A Testament to the Deep Fragmentation

Written for Viewpoint Magazine, October 2014

Sin Bar­ras is a prison abo­li­tion group based in Santa Cruz, Cal­i­for­nia. We are not a reg­is­tered non-profit, receive no gov­ern­ment or foun­da­tion fund­ing, and are unstaffed. We say this imme­di­ately because we are orga­niz­ing in a moment of neolib­eral non-profits and con­stant co-optation, so “grass­roots” does not get the point across.

We are cel­e­brat­ing a recent vic­tory that has improved med­ical con­di­tions and treat­ment inside the Santa Cruz County Main Jail. Our cel­e­bra­tion is not an end­point, but a moment of re-invigorated energy, which we are using to reflect on our strate­gies and learn our next steps. We are try­ing to hold sys­tems of incred­i­ble vio­lence account­able and at the same time are work­ing to ren­der them obso­lete. But one clear take­away is that a mil­i­tant and community-oriented direct action led to a year-long grand jury inves­ti­ga­tion of the inhu­mane con­di­tions in our local jail. Of course the work con­tin­ues, because we know deeply that the jail itself is inhumane.

Our orga­ni­za­tion began with four or five uni­ver­sity stu­dents excited about the project of prison abo­li­tion. We had all expe­ri­enced the dehu­man­iz­ing process of being arrested and/or had fam­ily mem­bers incar­cer­ated, and though we were stu­dents, made a com­mit­ment to root our movement-building in the broader Santa Cruz com­mu­nity. Slowly but surely we have grown into a fierce net­work that actively ampli­fies the knowl­edge and orga­niz­ing capac­ity of peo­ple who have been most directly impacted by police and prison vio­lence, white supremacy, and the poverty cre­ated by capitalism.

Sin Bar­ras pro­motes community-based inter­ven­tions that con­front inter­per­sonal harm with­out rely­ing on the police. We fight for pris­oner rights and sup­port pris­on­ers’ strug­gles through art, direct action, and legal strate­gies that tackle “non-reformist reforms,” reforms that do not par­tic­i­pate in crim­i­nal­iza­tion or com­pro­mise. It takes a vari­ety of tac­tics to make vis­i­ble the lived real­i­ties and resiliency of peo­ple who have been caged and ren­dered dis­pos­able by the state. It is no coin­ci­dence that while Cal­i­for­nia has built 24 new pris­ons in the last 30 years, most for­merly incar­cer­ated peo­ple and their loved ones have been coer­cively con­di­tioned into less vocal and direct forms of resis­tance. This is done by the police, our cur­rent edu­ca­tion sys­tem, the courts, and the pris­ons. Because of this real­ity, it is cru­cial that those most impacted by the sys­tems we are fight­ing are at the fore­front and cen­ter of our move­ments, work­ing to sus­tain a statewide coali­tion of anti-prison orga­ni­za­tions. This lead­er­ship model is cru­cial to com­bat the story lib­eral social move­ments so often mobi­lize, paint­ing vic­tims of oppres­sion so they match national norms about what “deserv­ing cit­i­zens” are like. These con­stituents are por­trayed as “non-criminals,” with doc­u­men­ta­tion, con­form­ing to white, cap­i­tal­ist, and patri­ar­chal norms. When these strate­gies are used, the most dan­ger­ous con­di­tions and the peo­ple who are cur­rently most vul­ner­a­ble can­not be dis­cussed or addressed and are cast as “undeserving.”

While we main­tain and develop our own analy­sis of an abo­li­tion­ist future, we have learned that work­ing together across our geo­gra­phies and polit­i­cal nuances is effec­tive. We orga­nize with Cal­i­for­ni­ans United for a Respon­si­ble Bud­get (CURB), a statewide coali­tion of over 60 orga­ni­za­tions that seeks to “curb prison spend­ing by reduc­ing the num­ber of peo­ple in prison and the num­ber of pris­ons in the state.” Dur­ing our for­ma­tion as an abo­li­tion­ist orga­ni­za­tion, we were skep­ti­cal about join­ing a group with non-profits. But we have con­sis­tently found that there is ongo­ing and pow­er­ful work being done to decarcer­ate that does not declare itself “abo­li­tion­ist.” Work­ing with an incred­i­bly diverse group of (some­times unex­pected) allies has been cen­tral in build­ing a uni­fied and trans­for­ma­tive move­ment against mass incarceration.

