In March of 2015, De-Bug/ACJP went to several communities across the country to share the participatory defense approach, and learn from innovative public defenders, inspiring organizations, and courageous families. We shared in ballroom hall forums, gave trainings on intervention points in cases, talked through setting up participatory defense meetings, sat in courtrooms, brainstormed with folks at their homes over dinner, and went behind the scenes of law offices and movement-makers. Here is a short video snapshot of some great partners we met in St.Louis, Birmingham, and Philly. Much respect and gratitude to the Community Law Office of Jefferson County, Arch City Defenders, M.O.R.E, Montgomery County Public Defender’s Office, the One Love Movement, and everyone else we got a chance to build with!
ACJP organizers Charisse and Cecilia did trainings yesterday in the Bay Area on participatory defense to three different communities throughout the day. The morning was the Asian Law Alliance, a long-standing community rooted legal agency who are on the forefront of civil rights issues and the immigrant rights movement in San Jose. The afternoon was a training with the Cathedral of Faith, a powerful church community that is a trusted community touchstone in San Jose, and a place where folks coming home from prison are receiving re-entry support. The evening was Essie’s Group in Oakland, an inspiring network of women with incarcerated loved ones. Besides showing Charisse and Cecilia’s endurance, their day also shows the double sided reality of mass incarceration. Though the criminal justice system touches so many different communities, it also shows the potential of the diverse movement who can bring it to an end. These three communities may have never met, but through their various efforts are collectively fighting back for their people, and we are honored to stand with each of them.