Using Our Stories to Win: Native Organizing Alliance Webinar

As Native people, no one knows our issues and struggles better than we do. Storytelling, an art form that is indigenous to us, can be used to shift power dynamics and substantiate ourselves as experts on the social justice issues that we fight for. In this hour-long webinar witness Native organizers discuss ways to capture the stories that enliven our communities, how to make a case for change, and how to use stories to build and leverage power in campaigns.  

Recorded September 8, 2014. Hosted by Danisha Christian.

Beyond Cellblocks Webinar: Ending Police-ICE Collaboration

This year, Alliance for a Just Society is hosting a series of webinars discussing techniques used in different parts of the country to combat racism and criminalization.  Our most recent webinar focused on tactics for ending police collaboration with Immigration officials.   This Friday, at 11 a.m., join us for a webinar on Native American storytelling. Click here to register for the storytelling webinar.

A little bit about our last webinar: Throughout the country, police have been partnering with immigration services, resulting in unfair targeting and treatment of racial minorities. On July 1, the Alliance for a Just Society and the Center for Intercultural Organizing convened a live webinar discussion about ending collaboration between local law enforcement agencies and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Read more

New Video: Case Study of Colorado’s Consent-To-Search Policing Policy

In October 2013, the Alliance for a Just Society partnered with the Union Theological Seminary for a symposium called Cell Blocks and Border Stops: Transformational Activism in the Age of Dehumanization. Since then, the Alliance has been working closely with our affiliate organizations to advance policies that deconstruct systemic structures of criminalization in their local jurisdictions — and we’ve launched this webinar series, as platform for organizers and policymakers to learn from one another and to generate new ideas for local campaigns that can be replicated across the country.

Our last webinar covered Seattle’s LEAD program, a cutting-edge diversion program that uses Medicaid expansion dollars to pay for the chemical dependency or mental health treatment of potential arrestees. This month, we’ve brought together a distinguished panel of speakers to discuss how Colorado passed a law in 2010 requiring police officers to inform people of their constitutional right to consent or refuse a search. Four years later, what’s been the real outcome of the program, and what can other states learn?

This webinar originally aired live on May 28, 2014. Our panelists:

Tania Soto Valenzuela is a community organizer with Colorado Progressive Coalition, a statewide, member-driven organization that engages communities to advance economic and social justice. She has fought alongside survivors of police brutality and misconduct, and with the Racial Justice & Police Accountability Hotline, she’s working to highlight members’ stories to change the culture of silence and violence currently dominating our law enforcement agencies.

Alex Landau is a civil rights activist and a member of Colorado Progressive Coalition. As a survivor of a high-profile case of extreme police violence in Denver, Colorado, he has been instrumental in the re-launching of CPC’s police profiling hotline, and he assists with internal affairs and independent monitoring processes.

Hillary Jorgenson is the Interim Executive Director of Colorado Progressive Coalition. She led the coalition’s work to pass the Affordable Care Act, to expand Medicaid and to protect Medicare. She recently took the position of CPC’s political director.

Art Way is Senior Policy Manager at Drug Policy Alliance, based in Denver. Way brings substantial public policy and criminal justice reform experience to DPA. And was formally the lead organizer for responsible for the Consent-To-Search campaign.

Our next webinar will be examining the local policies that are being passed to end police and ICE collaboration, on July 1st at 11:00 PT/ 2:00 ET. We hope you will join us again.

Poor, in Prison – and Pregnant

pregnant-inmateAs poverty levels in the U.S. increase, safety nets are  slashed, and families are left with few options for survival. As a result, more people are forced into difficult economic decisions, including alternative street-based economies and crime from sheer economic desperation. Many of these people are women and mothers.

Among women who are fortunate enough to have employment – women of color, are still making 64 cents on the dollar compared to men. (For white women, it is  77 cents on the dollar.) These women are also most likely to be the primary caregivers for children. Add in the high cost of childcare and the amount of money that women have left to live on is abysmal. Read more

“We Say They Can Stay,” Native American Leaders Protest Immigrant Detension

By Simmi Bagri
Alliance for a Just Society

ICE Protest-1cropThe annual Alliance for A Just Society’s Advanced Native Organizers Training, was sponsored by the Praxis Project and hosted at the  Alliance’s office in Seattle this month, drew leaders from tribes and organizations from around the country. They came from as far as Virginia, Alaska, South Dakota, and New Mexico, and as near as Oregon and the Yakima Valley.