Ear­lier this year, we killed $4 bil­lion of jail expan­sion money. And yet the num­ber of those incar­cer­ated in the state of Cal­i­for­nia climbed higher. As we cel­e­brate vic­to­ries secured by a diverse and broad coali­tion, a unit that was unbowed in attempts to divide us over half-measures and empty promises, we also want to rec­og­nize the work we still need to do. Activist and aca­d­e­mic Ruthie Gilmore has recently argued “the fact that prison num­bers rose in 2013 is a tes­ta­ment to the deep frag­men­ta­tion of social jus­tice work in the USA.” Why is it that imme­di­ate strug­gles against crim­i­nal­iza­tion are so often divorced from fights against depor­ta­tions or from rebel­lions like those ongo­ing in Fer­gu­son, Missouri?

In this November’s elec­tion Cal­i­for­nia will con­sider Propo­si­tion 47, which decarcer­ates some inmates while accel­er­at­ing more fund­ing to cage “dan­ger­ous” offend­ers, tak­ing away the pos­si­bil­ity of parole for many. We know that state strat­egy has been to frag­ment our move­ment by offer­ing “poten­tial” vic­to­ries at the cost of leav­ing the most mar­gin­al­ized and the most rad­i­cal behind. We need to find a pro­gram – a tar­get and plan for polit­i­cal devel­op­ment, from which we can con­nect our move­ments in a seri­ous and ongo­ing way.

Tash Nguyen and Court­ney Han­son, Sin Barras

Ni Una Muerte Más, Justice For Frank Alvarado Jr. & All Killed By Salinas Police Department

Statement read at Salinas demonstration August 17th, 2014

Sin Barras (Spanish for “Without Prison Bars”) is a Santa Cruz grassroots organization to abolish prisons and support prisoners’ rights and struggles, part of Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB).

Frank Alvarado Jr., murdered by the Salinas Police Department on July 10, was a member of Sin Barras. We met him in April in Watsonville, at the annual Walk to Stop the Silence against childhood sexual abuse. He signed a petition to stop jail and prison expansion and a letter to stop retaliation against CA Prisoner Hunger Strikers who are fighting the torture of long-term solitary confinement and for better conditions. He talked about having been locked up for eleven years and getting out and working to heal from prison trauma. The next week he joined us, spoke openly about his experiences inside and outside of prison, and worked for healing, resources, and rights for Formerly Incarcerated Persons. He took great joy in encouraging and helping everyone he met.

On May 14, Sin Barras and CURB sponsored an event at the Santa Cruz courthouse to protest the governor’s latest budget, which added $500 million to build new county jails. Frank held a sign saying “Invest in Protecting and Healing, NOT in Caging.” He spoke out powerfully against building more prisons that create violence and break up families. He said: “I made it through 11 years of hell…when I came out, I came out to …[no]…schools…parks…treatment… nothing. You want to take everything back and you want to build more prisons…” A UCSC City On a Hill Press report quoted Frank: “Now that I’m released, I don’t have anything to go to —…I would love to see the funding go back into anything that has something to do with re-entry from federal prison, state prison or county jail and back into the world.”

Frank spoke about his great love for his son, saying: “But he’s no longer my son…I lost him when I was in prison” and about taking care of his grandfather diagnosed with terminal cancer. He said, “I’m finally gonna be able to be around my family that loves me.” He continued, “…I won’t let go of the love I have for myself now, because I can finally respect myself. …I made it through so much in life and I’m gonna keep making it, because…I deserve it.” Watch the video here of Frank speaking at a rally two months before he was killed by Salinas police, and videos of his sister and niece speaking out after his murder. Check out media coverage of his work on behalf of current and former prisoners, such as the Monterey Weekly story on ID cards to help parolees reintegrate into society.

