 through the Quest for Democracy Fund (Q4D) to support non-profit organizations led by formerly incarcerated people. Funding priorities include:

  • Restoration of Rights for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people
  • Felon Re-enfranchisement/Voting Rights Restoration, and Civic Engagement
  • Law Enforcement Accountability (police, prosecutors, and judges)
  • Bail Reform and Systems Supervision

“We are so inspired and honored to be able to support grassroots organizations all over the country that work to transform the criminal legal system. This growing movement draws on the innovation, passion, devotion, and resilience of millions who have experienced the living hell that is the U.S. prison system. Together, we are challenging this criminal and criminalizing legal system to support viable, restorative justice alternatives to incarceration. Instead, we need to enhance opportunities for forgiveness, restoration, accountability and safety, which we all deserve.” – Aleah Bacquie Vaughn, CJI’s Executive Director.

“I am extremely proud to be a small part of supporting additional freedom fighters. When we gathered in Florida right before the election we stated that we would be setting up a Quest for Democracy Fund and share the resources with formerly incarcerated people and their families. We pushed out almost $500,000. We did this because we wanted others to help continue the fight for the full restoration of our civil and human rights. I also wanted to thank the funders that believed in our vision and our integrity.” – Dorsey Nunn, founding leader of All of Us or None, Executive Director of Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, FICPFM Steering Committee Member, and Quest for Democracy Grant-making Circle member.

Three members of the Q4D Circle are leaders of organizations that were CJI grantees in their early years. “CJI is honored to have played a role in helping to provide resources to the movement and these exceptional leaders,” said Aleah Bacquie Vaughn.

The Q4D grantees will be given an opportunity for intensive, technical assistance and training by FICPFM organizing veterans. This training will equip the Q4D grantees to be more effective and impactful in their work changing policies and laws that deny the human rights of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people.

About Circle for Justice Innovations (CJI) – a project fiscally sponsored by NEO Philanthropy

Circle for Justice Innovations (CJI) is a national innovative grant-making collaborative made up of community organizers, activists, donors, and donor-activists. The CJI Circle identifies, funds, and nurtures grassroots organizations led by those most impacted working to transform the criminal justice system in the United States. CJI has invested over $2 million in grants since 2009. It serves as a leader in the funding of movement work within marginalized communities which includes: people of color, young people, immigrants, gender and sexual minorities, incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people, Native Americans, low-income communities and other communities impacted by the criminal justice and immigration systems. For more information, visit www.cjifund.org

About The Formerly Incarcerated & Convicted People and Families Movement (FICPFM)

The Formerly Incarcerated & Convicted People and Families Movement (FICPFM) is a network of over 50 civil and human rights organizations led by people who have conviction histories and their family members. Committed to transforming society by transforming the criminal justice system, they advocate legislatively, judicially and through direct community organizing. Working collaboratively and using multiple approaches, they have been deeply successful in securing alternatives to criminalization, restoring the rights of those previously criminalized by the system, and shifting the dominant narrative on who people with conviction histories and their loved ones are. The vision is, ultimately, a society in which prisons do not exist. For more information, visit www.ficpfmmovement.org

Circle for Justice Innovations (CJI)

CJI’s mission is to end Mass Criminalization and Incarceration in the United States by building and strengthening the infrastructure of the grassroots criminal justice movement. We fund where the movement is developing, shifting and growing. We believe this movement should be led by those most impacted by the injustices of the current system, working in alliances across race, class, faith, gender, gender identity, sexuality, immigration status and age.
CJI Fund is a program of NEO Philanthropy Inc.

Art for Justice Announces Partnership with Acclaimed Los Angeles-Based Artist Mark Bradford

For Immediate Release
January 24, 2019

Spitfire for Art for Justice
Aketa Marie Williams
aketa@spitfirestrategies.com | +1 615 509 3891

Sutton for Mark Bradford
Rachel Rees
Rachel.rees@suttonpr.com | +1 646 425 2268

Emily Alli
Emily@suttonpr.com  +1 206 718 4202

Los Angeles, CA – For the inaugural edition of Frieze Los Angeles, Mark Bradford has created an image of a police body camera isolated on a light-colored background. Entitled Life Size, this significant work comprises the powerful camera image presented on posters around the city, a large-scale billboard on location at Paramount Pictures Studios, as well as a limited-edition print series of the image, rendered into a 3-D sculptural work that is elevated from the print’s surface.

