The Interrupting the School or Prison Pipeline group is exploring bystander intervention training opportunities that JUUstice Washington might offer to congregations. We are checking various options and there are a couple of training opportunities coming up in February that help this exploration. Bystander intervention training opportunities. One is coming up on February 13th. Some key providers include Cortney Wooten, Seattle 350, Peace Keepers, and Poor People’s Campaign. The first, on February 13, is by a training team out of DC. They describe it as "an interactive, participatory, beginner’s workshop designed for those that may have none to little prior studies of bystander intervention." Payment is on a sliding fee scale. The two times listed are two sections of the same training. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScUlPNGG7coDk5dQPYW-nbntdz08_iEr2Blj4-07g5SOp4N-Q/viewform Edmonds United Methodist Church is offering a related workshop "Stepping into Allyship" workshop will be on February 9 from 6-8 pm. As we seek to create beloved community and dismantle racism, we are intentionally making the workshop free for all participants. The workshop will be led by local equity consultant and organizer, Courtney Wooten, who has collaborated with Edmonds UMC over the last three years. We hope that this offering will bless your communities as we work to together dismantle racism and white supremacy. Registration information is available at Stepping into Allyship (google.com) The presenter also does bystander intervention training. The Interrupting the School or Prison Pipeline (post-Summit) group is exploring potential ways to find and boost existing programs that directly interrupt the school to prison pipeline. Two programs that we are looking into are Speaking Justice and Community Passageways. If you already work with either of these programs or have insights about their work, please let us know by contacting John Hilke at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Interrupting the School or Prison Pipeline (post-Summit) group is monitoring and encouraging your engagement with the following legislative proposals dealing the police reforms and racial justice improvements. We welcome additional assistance in monitoring and insights about these bills. Please contact John Hilke at email@example.com, if you would like to help. HB 1054 (Johnson) banning choke holds etc. HB 1092 (Lovick) database of police use of force HB 1089 (Ramos) compliance with I-940 on independent investigations of police violence HB 1082 (Goodman) reform process of decertification and sanctions for police misconduct HB 1088 (Lovick) standardizing reporting of police misconduct and impeaching office testimony SHB 1044 educational opportunities in prisons HB 1078/SB 5086 restoration of voting rights when persons leave prison HB 1090 ban on private prisons HB 1282/SB 5285 reduced prison terms for participating in educational programs HB 1310 statewide de-escalation standard and limits on use of force SB 5226 end debt-based suspensions of driver licenses HB 1186 youth alternative corrections SB? 5228 Antibias curriculum development SB 5229 continuing education regarding antibias practices
THE POLICE KILLING of Breonna Taylor, who was fatally shot in Kentucky in March when plainclothes officers barged into her apartment in the middle of the night, has set off a series of state and local efforts to ban “no-knock” raids — the police practice of breaking into someone’s home unannounced to execute a search warrant. A bill introduced by New York state legislators on Thursday goes further than most of those efforts, seeking to not only ban the vast majority of no-knock raids, but also strictly limit other avenues for forcible entry by police. The New York bill, co-sponsored by Sens. Brian Benjamin and James Sanders Jr. and Assembly Member Daniel J. O’Donnell, seeks to limit the use of unannounced, no-knock raids to the most severe circumstances, like the pursuit of a murder suspect or incidents involving active shooters, hostage-taking, terrorism, or human trafficking. It would ban the issuance of no-knock warrants aimed exclusively at searching for drugs, currently the most common use of these heavily militarized raids. But unlike other current and draft state and local legislation, as well as three federal proposals, the New York bill would also impose a host of restrictions on what are known as “knock-and-announce” search warrants, a more common type of forcible entry that has led to dozens of deadly encounters in recent years. Read more here.
The Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network is thrilled to share that the Fair Fight Bond Fund is open and accepting applications for people who are detained by immigration in the State of Washington and need support with paying bond.
To request assistance with paying a bond, a request form must be completed. This request form will be reviewed by the Fair Fight Bond Fund steering committee. The steering committee is made up of seven community members, including people who have been directly impacted and have experienced being in immigration detention. All requests for funds will be fully considered on a case-by-case basis and the steering committee will try to pay as many bonds as possible, so long as funds are available. The steering committee will aim to meet on a weekly basis to review applications and give responses as soon as possible.