Frank had an incredible life as a grassroots community activist ahead of him. August 1st, 2014 would have been his 40th birthday. He deserved a world without racist mass incarceration, and to come out of prison with resources, treatment, mental health services, and civil and federal rights. He deserved living wages to care for his grandfather, decent housing, education, and quality of life. Now Frank and all the others deserve justice for their brutal murders by SPD. He was the fourth unarmed Latino man killed by SPD since March 20: March 20, Angel Ruiz, age 42; May 9 Osman Hernandez, 26; May 20, Carlos Mejia, 44; July 10, Frank Alvarado, Jr., 39. We demand Salinas PD release the names of the cops [update: names were released September 30, 2014, and all murderers were white officers: Officers Sergeant Mark Lazzarini, Daniel DeBorde, and William Yetter killed Angel Ruiz; Sergeant George Lauricella and Officer Derek Gibson killed Osman Hernandez; Sergeant Danny Warner and Officer Josh Lynd killed Carlos Mejia-Gomez; Sergeant Brian Johnson and Officer Scott Sutton killed Frank Miguel Alvarado.] We demand they be held accountable and support the families’ call to investigate anti-Latino discrimination and violation of federal rights, and to file federal civil rights lawsuit(s). Salinas Police Chief Kelly McMillin denies police racism, but how else do you explain that Salinas’ population is 76 percent Latino, but 100% of those murdered by Salinas police were Latino? We demand his resignation. We need a mass peoples’ movement to get real justice.

James Baldwin wrote: “…the only way to police a ghetto is to be oppressive… Their very presence is an insult, and it would be, even if they spent their entire day feeding gumdrops to children. They represent the force of the white world, and that world’s real intentions are, simply, for that world’s criminal profit and ease…” The police are militarized to protect the property and profits of the rich and white power structures. In East Salinas, they protect wealthy agribusiness and other exploiters of under-waged Latino labor – domestic, homecare, and farm workers who commonly make less than minimum wage. The police call their lettuce knives and gardening tools weapons and falsely accuse workers of threatening or attacking cops.

In the 1960s, Black, Latino, and Native American communities organized for civil rights and for self-defense against extra-judicial executions by law enforcement. The U.S. government assassinated and falsely imprisoned leaders; many are still behind bars, and in the 1970s began mass incarceration of Black and Brown people in the name of Wars on Crime and Drugs, but actually a War on the Poor. Police arrest and kill with impunity every day of the year. On August 9 national media covered the police killing of a young unarmed Black man, Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri, a two-thirds Black town just outside St. Louis. There is a march and rally today in Santa Cruz to denounce national police brutality and militarization.

After Frank’s murder, Salinas media protected the police, emphasized Frank’s criminal past, and published racist public comments about him being a gang member or illegal. Frank was born in the U.S., but no human is illegal, with or without papers. The U.S. creates conditions that force people to immigrate, and depends on very low-waged labor to do our hardest, most dangerous jobs, then targets immigrants with violence, detention, deportation, and separation of children from families. 47.6% of immigrants and their U.S.-born children live in or near poverty.

The police are trained to shoot to kill; they don’t want lawsuits for injuries. Frank Alvarado Jr. had only a cell phone, yet he “…was gunned down…[by] 6 cops…shot so many times, 5 houses down…a tree knocked down…,” a cop car was shot, and there were at least 24 bullet markers on the floor. The California Public Safety Officers Bill of Rights protects a long list of law enforcement and officials from public disclosure of the content of charges of brutality and killing.

