Should Stop and Frisk Be Reinstituted in the South Bronx?

It’s Diaz vs. Diaz in South Bronx stop-and-frisk fight
Members of the politically-minded rap group Rebel Diaz have taken issue with comments made by state Senator Ruben Diaz regarding the controversial police tactic.
BY Denis Slattery
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS full article here
Monday, July 14, 2014, 2:00 AM

“While there are those who will argue against Stop and Frisk, statistics show that crime was better controlled and the loss of life was decreased,” Diaz (D-Longwood) wrote. “Bullets are flying, and children are dying.”
(…)
“He supposedly represents the Bronx, but I don’t think a lot of people would agree with it,” Rodrigo Venegas, 33, better known as RodStarz, told The News. “Sadly, the elder Diaz has once again proven the same nonsense.”
Hip hop duo Rebel Diaz blasted Senator Diaz for his remarks about stop-and-frisk. Knapp_Photography_2011 Hip hop duo Rebel Diaz blasted Senator Diaz for his remarks about stop-and-frisk.

Venegas and his brother, Gonzalo Venegas, 29, known as G1, argue that bringing back the tactic will only lead to a further deterioration of police-community relations.

“Instead of more stop-and-frisk, how about community centers and safe cultural centers,” Gonzalo Venegas asked, linking the policy to gentrification and calling New York a “police state.
(…)
“It’s worse to lose a life than to be searched,” Diaz said in response to his critics. “I will do anything before losing another life.”

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What Senator Diaz and Mayor de Blasio are not taking into account is the root of the gun violence. It is not simply ‘being searched’ as Senator Diaz said, but the continued racial profiling. This country was founded on violence and capitalism and is a system which only allows validation, existence, and basic human rights to those with the money and power to afford it. When the police stop and search innocent black and brown men it is not making communities feel safer it is continuing to play into the racist mindset that these people are already criminals. It contributes to more violence because people do not feel safe to walk freely in their own communities.

In a report last year put out by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement the group finds that every 23 hours in the US a black man is shot by police officers.

Stop and Search is not happening on wall street, it’s happening in the south bronx, in springfield, and in poor black and brown communities across the nation. Re-instituting this racist policy will only bring more violence.

Yes, let’s look at the violence, and let’s do something real to change it.

When people’s basic human rights of food, shelter, education, healthcare, transportation and the right to move freely are being met let’s see how much the violence goes down. There are not readily available statistics of gun violence in this situation, because this has not happened, full scale, in this country. This country’s bottom line always has been money, not people. When people are not valued their attitude will reflect this.

Senator Diaz and the NYPD need to stop pointing their finger at the people who are carrying guns and instead work with community leaders, cultural figures and organizers to better meet these basic tenants of human rights. This will decrease violence – not more cops with a license to kill searching every non-caucasian they see.
Vanessa L.

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July 18 Speak Out in Solidarity with the Palestinian Struggle for Justice

Originally posted on Art | Peace | Education:

Altar, memorial to honor lives lost

Altar to honor lives lost, memorial in Northampton MA

Join us again for a rally and march
in solidarity with the people of Palestine

on Friday June 18 at 7pm
Northampton Town Hall

Details on facebook
*

7/11/2014
Stand out in solidarity with Palestine

Over 20 people came out today in answer to the call of standing in solidarity with the people of Palestine during the most recent attacks by the settler state of Israel.  Organizers from Code Pink, The International Socialist Organization, Western MA Peace Committee, Western Mass Coalition with Palestine and various other people came forward.

We made memorials and did a short march through downtown Northampton to honor the lives lost and those who are still resisting.

Since late June when three Israeli teens went missing, Israel has been massacring the people of Gaza and the West Bank in revenge, going so far as to declare that…

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HPIM0615-vi

Justice for Delano Walker Jr.

 7/14
Monday morning at 11am  the Lawyers for the family of Delano Walker Jr. will be appearing  at Federal Court 330 State St. Springfield, In a Civil Case against the City of and the  Springfield Police Dept.
 
COME JOIN US ALL  STAND OUT  
 
8:30AM  — 9:30AM    In Front of  Belise Car Lot..  East Columbia Ave, Springfield
 
10:00 to   11:00   Federal Court  330 State St.  Springfield, 
 
In 2009 Delano Walker Jr. at the age of 15 was stopped by Police while bicycling with friends  near the Belise Car Lot in Springfield..
   In the  questioning process Delano was pressured by the  Police into stepping backwards  in to traffic and was killed .
 

A Memorial for the Passing of Dr. Vincent Harding

A memorial for the passing of Dr. Vincent Harding
Sunday, July 6, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m
New England Peace Pagoda, 100 Cave Hill Road, Leverett MA 01054
Dr. Vincent Harding was a pioneering theologian, historian and civil rights activist who may have been best known as the writer of Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous 1967 anti-war speech, Beyond Vietnam.
This gathering will observe and commemorate the passing of Dr. Harding and re-member his wisdom, humor, songs, and our role in continuing his work of building up a new world.