“I’m always interested in found objects and how context can give meaning,” said Bradford. “The police body camera carries with it such loaded and complex connotations.  I also love it as an object—it’s both haunting and resonant.”

At the artist’s behest, proceeds from sales of his limited-edition print series will go directly to the Art for Justice Fund, to be invested in campaigns to support greater career opportunities for people who are transitioning back home from prison. Bradford is the first artist since the Fund’s establishment to directly support Art for Justice with proceeds from the sale of their own artwork.

“I admire Mark as both an artist and a humanitarian. His work helps us confront our own biases by exposing the false narratives around race and poverty. In doing this, he enables us to see one another with more compassion and empathy,” said Fund founder Agnes Gund. “I’m honored by his gift, which will accelerate our artists and advocates’ efforts to create communities that welcome people back home to fewer barriers and to more employment opportunities.”  

Art for Justice takes a holistic approach to confronting the primary drivers of high prison population, in part, by eliminating the thousands of legal barriers to employment that often confront people with a criminal record and boosting investments in reentry policies that recognize the importance of higher education in prison. Bradford’s donation will support organizations including the Bard Prison Initiative, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, The Opportunity Institute, and the Vera Institute of Justice in addition to fellowships for artists whose work speaks to the devastating consequences of mass incarceration and the web of legal obstacles that entangle people post incarceration.  

In 2019, a police body camera has clear evocations around responsibility and notions of freedom across the United States, and specifically in Los Angeles, as one of the most culturally- and racially-diverse cities in the nation, which has its own charged history with these themes. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Bradford’s interest in our shared human experiences is a theme that runs throughout his diverse studio practice.

Life Size, contextualized by this collaboration with Frieze Los Angeles and Art for Justice, reflects the artist’s longstanding interest in how communities—particularly those which have been traditionally marginalized—address issues of social and economic justice, as well as his belief in art’s ability to expose contradictory histories and inspire action in the present day. Bradford is deeply engaged with social issues as co-founder of Los Angeles-based nonprofit Art + Practice, which encourages cultural education by supporting the needs of foster youth living predominantly in South Los Angeles, and providing access to free, museum-curated art exhibitions and moderated art lectures to the community of Leimert Park. The artist’s equivalent commitments to formal intervention and social activism anchor his contribution to culture at large and embody his belief in the power of art to affect positive change.  

Life Size is made possible thanks to a collaboration between the artist, Frieze Los Angeles, Endeavor and Hauser & Wirth.

About Art for Justice

The Art for Justice Fund is a five-year initiative created by Agnes Gund in partnership with Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and the Ford Foundation. The Fund is dedicated to combating the injustices of mass incarceration through the collective action of artists, advocates and philanthropists.

About Mark Bradford

Mark Bradford was born in 1961 in Los Angeles, where he lives and works. Bradford’s profound insight and inventiveness have established him as one of the most significant and influential artists of his generation, and he has been widely exhibited internationally as well as the recipient of numerous awards including the U.S. Department of State’s Medal of Arts in 2014, his appointment as a National Academician in 2013, and a MacArthur Fellowship Award in 2009. In 2017, Bradford represented the US at the 57th Venice Biennale with Tomorrow Is Another Day, and in November that same year, Bradford unveiled Pickett’s Charge, a monumental, site-specific installation for the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC. In 2018, Bradford was commissioned to create a site-specific work for the new US Embassy in London. Entitled We The People, the work comprises 32 panels, each 10 square feet, featuring select text from the United States Constitution.

Best known for his large-scale abstract paintings that examine the class-, race-, and gender-based economies that structure urban society in the United States, Bradford’s richly layered and collaged canvases represent a connection to the social world through materials. Bradford uses fragments of found posters, billboards, newsprint, and custom-printed paper to simultaneously engage with and advance the formal traditions of abstract painting. 

About Frieze Los AngelesFrieze, one of the world’s most influential contemporary art fairs, will launch Frieze Los Angeles at Paramount Pictures Studios this February 14–17, 2019. The fair will bring together 70 of the most significant and forward-thinking contemporary galleries from across the city and around the world, alongside a curated program of talks, site-specific artists’ projects and film.