Sin Barras will continue to expose the brutality and racism of the Salinas cops and media, and to support the families and community to win justice for Frank and all killed by Salinas PD, and to end all police murders and brutality. We will continue to fight in the spirit of Frank Alvarado Jr. for the rights of all prisoners and Former Incarcerated Persons, and to abolish modern-day slavery in poverty, prisons, and jails. Invest in caring for people and the planet, not in killing and caging.

An Open Letter to the Organizers of “Police Legitimacy in Communities of Color” at the Monterey Institute of International Studies

To Dr. Pushpa Iyer, Professor Edward Laurance and anyone else it may concern:

On October 9th, Salinas Police Chief Kelly McMillin is scheduled to speak on a panel titled “Police Legitimacy in Communities of Color” presented by the Center for Conflict Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. Under Chief McMillin’s command, four unarmed Salinas community members — all Latino men — were shot and killed by officers in a span of four months. Between March and July of 2014, Salinas police officers shot and murdered Angel Ruiz, Carlos Mejia, Osman Hernandez, and our dear friend and activist Frank Alvarado. Mejia and Hernandez were allegedly shot because officers felt threatened by work tools that they were carrying. Ruiz had a pellet gun, and Alvarado had a cell phone.

We believe it is unethical and disrespectful to give Chief McMillin such a privileged voice in a space that is uncritical of his department’s policies and the violence he has continually justified. None of the community activists, family and friends of the murdered men were invited to present on the panel and likely view the space as hostile — given that they would have had to sit across from the person ultimately responsible for these deaths.

Chief McMillin did ask the Department of Justice to investigate some of the murders, but not all of them. In any event, law enforcement and county officials have been extremely slow to take any significant actions to demonstrate that they take this series of deaths seriously, or to address police brutality more broadly in Salinas. Instead, Kelly McMillin has been actively justifying the murders; by saying in a recent Town Hall that, “to characterize the people who were shot as innocent victims is a disservice. To call the Salinas police officers who were involved in these things killers is a disservice and, frankly, an insult.” With these words, Chief McMillin is repeating a pattern that we have seen across the country, from the murder of Oscar Grant and Alan Blueford in Oakland to Mike Brown in Ferguson and countless others. These premature deaths all have one thing in common: they were all unarmed victims of police violence who are demonized by the police and corporate media as criminal and unreputable men destined to die at the hands of police because they had nothing positive to offer their families and communities. We reject this narrative — the men who died had families, friends and comrades in struggle who cared about them. Any mistakes that they may or may not have made in the past do not justify their murder at the hands of police.

We are not surprised that McMillin has been speaking out against the idea of a civilian oversight board and has instead encouraged city council to simply “update” an already-existing Police Community Advisory Committee. When he expressed concern at the cost of creating an actual citizens’ board, he said that “in the grand scheme of things, the city needs a lot more police officers… before something like a civilian oversight board.” In other words, he is calling for the expansion of a system that we are currently very skeptical about, that we are trying to hold accountable for immense wrongdoing. And he is trying to do this instead of agreeing to actual oversight.

The Salinas police chief who oversaw the killings of four Latino men in four months is not welcome in our communities. We demand that all involved Salinas police officers be held accountable, including Chief McMillin and those officers identified by SPD as killing residents in 2014. We support the families’ call to investigate anti-Latino discrimination and violation of federal rights. More broadly, we call on our community to stop giving Chief McMillin a platform to espouse militarization policies that disrupt and destroy the lives of Salinas residents. Stop promoting the view that the police are legitimate and honorable members of the Salinas community. Prioritize the voice of community activists and family members of people victimized by the police, especially when organizing events that explore the impact of policing and militarization.

Inviting Chief McMillin onto this panel will not initiate an honest or productive discussion about the relationship between police and communities of color. To the contrary, his presence would itself be an act of legitimizing police brutality in communities of color. For these reasons, we request that you ask him to step down as a participant.