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WE SHALL NOT BE MOVED | Eviction Blockade

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(video from Michelle William, MassLive)
Jeff Solivan Vs. Mel Watts
Springfield No One Leaves

STAND WITH JEFF – TAKE THE PLEDGE!
“Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac are the two largest mortgage holders & forecloser’s in the country. But they are owned by US, the taxpayers, after they were bailed out in 2008! Rather than working to support local communities and provide affordable housing, they are refusing loan modifications with principal reduction, evicting families no-fault, preventing common sense buy backs for people after foreclosure (Mass AG Sues Freddie Mac & Fannie Mae over Foreclosure Policy), and have refused to contribute almost $1 Billion in congressionally mandated funding to the National Housing Trust Fund which would create & maintain affordable housing, stimulate the economy and create jobs!”
-Springfield No One Leaves/Nade Se Mude

A Communal Reading of a Lecture by Frederick Douglass

 

THE MEANING OF THE FOURTH OF JULY FOR THE NEGRO

FRED.SOUD

“To work for ‘a more perfect union’ we need to start to understand complexities we’ve never really worked through.”

 

A COMMUNAL READING

OF A LECTURE BY

FREDERICK DOUGLASS

 

WHEN
SATURDAY, JUNE 28TH, 1:00PM

WHERE
AMHERST TOWN COMMON
RAIN – GRACE EPISCOPAL CHURCH, 14 BOLTWOOD AVENUE

In his fiery July 5, 1852 speech, the great abolitionist orator Frederick Douglass took exception to being asked to commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence …

Sponsors: AFSC, Amherst Human Rights Commission, Amherst NAACP, David Ruggles Center, Karuna Center for Peacebuilding, Leverett Peace Commission, Mass Humanities, Mass Slavery Apology Project, NE Peace Pagoda, Peacenet, Project Unspeakable, Sankofa Foundation of the Pioneer Valley, Sojourner Truth Memorial Committee and Traprock Peace Center.

Find out more about the “Reading Frederick Douglass” statewide collaboration at http://www.masshumanities.org

download the flyer –> RFD Flyer

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Inventing Terrorists

Originally posted on Project SALAM:

We’ve been working on our database of domestic “terrorism” prosecutions since about early 2009, and have been working on the Report over the past year and a half. It’s been slow, since it’s a completely volunteer effort. But I think it’s good quality work, combining legal experience with these cases, Steve Downs’ ability to see the big picture (I get lost in the details), lots of data analyzed , a great database written by Lynne Jackson, and superb editing and advice on how to make the report more professional from Jeanne Finley.

Please check out the Report, there is a link to it at this site. Basically what we did was to look at all the cases which DOJ termed “terrorism cases” and analyze them to see how many were what we call “preemptive prosecution” cases. As defined in our Report, “preemptive prosecution is a law enforcement strategy, developed…

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#stopH4184 #maleg: Undermines the Supreme Judicial Court’s decision to grant youth offenders a chance at parole after 15 years in prison.

Dear Supporters of Justice

 
The Massachusetts Joint Committee on the Judiciary is reporting a bill (H.1426, redrafted) out to the House for a floor vote this Wednesday — Tomorrow June 18
 
The bill sets the earliest period of parole eligibility at 20 years for those convicted of felony murder, and 25 years in other cases.  
 
The bill also gives the Parole Board the unprecedented ability to impose a 10 year wait before an individual who is denied parole has the chance to go before the parole board again.  
 
We believe these provisions profoundly undermine the letter and spirit of the SJC’s decision, failing to recognize the unique capacity of youth to change and rehabilitate themselves, and allowing for excessively long time periods between parole hearings.
 
Please contact your state representative [follow link to determine your rep] TODAY to urge them to reject these extreme sentencing provisions for youth.  Let them know that you support these critical ingredients to fair sentencing for youth:

1.    No youth should have to wait longer than 15 years before having a first opportunity to go before the Parole Board.

2.     Incarcerated individuals should have the opportunity for a parole hearing every 5 years, not 10. 

TIME IS RUNNING SHORT, SO PLEASE CALL or EMAIL YOUR LEGISLATOR IMMEDIATELY.  Thank you.
 
A legislator pays attention when s/he receives five or more calls.

Susan Tordella

Legislative director
————————
“We just learned today that the Massachusetts Joint Committee on the Judiciary is reporting a bill
(called now H.4184, redrafted from other bills) out to the House for a floor vote this Wednesday.
 
 
Unfortunately, the redrafted bill contains several provisions which significantly undermine the Supreme Judicial Court’s recent decision
 granting individuals sentenced under Massachusetts unconstitutional former sentencing scheme a meaningful chance at parole after they had
 served at least 15 years in prison.
 
 
The bill sets the earliest period of parole eligibility at 20 years for those convicted of felony murder, and 25 years in other cases.
The bill also gives the Parole Board the unprecedented ability to impose a 10 year wait before an individual who is denied parole has the
 chance to go before the parole board again.  We believe these provisions profoundly undermine the letter and spirit of the SJC’s decision,
failing to recognize the unique capacity of youth to change and rehabilitate themselves, and allowing for excessively long time periods
 between parole hearings.
 
