International Workers’ Day has been a time to uplift the struggles, honor the sacrifices, and celebrate the triumphs of working people across the world. As we stand on Ohlone Indigenous land this May 1st, we march in celebration and in resistance, and in solidarity with working people across all borders, to continue the historic struggle against economic and social inequity. With a Trump administration in power, a rising fascist tendency, and growing economic and political oppression of people everywhere, this May Day we march in the spirit of organizing and defending our communities from state violence and capitalist exploitation, and toward liberation and self-determination.
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On Tuesday, September 13, 2016, Sin Barras organizers went to the Board of Supervisors meeting to comment publicly on the contract renewal with for-profit correctional medical service provider California Forensic Medical Group (CFMG). We achieved several successes, including:
- The Board of Supervisors supports the need to receive feedback from people in jail about medical services
- The Sheriff is interested in working with us to get feedback from people in jail
- CFMG personnel showed interest in speaking to us about improving their operations
- Other community members at the Board meeting for other reasons expressed their support
- An article about our appearance was published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel
Bottomline: We are against having a private contractor like CFMG provide medical services at the jail; however, we cannot let another person die in jail of neglect, or allow needless suffering to continue to happen because of inadequate care. If we have to work with CFMG and the Sheriff to make sure of this, then we will.
The poor quality of medical care for incarcerated people at the local jail remains an ongoing concern. Sin Barras believes that the County Health Services Agency should resume responsibility for jail medical care; outsourcing this essential service in 2012 has cut costs but hurt these people. Short of that, the 2016 renewal of the contract with the for profit medical provider CFMG (California Forensic Medical Group) is an opportunity to achieve better medical outcomes for these individuals. It is imperative not to miss this opportunity.
The Civil Grand Jury issued three special reports since CFMG’s takeover of jail medical care recommending changes to the jail’s medical procedures that would save lives, but most of these changes continue to be rejected by the Sheriff’s Department. The Sheriff’s Department states that the safety of those in the jail is their highest priority, but in the past four years, while under contract with CFMG, multiple preventable deaths have occurred in the jail that can be described as “murders by negligence.”
Sin Barras stands in solidarity with our comrade Manny from the Watsonville Brown Berets who was peacefully demonstrating at a Dump Trump rally where he was brutally arrested by cops this past Friday in Burlingame, Ca. He is currently being held in the San Mateo County jail with bail set at 50K. The police are clearly not on the side of communities struggling against oppression and Manny’s arrest demonstrates that people of color are targeted when they show up strong, resolute in voicing their discontentment with this very corrupt, racist unjust system. The struggle will continue and our voices will be heard! Strength to you Manny and power to those on the front lines, resisting and showing up for change! A legal fund is in the works.