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West Region News June 2021

Highlights of work from around the region

Nathaniel Phillips and John Lindsay-Poland of CA Healing Justice Program
Nathaniel Phillips (left) and John Lindsay-Poland with the AFSC California Healing Justice Program Photo: AFSC

Healing Justice Program, Oakland
Momentum builds to end police militarization
On a recent AFSC Facebook Live, Ristad Fellow Nathaniel Phillips (above, left) and CA Healing Justice program co-director John Lindsay-Poland said that new legislation and the tireless work by AFSC and partners have the potential to curb the militarized policing of low-income and communities of color. Watch this press conference in advance of the Oakland Public Safety Committee's unanimous approval of a local ordinance on militarized equipment used by police, and this AFSC Community Safety Beyond Policing webinar on stopping police militarization.


US-Mexico Border Program, San Diego
California Assembly votes to end ICE transfers, keep families intact
Adriana Jasso of AFSC shares the good news of the California Assembly’s passage of the Vision Act. AFSC and over 90 partner organizations said the bill would end the “double-punishment” of immigrant Californians and set a national model for addressing racial inequities at the intersection of mass incarceration and deportation. The bill now heads to the State Senate for consideration. Learn more.


art by @town_jackieg

67 Sueños, Oakland
Young warriors rule the world!
From Instagram: “With so many issues that create division, children are able to speak wisdom, resilience and unity across borders. Sin fronteras y más poder para la unidad. The artist is our very own, 67-grown @town_jackieg. Go follow, support, and give some love to their art page @town_creations.”


Arizona Program, Tucson
During Pride Month, lifting up LGBTQ issues of incarceration
AFSC Arizona encourages people to check out the Prison Policy Initiative’s research on the unequal treatment of LGBTQ in the criminal punishment system. In other news: Becca Fealk of AFSC is quoted on the high costs of private prisons and Arizona’s plans to bring back the gas chamber for upcoming executions: "State leaders and the department of corrections really need to be asking, 'Should we go to such extreme measures to kill someone?' Is this actually justice, and is this keeping us safe?"


Economic Activism Program, Oakland
A new Human Rights Investment Screen for AFSC
The AFSC Board recently adopted a groundbreaking new human rights screen for its revised investment policy. As far as we know, AFSC is now the first institution with a comprehensive immigrant justice investment policy; with a decision to divest from the prison industrial complex as a whole, not just from private prison companies; and with a policy that addresses Israeli apartheid. You can check your own investment portfolio using Investigate. As part of our work to support Palestinian rights using Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS), we continue calling on General Mills to stop production of Pillsbury products in an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied Palestinian territory. Pillsbury family members have joined the boycott of the brand that bears their name. What can you do to support the Palestinian call for BDS? Here are some suggestions.

photo: David Bacon

Pan Valley Institute (PVI), Fresno
Opposing the Farm Workforce Modernization Act (FWMA)
AFSC and nine other California organizations with a long history of working with farmworkers recently met with staff of U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla to urge him to vote “no” on the FWMA. Myrna Martinez Nateras of AFSC writes that the bill, among other things, would expand the H2-A program, which has a long history of exploiting farmworkers and reinforcing low wages. In addition, the bill does not afford farmworkers the right to organize.


Young people in New Mexico “Give Peas a Chance.” (Photo: AFSC NM)

People of the Land Program, Albuquerque
Give Peas a Chance
“Currently it’s sweet pea season in New Mexico, so AFSC created ‘Give Peas a Chance,’ our fourth healthy food campaign,” writes Sayrah Namaste. “AFSC brings free, organic peas to Head Start and other preschools serving low-income children, along with activity guides that focus on vegetables, growing food and healthy eating.” According to one teacher, “The children loved eating the peas, and staff enjoyed the connection with local growers.” 


Fast for Freedom launch at the Colorado Statehouse

Immigrant Rights Program, Denver
Fast for Freedom promotes Citizenship for All
Jennifer Piper of AFSC has been working with leaders of the Not1More Deportation Table to launch the Fast for Freedom, a national campaign to demonstrate that immigrants are essential and that we need Citizenship for All. Learn more from this AFSC Facebook Live with Piper and Maria Rojas of Together Colorado, and check out this video from the launch rally in Denver.


Project Voice Immigrant Rights Program, Oregon-Washington
Lifting up the story of a survivor of torture in Guatemala
On Facebook, Pedro Sosa of AFSC recommends Don Emeterio Toj’s narration of his torture at the hands of the Guatemala army and government in the 70s and 80s. Don Emeterio was among thousands who were kidnapped, disappeared, tortured and killed by the government of Guatemala. “It’s important to read this work that narrates a part of the atrocities of the 36 years of war in Guatemala,” Pedro says.


From LA Roots for Peace on Instagram

Roots for Peace (R4P) Program, Los Angeles
Community care first: Following Measure J through implementation
Crystal Gonzalez of AFSC writes that last November, LA County voters approved Measure J, which allocates at least 10% of the County's locally generated, unrestricted funding to address racial injustice through decarceration and community care. The victory is a testament to the work of generations of abolitionists who have long called for shutting down jails and increasing investment in their communities.

For over a year, AFSC staff and youth have been involved in the Reimagine LA Coalition and the measure J community advising process. In May, they supported the submittal of budget recommendations and participated in public comment for Year One (FY 22) implementation of Measure J. Staff and youth are calling for funds to go towards youth services, youth organizing programs, and the creation of economic opportunities through urban farming.

Short takes
AFSC has joined more than 150 other organizations in calling upon the Biden Administration to end solitary confinement….Stay tuned for these upcoming AFSC events: Community Safety Beyond Policing (CSBP) webinar on July 8 and Gaza Fights for Freedom film screening and conversation on July 11. Stay active by visiting AFSC’s Get Involved page for action alerts and upcoming events.

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