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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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In Memory of Frank Alvarado

Frank Alvarado, a close friend and Sin Barras member, was shot and killed by Salinas police early Thursday morning. Frank was an extraordinary person with a big and loving heart. His contagious spirit, candid perspective, resilience, and compassion for those who are struggling inspired community-building and understanding around him.

We met Frank ​in April at the Walk to Stop the Silence in Watsonville, an annual event that raises awareness against childhood sexual abuse. Frank approached our table wanting more information about what ​Sin Barras does. We told him about the lobbying, prisoner rights’ advocacy, and reform work that we’ve undertaken, and he opened up about having just been released after eleven​ years inside. He ​started coming to meetings regularly, and finding a new voice for himself by speaking publicly about his own experiences with incarceration. Continue reading

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July 8 – A Day of Remembrance and Commitment

CA Hunger Strike Anniversary - July 8

On Tuesday afternoon, allies across the state will hold local actions. Here in Santa Cruz, we will gather at 6:30pm at the Water & Pacific Ave. Clocktower to make these struggles against torture and criminalization visible! Bring banners, candles, or signs to contribute.

July 8, 2013 is a day we remember to never forget the torture the state of California willingly inflicts on human lives. On that day, 30,000 prisoners followed the lead of their fellow prisoners locked in solitary confinement and refused to eat. By one account, close to 100 people went without eating for 59 days before agreeing to eat in exchange for serious concessions from the California Department of Corrections.
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Our victory is in the news!

Good Times Magazine: Hard Cell |  10 June 2014 by Aric Sleeper

Grand jury investigation into county jail deaths reveals troubling trends–

Before Christy Sanders was booked into Santa Cruz Main Jail, she complained of severe pain in the left side of her body, and was sent to the emergency room at Dominican Hospital. There she received a medical examination and an X-ray, but the ER staff did not see anything immediately wrong. They logged their diagnosis into a medical record database, which is shared with the medical staff at the jail. The incident was detailed in a recent grand jury report that investigated Sanders’ death, and those of four others at the county jail.

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Sin Barras Proposes Alternatives to Jail Expansion

City on a Hill Press – May 22, 2014: Protest Proposes Alternatives to Jail Expansion by Aron Garst

California already spends more than 60,000 on each inmate while only spending 9,200 on each K-12 student, and to add to that Jerry Brown is adding $500 million to the states budget to expand county jails. Last week, organized protests took place across the state in San Francisco, San Diego and Sacramento in a coordinated effort to halt Gov. Brown’s revised May budget. Protesters from the coalition Californians Reunited for a Responsible Budget (CURB) gathered outside the Santa Cruz County’s Superior Courthouse last Wednesday to stand against California’s proposed budget. “It’s really illuminating to see where the state’s priorities are,” said community organizer Tash Nguyen. “We’re in a place where we really need to follow the money to see how lawmakers are addressing our issues. Clearly they’re not.” Continue reading

We’ve won! Community organizing works!

Santa Cruz Sentinel – May 21, 2014: Report blasts Main Jail over inmate deaths by Jason Hoppin

A Santa Cruz County civil grand jury on Wednesday issued a scathing report into a slate of Main Jail inmate deaths during an 11-month period, saying most were preventable.

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Invest in a Stronger California: Press Conference + Rally

Please join the community and Sin Barras tomorrow for a Press Conference + Rally about the Governor’s May Revise Budget to highlight the need to invest in Californians and eradicate poverty.
The governor has proposed $500 million to build bigger jails we don’t need.​ In ​the Governor’s press conference this morning, we noted that funding to begin the expansion of medical parole, to begin an elder parole program and to create a parole process for non-violent and non-sexual second strikers has been cut to half what it was in the Governor’s January budget. Continue reading

Why is California trying to build more jails?

Written by our fierce coalition members

When we first saw this year’s proposed corrections budget included $500 million for new jail expansion, we had to double-check the document to see what year it was.

In December, at the campus of the University of Phoenix in Sacramento, an obscure new government body called the Board of State and Community Corrections sat in a room with members of 36 sheriff’s departments. Also present were a hundred people from across the state, all trying to prevent jails from being built in their communities. Continue reading

Sin Barras Comic: Bigger Jail, No Strings Attached?

Our very own Noah Miska made another comic!

Now it’s your turn–tell our Supervisors that Santa Cruz doesn’t want $24 million to build a bigger jail! Our County should not be investing more resources in a system that targets poor families and families of color.

Sin Barras Comic: Bigger Jail, No Strings Attached?

Let’s uplift our community by taking action and spreading the word! — http://bit.ly/OKtiBD