 
 
Please CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATORS <https://malegislature.gov/People/FindMyLegislator> TODAY to urge them to reject these extreme 
sentencing provisions for youth.  Let them know that you support these critical ingredients to fair sentencing for youth:
 
 
1.  No youth should have to wait longer than 15 years before having a first opportunity to go before the Parole Board.
 
 
 
2.  No youth should be made to wait longer than 5 years between parole hearings.
 
 
 
TIME IS RUNNING SHORT, SO PLEASE CALL or EMAIL YOUR LEGISLATORS IMMEDIATELY.
 
If you have a moment, please let us know how your calls go by emailing lindamalik@cfjj.org<mailto:lindamalik@cfjj.org>.
 
Thank you for supporting fair sentencing for youth!
 
Linda Malik
Fair Sentencing Campaign Coordinator
lindamalik@cfjj.org<mailto:lindamalik@cfjj.org>
 
_________________________________________________________________
 
 
<https://malegislature.gov/People/FindMyLegislator>

Prison Labor’s New Frontier

Prison labor’s new frontier: Artisanal foods
by 

It ain’t just license plates anymore. Inmates are making a surprising array of products for small businesses. You can even find some in your local Whole Foods.

Some years back, a small Colorado goat-cheese maker called Haystack Mountain faced its version of a classic growth challenge: National demand was growing for its chèvres and other cheeses, and the company was struggling to find enough local goat farmers to produce milk. The solution came from a surprising source: Colorado Corrections Industries (CCI). Today six inmates milk 1,000 goats twice a day on a prison-run farm. After non-inmate employees cultivate the cheese at a company facility, it’s sold in Whole Foods WFM -1.34% outlets, among other stores.

Prison labor has gone artisanal. Sure, plenty of inmates still churn out government office furniture and the like, and incarcerated workers have occasionally been used by large companies since the late 1970s. Nationwide 63,032 inmates produce more than $2 billion worth of products a year, most of them sold to government entities.

But in recent years a new wave has begun, driven primarily by small businesses that need workers for boutique-size production. These days inmates can be found making everything from redwood canoes to specialty motorcycles, fishing poles, and saddles. They produce apple juice, raise tilapia, milk cows and goats, grow flowers, and manage vineyards.

“States like Colorado and California are at the forefront of a growing trend,” says Genevieve LeBaron, who has studied the issue as a politics professor at the University of Sheffield in England. CCI, a self-funded state agency, is leading the charge with a burgeoning $65 million business that employs 2,000 convicts at 17 facilities. The idea: Offer small businesses a flexible workforce and give prisoners the chance to stockpile earnings and skills needed for life outside prison bars.

Says John Scaggs, Haystack’s marketing and sales director, referring to CCI: “They have land. They have human capital, the equipment. If you can think it up, they can do it, and do it fast.”

That diverse and nimble operation has attracted visits by officials from 22 prisons as well as steady interest from companies that want to tap CCI’s workforce. “I get one to two calls a week from companies,” says CCI director Steve Smith, adding that he declines those that simply want cheap labor.

The practice has long been controversial. Prisoners earn meager wages and have no recourse if they’re mistreated, LeBaron argues. Plus, they can take jobs from law-abiding citizens. “It’s hugely concerning in the face of economic instability and unemployment,” she says.

Counters Smith: “These are coveted jobs.” Base pay starts at 60¢ a day, but most prisoners earn $300 to $400 a month with incentives, he says. To be hired, inmates must get a GED and maintain good behavior for six months.

Running a business with a workforce of felons presents challenges. Two hundred people oversee the inmates and conduct meticulous counts of tools and chemicals. Plus, security lockdowns can halt production. That can be a hassle, says Kathy Abernathy, whose Arrowhead Fisheries breeds, packs, and ships tilapia through CCI. (The fish is often sold at Whole Foods.)

But she views the program as “a way to help an inmate improve his life.” As Smith puts it, “Whether you like it or not, they are still American citizens, and they’ll be your neighbor when they get out.”

This story is from the June 16, 2014 issue of  Fortune. (http://fortune.com/2014/06/02/prison-labor-artisanal/)

Acclaimed Syrian writer doubles as a taxi driver

Acclaimed Syrian writer doubles as a taxi driver, Al Jazeera

 

Lydia Davis, Osama Alomar, Sjon, PEN America Literary Festival

Lydia Davis, Osama Alomar, Sjon, PEN America Literary Festival

I read in a book the following piece of wisdom: “He who remains silent in the face of injustice is a mute Satan.” I went out into the street and saw Satan everywhere.
-from Fullblood Arabian, Osama Alomar

Osama Alomar is a kind of superhero.

Purchase Fullblood Arabian
Osama Alomar pursues his literary ambitions in exile

Vanessa L
@drvonskillet