[Ppnews] Cali - Marches, Rallies to end Mass Incarceration and Drug War

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue Jun 14 18:38:05 EDT 2011


For Immediate Release—June 14th, 2011

GROUPS MARCH AND RALLY ACROSS THE STATE TO END 
MASS INCARCERATION AND 40 YEAR WAR ON DRUGS

Contact: Emily Harris
Statewide Coordinator, Californians United for a Responsible Budget
Cell: <tel:510-435-1176>510-435-1176

San Francisco: June 17th, 12:00pm press 
conference at San Francisco’s City Hall, followed 
by a march featuring music from the Brass 
Liberation Orchestra, large puppets and other 
art, as well as a community speak out

Fresno:  June 17th, 11:00am rally at the State Building

Bakersfield: June 17th, 4:00pm rally at the Courthouse at Chester and Parkston

Madera, June 17th, 5:00pm rally at 200 Ford St. across from Courthouse

Visalia, June 18th, 2:00pm rally at Mooney and Caldwell

Los Angeles: June 18th, 1pm at the Chuco’s 
Justice Center, featuring two panels of community 
leaders, a press conference at 4pm, live music and a candlelight vigil.


California - Beginning on Friday June 17th, the 
40th anniversary of the “war on drugs,” hundreds 
will come together to hold “Communities Rising” 
actions and rallies in communities across 
California. Over 40 organizations working with 
the Californians United for a Responsible Budget, 
or “CURB,” alliance will send a strong message 
from different parts of the state to Governor 
Brown and the state legislature, calling for the 
State to take active steps to end its 
participation in the 40-year-old “war on drugs”, 
and to prioritize vital social services over prison spending.

“Spending on prisons has grown from five percent 
to ten percent of our General Fund spending, 
doubling in the past decade,” said Lisa Marie 
Alatorre of Critical Resistance, a CURB member 
organization. “Locking up too many people for too 
long does not contribute to public safety and is 
draining essential resources from education and 
health care – programs that make a real 
difference to Californians.”  California remains billions of dollars in debt.

In response to the Supreme Court’s decision to 
uphold a lower court rulings in Brown v. Plata, 
California has been ordered to reduce its 
lethally crowded prison system in the next two 
years. The Governor’s plan is to shift tens of 
thousands of prisoners to county jails, building 
tens of thousands more jail cells and thousands 
more high-security prison cells.  “It looks like 
Governor Brown wants to do nothing but repeat the 
mistakes of the last 30 years,” said Debbie Reyes 
of California Prison Moratorium Project, another 
CURB member organization. “We built 23 massive 
prisons and that didn’t solve overcrowding. Now 
he wants to extend that failed effort by 
expanding county jail systems. Like the Supreme 
Court said, you can’t build your way out of this problem.”

Organizations and residents across the state are 
frustrated by the impacts of the State’s economic 
and social priorities.  “For years we’ve been 
cutting back on state programs that save lives 
and build decent futures for the next 
generation,” said Amanda Vela of Madera Citizens 
for Better Community and Schools, “Now Gov. Brown 
is asking voters to raise state revenues to pay 
for more jail cells? We have to stop the cuts and 
re-channel funds away from prisons and jails and 
back into programs that make a difference for us and our kids.”

The various rallies, marches, speak-outs, and 
other actions across the state fall on the forty 
year anniversary of President Richard Nixon’s 
declaration of a “war on drugs”, a policy that 
many experts have shown to wreak havoc in low 
income communities and communities of color. “The 
Plata decision is a real opportunity for our 
state to reverse decades of racist 
‘tough-on-crime’ policies,” says Rodrigo “Froggy” 
Vasquez of Students for Sensible Drug Policy. “We 
are tired of being politically ignored. We need 
leadership in Sacramento with the guts to get 
smart, end the war on drugs, and decriminalize drug possession.”

Texas, New York, and Michigan, among other states 
have successfully reduced their prison budgets 
and populations while increasing public safety. 
CURB argues California could do the same by 
implementing parole and sentencing reforms such 
as amending or repealing three strikes laws.

Communities Rising Actions include:
    * San Francisco: June 17th, 12:00pm press 
conference at San Francisco’s City Hall, followed 
by a march featuring music from the Brass 
Liberation Orchestra, large puppets and other 
art, as well as a community speak out
    * Fresno:  June 17th, 11:00am rally at the State Building
    * Bakersfield: June 17th, 4:00pm rally at the 
Courthouse at Chester and Parkston
    * Madera, June 17th, 5:00pm rally at 200 Ford St. across from Courthouse
    * Visalia, June 18th, 2:00pm rally at Mooney and Caldwell
    * Los Angeles: June 18th, 1pm at the Chuco’s 
Justice Center, featuring two panels of community 
leaders, a press conference at 4pm, live music and a candlelight vigil.


Sponsoring organizations across the State 
include: A New Path - LA, A New Way of Life, All 
of Us or None, American Civil Liberties Union of 
Northern California, American Civil Liberties 
Union of Southern California, American Friends 
Service Committee, Berkeley Needle Exchange 
Emergency Distribution, Blacksmith Records Inc., 
California Coalition for Women Prisoners, 
California Partnership, California Prison 
Moratorium Project, Californians United for a 
Responsible Budget, Center for Non-Violence, 
Community Justice Network for Youth, Cop Watch - 
LA, Critical Resistance, Dolores Huerta 
Foundation, Drug Policy Alliance, Enlace, 
Families to Amend California’s Three Strikes, 
Fresno Brown Berets, Harm Reduction Coalition, 
Hip Hop Not Bombs, Homies Unidos, Justice by 
Uniting Creative Energy, Justice Now, Law 
Enforcement Against Prohibition, Leadership 
through Empowerment Action and Dialogue, Legal 
Services for Prisoners with Children, Madera 
Citizens for Better Community and Schools, 
October 22nd Coalition - LA, Oasis Clinic, Pico 
Youth and Family Center, SF Drug Users Union, 
Students for Sensible Drug Policy, TGI-Justice 
Project, These Cuts Wont’ Heal, United for Drug 
Policy Reform and Youth Justice Coalition.

More information about actions, prisons, the 
budget crisis and realignment can be found at: 
<http://www.curbprisonspending.org/>www.curbprisonspending.org



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