Sin Barras & The Alvarado Family

Signed by:

The Direct Action Monterey Network

Ni Una Muerte Más

The Bay Area Stop Mass Incarceration Network

Flying Over Walls, SF Bay Area

Critical Race & Ethnic Studies Student Working Group, UC Santa Cruz

Ana Barrera, Salinas Educator & EON/BAMN Caucus Member

Bruce Neuburger, Instructor, City College of San Francisco, Vice President CFT Local 4681

Angelica Garza, Frank Alvarado’s sister

Anthony D. Prince, National Executive Committee, National Lawyers Guild

Harold Hardin & Fox, Critical Race & Ethnic Studies, UC Santa Cruz

Paul Boden, Western Regional Advocacy Project

Sharon Martinas, Catalyst Project

Debra Ellis, Cognitive Liberty

Marjorie Langdon

Leslie Potenzo

Miguel Marquez

Barbara Hayes


Our Letter to the Editor at the Sacramento Bee

Last week, Emily Harris of Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB) came to Santa Cruz to facilitate a Letter to the Editor Training. We collectively wrote a letter at the training, Courtney submitted it, and it got published! Check it out:

Cut health care costs by cutting incarceration

Published: Wednesday, Sep. 10, 2014 – 8:09 pm
Last Modified: Friday, Sep. 12, 2014 – 10:48 am

Re “Health costs for counties with influx of inmates” (The Public Eye, Sept. 8): Thank you, Brad Branan, for writing a piece that illuminates the disastrous difficulty of asking county jails to provide adequate mental health treatment.

Our county jails are hemorrhaging. For Jerry Brown, realignment has meant the literal shift from prison overcrowding to jail overcrowding.

Let’s make sure we don’t make the same mistake that was made when the state decided to build its health care prison in Stockton, which proved to be a $900 million disaster. To cut health care costs, we must cut incarceration by responding to the War on Drugs as a medical crisis, rather than a criminal issue.

This looks like investing in community-based treatment centers that have a long-term vision of quality healthcare for everyone.

– Courtney Hanson, Santa Cruz

Oct. 2 – A Racial Justice & Equity Event

Sin Barras, The Pachamama Alliance, and the Resource Center for Nonviolence is co-sponsoring a ‘Racial Justice & Equity Event‘ with the Santa Cruz County Coalition to End Racism on Thursday October 2nd:

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The event will expose the disastrous impact of Mass Incarceration and the “War on Drugs” on impoverished communities,and Communities of Color. We will address Racism in its institutional and structural forms through screening Michelle Alexander’s lecture: “The New Jim Crow” Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.

We will begin with a short introduction describing Four Techniques for Revealing Racism, and the Four Levels of Racism, Personal, Interpersonal, Institutional, and Structural.

Protestors Confront Salinas Police Chief at Bookstore Appearance in Santa Cruz

by Alex Darocy of Santa Cruz Indymedia

To send a strong message that “killer cops” are not welcome in Santa Cruz, community members gathered on August 26 to protest a speaking engagement at Bookshop Santa Cruz featuring Salinas Police Chief Kelly McMillin. “We are creating a public presence to say loud and clear that the Salinas police chief who oversaw the killings of four Latino men in four months is not welcome in our community,” read a flyer provided by Sin Barras, the Santa Cruz-based organization that called for the demonstration. [Top photo: A protester displays a sign inside Book Shop Santa Cruz. Scroll down for more photos.]


Between March and July of this year, four individuals have been killed by officers with the Salinas Police Department.

Outside of the book shop, which is located in downtown Santa Cruz, one demonstrator held a sign that declared, “Salinas: Our Ferguson.”

Several dozen individuals attended the protest, with some traveling from Salinas and other areas in Monterey County to make their voices heard. Organizers say they did not intend to disrupt the speaking event.

Six uniformed Santa Cruz police officers were present at the book shop for security, as was SCPD Deputy Chief Rick Martinez, who personally escorted Chief McMillan in and out of the building and was his driver.

Another sign held by demonstrators read: “Chief McMillin cannot speak for peace while justifying police murder.”