They brought with them their history, their culture, and stories of the injustices being faced in their communities. They brought an array of unique perspectives on issues ranging from fighting for food sovereignty to challenging the destruction of native lands through construction of oil pipelines. Read more

The Penalty for Being Poor – Prison

By Simmi Bagri
Alliance for a Just Society

Imagine being poor. Then imagine that the depth of your poverty is compounded because you committed a minor infraction. You can’t pay your ticket. You go to court and are put under a probation monitoring service – more fees and fines. You can’t afford bus fare, so you walk everywhere. You can’t afford food, so you go hungry.

Then imagine being put in jail because you can’t pay the fines. Your life has been criminalized, and infrastructure that ought to allow you to you to make amends and move forward, traps you. You can’t escape it. Now you can stop imagining, because that is exactly what is happening across the United States today

Earlier this month the Human Rights Watch released a report titled “Profiting From Probation: America’s Offender-Funded Probation Industry,” which describes a probation model that incentivizes private for-profit companies to prey on low-income misdemeanor offenders.
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Beyond Cellblocks: Reducing Criminalization, Promoting Health Care Access & Racial Justice

This is the first in a series of webinars on ending criminalization of everyday life that will be offered by the Alliance for a Just Society. The Alliance is a national research, policy and organizing network focused on social justice, including ending racial disparity and promoting health equity.

Like many other cities, Seattle has long struggled to address public safety concerns raised by low-level public drug sales, drug use, and prostitution. LEAD was created after Seattle elected officials, public defenders, and community and business groups collectively reached a point of exhaustion, recognizing that status quo of drug law enforcement was failing.

This webinar discusses the origins of LEAD, how it operates, how and when it will be formally evaluated, and prospects for replication in other communities. You can watch both halves in the player below.

RELATED READING: Listen to NPR Seattle’s report on the Seattle Police Department’s new policy. Read more

2014 Advanced Native Organizers Training

The Alliance for a Just Society’s Native Organizing Alliance is pleased to announce our annual Native Organizers Training this spring! Sponsored by the Communities Creating Healthy Environments Initiative, this is a four day intensive workshop on community organizing that covers building and leveraging people-power,76848_10202867522349938_1685908019_n campaign planning, community led policy change; and how to use our stories to win battles.

This workshop focuses on skill building while recognizing the considerations of organizing in Indian Country. Because of historic underfunding in Indian Country, organizing infrastructure is lacking. This training is an opportunity to bolster that infrastructure through relationship building, peer support and coordination with other Natives who are doing community organizing. This workshop prepares organizers for leading a community driven campaign on the issues and concerns that are relevant to Indian Country. Read more

The Struggle is Real – Changing the Conversation in Montana

When the Montana Department of Corrections issued its 2013 Biennial Report , the department’s own numbers finally substantiated exactly what the community has known all along: Montana is disproportionately locking away Natives.photo (9)

One out of every five men in prison in Montana is Native American – far above the rate that Natives are represented in the state’s general population. About 36 percent of all women incarcerated in Montana are Native.

Prisons are rooted in a long history of racism and oppression in this country.

The faces of this problem are not only Black and Latino, but also Native. It’s not exclusively an urban problem, restricted to the ghettos of Chicago and New York. Rural America is also locking up people of color in disproportionate numbers.
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Native Americans Train to Defend Mother Earth

On August 23rd, Alliance affiliate, Indian People’s Action of Montana opened camp for a 3 day Direct Action training camp. Indian People’s Action brought Moccasins On The Ground to Montana. Drawing Native Americans from across the country to defend Mother Earth they trained activists in nonviolent direct action to stop the Keystone Pipeline that the Canadian developer, TransCanada is building to carry crude oil from the Boreal Forests of Albert, Canada across the United States to the Gulf Coast.

Many Native groups believe that the Environmental Impact Study did not adequately consider potential damage to American Indian Tribes and Tribal members in Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, whose water aquifers, water ways, cultural sites, agricultural lands, animal life, public drinking water sources and other vital resources could be damaged by the project.

100 trained defenders of Mother Earth and Sacred Waters

100 trained defenders of Mother Earth and Sacred Waters

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