The steering committee will aim to prioritize individuals who are facing especially difficult situations due to being detained. This includes applicants who are facing physical and/or mental health issues that are aggravated by being detained; applicants who are the primary caretakers to dependents who are facing immediate hardship due to the applicant’s detention; applicants who face serious economic hardship and have no or limited support, options, and resources to pay their bond; applicants who will face negative long-term effects on their immigration status due to being detained; applicants who are members of the LGBTQ community; and applicants who face marginalization based on their language, race, ethnicity, or religion.
Please find the English version of the application at this link: https://bit.ly/
As COVID-19 continues to impact our communities, those most at risk are the members of our community who are in detention. Last week, La Resistencia broke the news that dozens of immigrants at the Northwest Detention Center had been exposed to COVID-19 by a GEO guard. Last month, we heard how in Georgia, immigrants held at a detention center were subject to forced hysterectomies and general medical neglect. These reminders are just two of the many reasons that we know immigration detention centers should be shut down and ICE should be abolished. While we prepare for the long-term fight, we are also doing what we can to free the members of our communities who are in immigration detention. I am pleased to announce that the Fair Fight Bond Fund is gearing up to re-open in the coming weeks to pay the immigration bond funds of community members detained by ICE in Washington State. Next week, we will be participating in Fall Freedom Day---an effort coordinated by the National Bail Fund Network to pay bonds to free hundreds of community members from immigration detention in one day. Last year, the NBFN moved $2.1 million and was able to pay the bonds of nearly 200 people detained by ICE across the country. The Fair Fight Bond Fund will be participating in these efforts this year and hope that with our partners across the country we can release even more of our community members. As we work out some of the final details before we officially resume accepting and reviewing applications to help pay for immigration bonds, we ask that you consider donating to the Fair Fight Bond Fund so that we can have as much money in the fund to start paying bonds. If you have any questions, interest in volunteering with the bond fund, or other comments, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please send questions or requests about paying for bonds for specific cases to email@example.com. In Solidarity,
The views & opinions expressed here are those of the author & do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of JUUstice Washington.
As Seattle grapples with the future of policing and public safety, much of the attention has focused on the Seattle Police Department's budget. But looming in the background is the contract with the city's largest police union, the Seattle Police Officers Guild. In its current iteration, the contract was so concerning to a federal judge, James Robart, that he declared the city was out of compliance with its longstanding agreement to reform the Seattle Police Department. Read more here.
On October 1st, the Harvest Moon will rise shortly after sunset in the Northern Hemisphere. This burst of evening light provides an extended time for farmers to harvest summer crops and plant new seeds for the Fall Season. What and how have you grown this summer --- personally, in connection to your community, and in connection to movement uprisings for justice? Unitarian Universalists are invited to mark this seasonal transition by reflecting on this question in the Harvest moonlight, and setting intentions to Harvest the Power of community this Fall through a sprint of collective action and faith formation weaving together all Unitarian Universalist justice ministries. This is a shared endeavor between UUA, Side with Love, UU the Vote, and UUMFE.
- October 21-27 Week of Action with UU the Vote
- November 4-18 Post-election Virtual Spaces for Community Care & Formation
- November 19-22 Virtual Justice Convergence & Decolonization Teach-In
- November 26 Plymouth Day of Mourning 50th Anniversary Virtual Observance (hosted on Side with Love and UUA FB page)
It would be the first federal execution in 17 years. The last time the U.S. government restarted executions after a long pause — killing Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh in a newly constructed death chamber in 2001 — throngs of protesters and national press overwhelmed the city of 60,000. But this was a significantly smaller event. Some 20 protesters had gathered at the intersection in front of the dealership earlier that day. The street that cuts across Route 41, Springhill Drive, leads straight to the entrance of USP Terre Haute, a sprawling supermax prison across from a Dollar General. The demonstration included a contingent of Catholic nuns, Sisters of Providence, from the nearby Saint Mary-of-the-Woods congregation. They held signs, prompting honks, waves, and the occasional expletive from passing cars. “What about the victims?” one woman yelled. Read more here.
