4 Reasons Why San Jose/Santa Clara County Is a National Leader in Social Justice

Heading into Fall, ACJP/De-Bug wants to acknowledge the nationally significant policy wins in criminal justice reform, police accountability, and immigration that occurred this Summer — all of which were first-of-its-kind victories in their respective fields. Check out the coverage from mainstream media, as well as videos, articles, and photos we produced chronicling how Summer 2013 has put our region on the map for social justice in this “storify.”

Gideon’s Army Deserves Back Up

By Raj Jayadev

gideonWhen I watched Dawn Porter’s Gideon’s Army, the HBO-aired documentary on public defenders in the South, it made me think of the irrationality of our court system, mass incarceration, and broken families. But it also made me think of the X-Men.

In the X-Men movie series, the superheroes are misunderstood, even vilified at times by the public, but nonetheless are charged with saving humanity. The budding heroes, who already have the innate abilities within them, develop their skills at a special school to be prepared for the high stakes battles they are charged to engage in.

Gideon’s Army has a similar story line, minus the mind-melds and mutant genetics. Continue reading

“Orange is the New Black” Shares the Real Stories of Our Secret Society

Having spent 17 years behind the walls, Steeda McGruder, founder of Sisters That Been There, was hesitant to watch a show about women in prison. Once she did see Orange is the New Black, she says the show amazingly “nails it” — the hardships, the relationships, and the internal struggle.


By Steeda McGruder

I hesitated when friends told me to watch Orange is the New Black. Being that that I’ve spent the last 17 years of my life behind the walls, I figured unless it was different than all the other prison shows that never got it right, I could wait. It wasn’t until a good friend told me, “Yo like foreal, you need to watch this, it hella reminds me of you,” that I actually sat down and watched it.

I automatically understood the show from the women I saw in the introduction. I saw the faces of all the different types of women that go in and out — some have piercings, some have scars from the street life or drug abuse, some are clear eyed and clear faced, some are dirty, some skinny, some bigger. I could immediately relate to the main character, Piper (who is based on Piper Kerman who wrote a book about her incarceration), while thinking of all my trips to the big house — having to turn yourself in and the thoughts about the choices, the wanting to change the past and turn the clock back. Continue reading