Echoes of ‘60s March: Sixties-Style Civil Disobedience Drives New Era of Activism


Graphic design by Adrian Avila

By Raj Jayadev

This August marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington — that watershed moment of the civil rights era that showed how mass movement could force the nation to address issues of inequality, and change the political direction of the country. Had America not recently experienced some of the most poignant, traumatic, and racially-charged episodes in years, this march anniversary may have only been a nostalgic, obligatory, nod to the past. But a young Trayvon Martin was killed, a steady rise in deportations are breaking apart families, and prisons have become so savagely inhumane, inmates are starving themselves to death. As a result, the most captivating activists of today are not looking at the ‘60s as a history book, they are looking at it as a playbook. Continue reading

We Stopped the Ban of Letters to Inmates!

Steeda of Sisters That Been There Showing the Letter Exchanges from inmates.

Steeda of Sisters That Been There Showing the letter exchanges from inmates.

Congratulations to the families and organizations of Santa Clara County! We successfully made our voices heard, and stopped the implementation of a jail policy which would have greatly restricted inmates from receiving letters, photos, and all of the other “lifelines” that connect those on the inside to their loved ones on the outside. The policy — called the Postcard Only Policy — was created originally by Sheriff Arpaio in Arizona, and has been spreading quickly to counties across the nation. We first heard the alarms of the policy being planned here in Santa Clara County after receiving calls from families, and receiving letters of concern from inmates. Our community of civil rights groups, families of the incarcerated, re-entry experts, faith-based communities all came together to express a collective repudiation of the policy (watch the powerful video). Jail administrators were open to meet with us, and we held an powerful gathering where families shared heart-felt testimonies of why letters are so vital for those on both sides of the jail walls. After a Summer of growing concern of the proposed policy, administrators announced at the August Public Safety meeting that they are dropping the policy! For more check out the San Jose Mercury News coverage, and the blog of the victory form our friends at the Prison Policy Institute who are fighting this ban nationally. Our hope is other counties may be inspired by the families of Santa Clara County and will fight back to beat the ban in their counties! (Special thanks to Sisters That Been There, San Jose NAACP, Coalition for Justice and Accountability, De-Bug families, ACJP, and everyone else who helped!)