Cancer care poses problems that prison systems are badly positioned to meet. Prisons tend to be distant from urban centers with cancer doctors, and health services afforded most prisoners don’t include regular preventive care. Beyond those practical barriers, inmates, their families and critics describe a cost-obsessed culture pervasive in prison systems that encourages inattention and half-measures. Read more here.
Prisoner accounts laid out in lawsuits, investigations from a new watchdog office and internal department documents obtained by Crosscut point to a pattern of delay that leaves the state’s 18,800 incarcerated men and women unable to access basic health services. Homicides and suicides in prison may draw more focus, but, in Washington as in much of the country, nine out of 10 prisoners who die inside fall to illness. And, though many are lifers, about a third of those who don’t leave prison alive are dead before they turn 55. Read more here.
“So much for the ‘pro-life’ administration,” the Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and author, wrote in a Facebook post. “The taking (of) a life is always immoral. So is the taking (of) a life to punish the taking of another life. This is why the Catechism of the Catholic Church says that the death penalty is ‘inadmissible.’ It is an assault on the dignity of the human person and on human life.” More than 1,000 faith leaders signed a letter unveiled on Tuesday demanding the White House and Attorney General William Barr halt the practice. “As faith leaders from a diverse range of traditions, we call on President Trump and Attorney General Barr to stop the scheduled federal executions,” the statement reads. “As our country grapples with the COVID 19 pandemic, an economic crisis, and systemic racism in the criminal legal system, we should be focused on protecting and preserving life, not carrying out executions.” Read more here.
Reducing the role of policing and the criminal justice system as a whole is not a radical concept and is based on the widely acknowledged idea that the justice system has taken on an outsize role in society.1 For too long, American communities have allowed—and in many ways mandated—that the criminal justice system serve as the de facto response to a broad swath of social issues, from behavioral health crises to substance misuse to school discipline. Police officers are expected to address situations that they are neither trained nor equipped to handle, which can significantly exacerbate harm for civilians. In establishing a commission on law enforcement in January 2020, even Attorney General William Barr acknowledged this point, saying, “[O]ur officers must confront a wave of social problems, such as homelessness, drug addiction, and mental illness – problems that demand solutions beyond their authority and expertise.”2Read more here.
A BAIL REFORM TOOL INTENDED TO CURB MASS INCARCERATION HAS ONLY REPLICATED BIASES IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
In 2011, as part of a criminal justice reform package meant to reduce incarceration and its related expenditures, Kentucky became among the first states to require judges to use a risk assessment as part of their pretrial decisions. Similar risk assessments have since proliferated across the country in recent years, as jurisdictions that have decided cash bail is unjust — and potentially unconstitutional — have had to grapple with the circumstances in which to detain people who are too poor to come up with the money. Risk assessments can give the veneer of a more scientific approach than a judge’s discretion, while dampening critics who argue that getting rid of cash bail allows dangerous people to be released. A large amount of past court data is run through a system that determines what factors appear to correlate with higher rates of rearrest or failure to appear for later court dates. Each jurisdiction decides what factors to weigh more heavily, and the algorithm creates a matrix to determine whether someone is low risk, moderate risk, or high risk. Jurisdictions then decide how the scores get used; in most places, they are given to a judge to consider when deciding whether and how to release someone. Read more here.
Many lawmakers said the need to reform policing is so dire that it will be a leading topic if the Legislature meets in an emergency session this year to address the state budget. Even if no special session is held in the coming months, police reform will remain at the top of legislators’ agenda when they convene for their scheduled 105-day session in January, key lawmakers said. “This is just one aspect of the question of race in our society — but it is the most acute and the most high-stakes issue, because it really is about life and death,” said state Rep. Roger Goodman, D-Kirkland, who chairs the House Public Safety Committee, which deals with law enforcement. Read more here.
Creative Justice - A Program for youth most impacted by the school-to-prison-(to-deportation) pipeline.
CREATIVE JUSTICE USES ART AS A VEHICLE TO:
Prepare young people to be leaders in community and the workplace;
Amplify youth voice as a source of community transformation;
Promote teamwork, collaboration, and community engagement;
Help lift up the power of young people of color, youth from low-income families, and LGBTQA youth;
Increase youth and community understanding of the histories and conditions that create racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism and other forms of oppression;
and Enhance skills that help young people reflect on their social position, choices, and personal power so they can stay out of jail.