Free the Vote Campaign Launches In California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 28, 2019
Contact:
Nicholas Reiner, Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC)
(562) 243-0656
nreiner@arc-ca.org

California State Asm. McCarty introduces ACA 6 that would create a 2020 ballot measure to restore the right to vote for Californians on parole

Sacramento, CA – Today the Free the Vote Coalition launched its multi-year campaign to end voter suppression for Californians with criminal records. California Assemblymembers Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D-Los Angeles), Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), and Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) introduced ACA 6, a constitutional amendment which begins the process of restoring the right to vote for Californians on parole. The legislation will create a 2020 ballot measure, giving California voters the opportunity to re-enfranchise their neighbors with convictions.

“It is time to restore the right to vote for individuals who have served their time,” said Asm. McCarty. “ACA 6 will eliminate an arbitrary barrier to voting, reduce recidivism, and give formerly incarcerated people an opportunity to demonstrate their ability to become productive, contributing members of our society.”

ACA 6, co-sponsored also by California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, would be the next step in addressing the history of racial oppression behind California’s felony disenfranchisement laws. Today marks the 149th anniversary of California’s rejection of the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits voting restrictions based on race.

“The removal of the right to vote is not based in an interest in public safety,” said Taina Vargas-Edmond, Executive Director of Initiate Justice. “Rather, it is rooted in a punitive justice belief system that robs Californians of color of their political power. Three of every four people leaving California prisons are either African American, Latino, or Asian American.”

4.6 million people nationwide are ineligible to vote because of a felony conviction. Currently, nearly 50,000 people on parole throughout California—working, paying taxes, raising families in their communities—are unable to vote in any local, state, or federal elections. California is currently behind fourteen other states and Washington, D.C, which either automatically restore voting rights upon release from prison or have no felony disenfranchisement whatsoever. National momentum is growing to restore voting rights to people with convictions. Governors in New York and Virginia recently used executive power to re-enfranchise certain people who had finished their sentences. Last year, both Florida and Louisiana rolled back their bans on voting for formerly incarcerated people and New Mexico is introducing similar legislation this year.

“Felony disenfranchisement was written into the California Constitution during its inception in 1849,” said Brittany Stonesifer, Voting Rights Attorney at the ACLU of California. “Though the state now allows people to vote if they are in county jail, on probation, or on Post-Release Community Supervision, Californians on parole are still unfairly disenfranchised by our constitution.”

Because the disenfranchisement of Californians on parole is inscribed in the state’s constitution, the restoration of voting rights to otherwise-eligible adults results only from a proposed amendment to the California Constitution. As a potential constitutional amendment, ACA 6 needs a ⅔ majority in both state houses to pass. The introduction of ACA 6 is the first step toward ensuring that Californians on parole can fully participate in our shared democracy and moves us closer to a reality in which all Californians have the right to vote.

“One of the fundamental rights of American citizenship is the right to vote,” said Shaka Senghor, Executive Director of the Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC). “Giving people who are returning home from prison access to civic participation ensures their successful reintegration and makes our democracy stronger.”

About the Free the Vote Coalition

Free the Vote Coalition is made up of ten organizations whose goal is to restore the right to vote for all people impacted by the criminal justice system. In 2019, Free the Vote will advocate for an ACA that will implement a 2020 ballot measure to restore the right to vote for Californians on parole. The partners in sponsoring this bill are Initiate Justice, ACLU of California, All of Us or None / Legal Services for Prisoners with Children (LSPC), Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC), Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB), League of Women Voters of California, People Over Profits San Diego, Vote Allies, and White People for Black Lives (WP4BL). California Secretary of State Alex Padilla is also a co-sponsor of ACA 6.

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Restore Our Rights!

Join us January 17, 2019!

Panel Discussion & Strategy Session

When: 7-9 P.M. • January 17, 2019
Where: Booth Auditorium, U.C. Berkeley School of Law
               2745 Bancroft Ave, Berkeley, CA 94720
               *No food or drink allowed in the Auditorium. Thank you!

Join us for a discussion and strategy session—building on recent victories in Florida and Louisiana—on felony disenfranchisement, jury service, running for political office, and other rights we need restored in California.
 