McMillin was invited to speak at Bookshop Santa Cruz by Monterey Herald reporter Julia Reynolds as part of a signing event for her book “Blood in the Fields.” According to the shop’s website, the book documents the history of Operation Black Widow, “the FBI’s questionable decade-long effort to dismantle Nuestra Familia [a criminal organization], along with its compromised informants and the turf wars it created with local law enforcement agencies.”

One of those agencies was the Salinas Police Department, and Reynolds made it clear she was a supporter of Chief McMillan’s, heaping praise on him for his efforts with regards to youth violence.

Community members seeking justice for those killed by Salinas police this year, however, have had to grapple with the department’s lack of transparency and accountability. McMillan has refused to release the names of the officers responsible for the killings.

“We believe it is anti-thetical and extremely disrespectful to give Chief McMillan such a privileged voice in a space that is uncritical of his policies and the racist murders he has overseen,” the literature from Sin Barras stated. The group also stated it sought to, “expose the brutality and racism of the Salinas cops and media.”

Since its founding, Sin Barras has primarily concerned itself with the intersecting issues of poverty and prison abolition. The Salinas police killings became an intense focus for the group, though, when they learned the fourth person killed this year was Frank Alvarado, who was a Sin Barras member and a dear friend.

Frank was killed on July 10 and since that time very little information about his killing has been released by authorities. They claim he was killed when Salinas Police perceived he was coming at them with a weapon. It was later determined to be a cell phone.

In May, Frank participated in a Sin Barras rally in Santa Cruz. He spoke about his recent release from incarceration, and why he opposed California prison expansion. He spoke passionately about his life and his family. The loss of Frank is still a fresh wound for his friends and fellow activists in Santa Cruz. After his death, Sin Barras immediately contacted his family in Salinas and is in close touch with them.

One member of Sin Barras held a sign at the book shop demonstration that read, “Rebuilding Trust? How about bringing back lives? Frank Alvarado, Carlos Mejia, Angel Ruiz, Osman Hernandez.”

Angel Ruiz was killed on March 20 by Salinas police outside of the Wingstop restaurant on Constitution Blvd. Ruiz had reportedly been going through alcohol and mental issues when police killed him after receiving reports he was spotted behaving erratically and in possession of a BB gun.

Carlos Mejia was killed on May 21 outside of a Bakery on Sanborn Rd. Osman Hernandez was killed on May 9 outside of the Mi Pueblo market on Sanborn. In both cases, Salinas police have explained the men were behaving erratically and that they were killed because they felt threatened by the work tools they were carrying at the time of their killing. Mejia was carrying a pair of garden sheers he used for work, and Hernandez was carrying a lettuce knife.

In their literature, Sin Barras presented a set of demands concerning the Salinas police killings. The group demands police release the names of the officers who killed the four men this year, and hold them accountable. They support the families’ call to investigate anti-Latino discrimination and violation of federal rights, and they want federal civil rights lawsuits filed.

“Salinas Police Chief Kelly McMillin denies police racism, but how else do you explain that Salinas’ population is 75% Latino, but 100% of those murdered by by Salinas Police were Latino?” the Sin Barras literature states.

After four police killings in one year, the perspective vocalized by many is that Kelly McMillin has clearly decreased public safety in Salinas. One sign held by demonstrators read, “Term Limits for Police.”

Near the end of the talk, a group of demonstrators holding signs entered the bookshop to display their messages directly in view of McMillan.

As the question and answer period commenced, demonstrators became more vocal as they realized the questions they submitted weren’t being asked.

McMillan may have sensed this, and the last question chosen was more critical, comparing the SPD to a criminal gang.

“I do understand the perception that cops are their own gang, that they are the best paid most well equipped gang,” he stated. He insisted, however, that the work they do as police is “entirely devoted to being effective at reducing violence.”

A Sin Barras member in the audience then shouted out, “effective at killing our friend…[who was] unarmed.”

