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. (more…)
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.
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.
Rally Supports the Events in Washington DC
Members of the Central Coast Coalition for Immigration Reform include local labor unions, religious groups and nonprofit agencies.
The purpose of the Coalition for Immigration Reform / Central Coast has been to mobilize all of these different organizations towards one common goal of pushing for fair comprehensive immigration reform with a path to Citizenship.
In support of national mobilization events in Washington DC and across the country, the local immigration coalition will hosting a press conference that will include speakers that will tell their personal immigration stories along with a report of the number of local jurisdictions that have passed resolutions in support of comprehensive immigration with a path to citizenship.