Speakers include:
 
Desmond MeadeFlorida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC)—spearheaded the campaign to pass Amendment 4 that will restore the rights of 1.4 million Floridians with felony convictions on January 8, 2019. 
 
Norris HendersonVoice of the Experienced—New Orleans (VOTE-NOLA)—campaigned to successfully pass Amendment 2, requiring Louisiana juries to have unanimous verdicts. Currently, Oregon is the only state in the U.S. with Jim Crow non-unanimous jury verdicts.
 
Taina Vargas-EdmondInitiate Justice—campaigning to restore voting rights for all Californians, regardless of conviction or incarceration status.
 
Dauras CyprianAll of Us or None—leading AOUON’s “Let Me Vote” campaign, currently on parole and thus ineligible to vote.
 
The discussion will be moderated by Aminah Elster—after spending over 15 years incarcerated in California prisons, Aminah is currently on parole and thus ineligible to vote. Aminah is the 2018 Elder Freeman Policy Fellow and a current student at UC Berkeley.

For more information, contact AOUON Senior Organizer
Dauras Cyprian:
daurus@prisonerswithchildren.org  / 415.625.7051


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LSPC 40th / AOUON 15th Anniversary Gala!

Click here for tickets & sponsorship opportunities!

Join us Tuesday, October 3 at the Scottish Rite Center in Oakland, CA.

6 P.M. – Drinks & Appetizers
7:15 P.M. – A Conversation with Michelle Alexander, Marc Lamont Hill, & Vonya Quarles

Click here for tickets, sponsorship, & program ad opportunities!

For more information, contact Azadeh Zohrabi at azadeh@prisonerswithchildren.org

SENATE FLOOR ALERT – Fair Chance Occupational License Bills Head for Floor Vote!

AB 2138 (Chiu and Low) and AB 2293 (Reyes): Fair Chance Licensing Bill Package

California has one of the largest prison, parole, and probation populations in the United States where 8 million people have been impacted by the justice system through prior convictions. Access to family sustaining employment is critical to ensuring stability and success for the many women and men coming home, yet far too many people face enormous and unnecessary barriers, including being denied licensure in many occupations despite previous work experience, qualifications, rehabilitation, and successful completion of workforce training. 

AB 2138 and AB 2293 remove barriers to occupational licensing for many Californians who have already paid their debt to society and have demonstrated rehabilitation. These bills focus on reforming the overly restrictive licensing policies of the Department of Consumer Affairs-DCA (AB 2138), and gathering relevant data to evaluate the licensing policies of the Emergency Medical Services Authority-EMSA (AB 2293) that allow for the denial, revocation, and/or suspension of licenses because of prior arrests and convictions. Even those who gained job-specific training while incarcerated are still barred from working in their occupational field. This includes serving as a fire fighter while incarcerated, yet being denied an emergency medical technician (EMT) license upon release.

This bill package improves access to licensure by doing the following:

  • Prohibits DCA, from denying or revoking a license for the following reasons: a non-serious conviction older than seven years, a dismissed conviction, or a non-conviction act that is not directly related to the qualifications or duties of the profession for which the application is made.
  • Prohibits boards from requiring applicants to self-disclose criminal history information.
  • Requires boards to collect and publish demographic data about the applicants who are denied a license or whose license has been revoked or suspended based on criminal history.

By improving access to good jobs and careers, and ensuring all Californians have the opportunity to contribute and thrive, we can reduce recidivism, promote community safety, and secure a future of shared prosperity.

Call your CA State Senator [find yours here] and say, “We strongly urge your ‘AYE’ vote on AB 2138 and AB 2293!”

BLOCK PARTY! Freedom & Movement Center Grand Opening!

Join us Saturday, September 1 to celebrate our new home & the grand opening of the Freedom & Movement Center in North Oakland!

Free food! Bike Giveaway! Raffle prizes!

We’re so excited to have a new home of our own, and to open up the Freedom & Movement Center—a community center to train and organize formerly incarcerated & convicted people, family members, & allies.

Hope to see you Sept. 1!

For more info, contact AOUON Lead Organizer Dauras Cyprian: dauras@prisonerswithchildren.org / 916.513.8364