“Our whole goal is to reduce violence and make Salinas a safe place,” continued McMillan.

People in the audience started hissing. McMillan then added he thought every police officer in Salinas was deeply troubled by the four killings. People shouted out in response that Salinas police were “murderers” and “terrorists.”

After one person in the audience stood up and attempted to ask McMillan one more question, the chief was silent and the person was cut off by the moderator, who concluded the evening.

When the question went unanswered, protesters began a loud chorus of booing and then chanted, “cops, pigs, murderers” repeatedly before leaving the book shop.

In an open letter penned to Sin Barras the day before the protest, and posted to her Facebook page, Reynolds stated that police legitimacy, “can and should be part of the conversation,” but that, “it is not all of the conversation.”

One individual addressed this issue in remarks made online directly to Reynolds: “You’re a tool of state power. Journalists should always be critical of power, or else they are complicit with it’s abuses. And providing a forum for the head of a murderous police department to spew out shit is an even worse form of complicity.”

“Police are so obviously on the front line of maintaining the poverty and oppression that leads to the violence that you pretend to be concerned about….you are either dangerously naive or willfully supporting their oppression.”

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Killer Cops Not Welcome -Salinas Police Chief in Santa Cruz this Tuesday


Murderers not welcome in our town!

This Tuesday Salinas Police Chief Kelly McMillin will be in Santa Cruz for an event at Bookshop Santa Cruz featuring Julia Reynolds and her book “Blood in the Fields.”

We are creating a public presence to say LOUD AND CLEAR that the Salinas police chief who oversaw the killings of four Latino men in four months is not welcome in our community.

Kelly McKillin’ has been actively justifying the murders, one of which took our dear friend and fellow activist Frank Alvarado.

***Bring signs, banners, your friends and fam & meet in front of the entrance! If you have questions, feel free to contact Sin Barras via email: sinbarras@gmail.com

Facebook event here.

Official event description here.

Incredibly racist & patronizing piece recently written by the chief here.

Sin Barras statement about Frank’s murder here.


Beers for Abolition: A $in Barras Kickback

In need of some community lovin’?

Let’s share stories over delicious drinks and tasty tapas at Discretion Brewing this Monday!

20% of Discretion’s bar proceeds will benefit Sin Barras and we’ll be there all day. Since our group is completely self-funded and not tied to any state or foundation funding bodies, we need your help with the hustle.

Spread the word, bring a friend, and let’s affirm our ongoing fight to end the caging of our communities. See you there!



Photos: CA Hunger Strike Anniversary in Santa Cruz

Photo Credit – Bradley Allen

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On July 8, we held a rally to commemorate the 1 year anniversary of the California Hunger Strike. The rally was small but powerful because of who showed up. Cynthia Fuentes heard about the mobilization and drove from San Jose to participate. Her brother, an incredible writer, has been incarcerated in the SHU. And when the mic got to her, she shared her experiences of heartbreak, frustration, and edurance, and tears welled up in her eyes and those of folks listening.
His family, are pleading for his immediate parole or compassionate release – please sign this petition.

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Justice for Frank Alvarado & Support for His Family

by Bradley Allen & Alex Darocy

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In response to the killing of Frank, the Direct Action Monterey Network called for a rally on Saturday, July 12, 2014 at the corner of S Sanborn Rd & Fairview Ave in East Salinas against police violence and to demand justice for Frank Alvarado. Demonstrators, including friends and family of Frank from Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties, held signs with messages such as “Stop Police Brutality. Justice For My Uncle!,” “SPD Don’t Shoot Me. I’m On My Phone,” “Another Murder Brought To You By The SPD,” and “Stop Giving Cops Paid Vacation For Murder!”

Speakers at the July 12 rally included Frank Alvarado’s sister, Angélica Garza; Frank’s niece, Natalie Mendoza; as well as Courtney Hanson and Tash Nguyen of Sin Barras, a prison abolition group based in Santa Cruz.

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