We’ve been hard at work over the winter, engaged in coalitions across Chicago to end youth criminalization, #FreeThemAll, confront violence, and divest from racist policing in order to invest in Black communities and communities of Color.
Here are some resources and upcoming events that we hope you’ll use and share!
Mary & Debbie
This Friday, March 12th, join the End the Il Prison Lockdown Coalition, of which we are a member, for a virtual press conference event to demand that Governor Pritzker continue to wide the wave of criminal justice reform by addressing the urgent needs of prisoners currently in his custody. He can use his executive power to sign clemencies on his desk, end the torturous prison Lockdown, and release people - the only safe and responsible ways to address the pandemic that has been ravaging people inside Illinois prisons.
The Fierce Urgency of Now: Death, Torture, and a Year of Lockdowns in Illinois Prisons
Young people across the country are demanding police free schools. Our webinar features youth organizers talking about successful strategies as well as challenges in the work. Speakers from campaigns in Chicago (#CopsOutCPS: J. Nava and Lil’ Tree), St. Louis (Ma’Kayla Machari), and Fremont, CA (Annie Koruga), as well as Dr. Kimberly King and Alycia Raya from Peralta Community Colleges in the Bay Area.
Our friends at the Final Five Campaign are working to close the remaining youth prisons in Illinois. Did you know that the state spends over $100,000,000 per year on locking up around 100 youth? Imagine how those funds could be used differently to support young people before they are ensnared by the criminal legal system.
Meanwhile, the state is looking to build a new youth prison in Lincoln Illinois this year, so we are supporting the call to #StopLDC! We need to end the practice of locking up children; not tweak, change or “transform” it.
What's up with the recent buzz around carjackings?
Concerned about the recent “spike” in youth carjackings? We are, and we know that the stories that are told about young people, especially young Black people, in this city, are often by the same people working to open new prisons and jails, and profiting from the continuation of our prison industrial complex. We’re grateful to Stephanie Kollman of Northwestern Children and Family Justice Center for her testimony in this video which sheds some light on this crime ‘trend’ making its way through the news again, and how we have to push back on criminalizing narratives.
And in case you missed it, last December we joined forces with the Final Five Campaign, Liberation Library and Circles and Ciphers for our #LoudLitUp Rally to End Youth Incarceration, as part of our week of action to #FreeThemAll. AnnMarie Brown shared her experiences organizing and participating in the action in this moving blog post.
Standing Up to Anti-Asian Violence!
Anti-Asian attacks are on the rise, ranging from harassment to violent physical attacks, fueled by xenophobic and racist rhetoric.
Want to support our work and look great while doing it? It’s not too late to get your very own t-shirt by artists Citlali Perez and Monica Trinidad. We’ll ship it free to you anywhere within the continental US. We always appreciate folks sharing photos and/or plugging the link to our t-shirts as well - so feel free to help spread the word if you already have your shirt.
What We're Reading
"Prison By Any Other Name"
This book by Maya Schenwar and Victoria Law is a must-read for anyone committed to finding alternatives to policing, incarceration, and criminalization. This book tells relatable stories and offers essential frameworks for anyone committed to ending the violence of our criminal legal system. Believe that things need to change, but unsure of what reforms and policies to support, and which to be suspicious of? Read this book!
This new anthology by Mariame Kaba is making waves, and recently made the New York Times best-sellers list for non-fiction. A handbook for anyone wanting to really understand what abolition is all about anyways, including essays and writings from some of the most cutting edge organizing for collective liberation over the past decade. *Special alert* there’s a love letter to the organizers of the #NoCopAcademy campaign in there. Check it out!
American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization devoted to service, development, and peace programs throughout the world. Our work is based on the belief in the worth of every person, and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice.