Another amazing group that recently joined our family is the youth organization Resilience Orange County. We went out to Orange County, CA in the Fall and met with a group of young organizers eager to learn how to incorporate participatory defense strategies and increase their support of young people caught in the crosshairs of the juvenile and immigration systems.
“Too many of our families are taking deals instead of going through trial, denying our families justice. Our families in Santa Ana and Anaheim are being ripped apart through arrest and deportations”- Dulce
During the second day of our visit, we helped lead their first meeting with the parents of a youth that they were already supporting. Because of their efforts, that youth was not transferred over to be charged as an adult, a glimpse of the power that Participatory Defense holds in the community.
To welcome them in, Sheri Costa from South Alameda County’s A.L. Costa Development Center shares her experiences as a participatory defense practitioner. Read her letter below!
We want to introduce one of the newest members of our family into the Network. With the support of the ACLU, De-Bug led a two-day participatory defense training with organizations involved in the prosecutorial accountability campaign in Riverside County during the summer of 2017. About a month later, Starting Over took the lead and held their first meeting shortly after the training. Since then, they have held weekly meetings and supported community members from Riverside, Moreno Valley, and surrounding areas.
As a family, we want to embrace them with a letter from Poet from Durham, North Carolina, where he is a part of the participatory defense team with SpiritHouse, Inc/ All of Us Or None. He shares his experiences and how he got involved supporting families through Participatory Defense. Read his letter below.
(The women of the National Council and the Participatory Defense Training Team after 2 days of building! Special thanks to Carl Williams for opening up the space for us!)
In a storied movement home in Boston, we had the great honor of building with the sisters of the National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls. A few of us from De-Bug//San Jose Participatory Defense Hub joined Andrea (known as Muffin) Farrior from Spirit House//Durham Participatory Defense Hub to give a two day training to Council representatives from multiple cities, and a strong contingent from Boston, on participatory defense. The Boston community included Council affiliate, and newest Participatory Defense Hub — Families for Justice as Healing.
The gathering was incredibly powerful, and such an inspiration to be around sisters who not only fought for their own freedom, but are determined to bring other sisters home, and protect their communities. And the organizers from the Massachusetts Bail Fund also brainstormed with us on how bail funds can partner with participatory defense hubs. The Massachusetts Bail Fund is an abolitionist bail fund, and is one of the most effective funds in the country in freeing people pretrial.
We are profoundly grateful to the sisters of the Council, and the organization’s founder (and incredible freedom fighter!) Andrea James for bringing us out. The Council has an incredible vision of Women’s Justice Circles, and will use participatory defense as part of this larger liberation framework. Below, Andrea James describes the work ahead — which we could not be more excited bout! Continue reading →