The book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, was studied by many people in the Des Moines area for the last few months. Now there will be a 1/2 day workshop on how to move forward on prison reform, restorative justice in our schools, changes in racial profiling in Des Moines area, and Re-entry groups to lessen recividism.
It will be held at the Unitarian Church on 1800 Bell next Sat., April 27th, from 9:00-12:00 with registration starting at 8:30. The workshop is free! It's calling all of us to action in Des Moines!!
Racial profiling happens. It happens because the racism that was core to the founding of this country permeates the air we breath and our institutional structures. Changing that takes intention. Training is good, but it only goes so far. There must be monitoring and, when that is not enough, legal structures that help change behavior and attitudes. The Comprehensive Racial Profiling act of 2013 is a step in that direction. It is a step in building the trust and respect that we would like to see in our community.
Today, February 4th, is the 100th birthday of Rosa Parks. This year is also the 50th anniversary of Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech. In 2013 we are still working to make that dream a reality, still working to end the more subtle remnants of the racism so visible 50 years ago. Youth at today's press conference made very clear that it is an every day part of their experience. Youth from PrYSM asked those in the room "How many of you have been profiled? How many of you don't feel safe in your neighborhood when the police are around?
PrYSM youth lead rally and march in Providence calling for an end to racial profiling.
Late May means that it is crunch time at both the RI and MA state houses. Months of work - hearings, letter writing, lobby visits and phone calls - are on the line. It is also the period of time when lawmaking is at its ugliest. To some politicians everything is reduced to horse trading. Transparency, what little there was, is totally gone. The merits of a bill may mean little as it becomes one of many bargining chips in a massive "game".
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