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Formerly Incarcerated People’s Quest for Democracy: Lobby Day May 13 in Sacramento

May 3, 2013

An open call to formerly incarcerated people, their families, friends, allies and comrades

We are seeking your participation in a very unusual event – a day-long grassroots lobbying visit to the California State Capitol led by formerly incarcerated people on May 13, 2013.

Jerry Elster, rep_for_hunger_strikers 080111
Jerry Elster speaks at a rally in support of California prisoners’ hunger strike on Aug. 1, 2011. As the main spokesman for May 13, Jerry says: “Formerly Incarcerated People’s Quest for Democracy is a statewide movement of people who, in these days and time, find ourselves having to fight for the fundamental rights that are espoused by the Constitution of this country. We are not deceived to believe that we are alone in this effort and invite others are equally facing oppressive human rights constraints and restrictions to stand in support of us, as we stand in solidarity with them. We must take a collective stand against any and all discrimination, regardless of the target audience or population. Stand on May 13 with us, the Formerly Incarcerated People’s Quest for Democracy!”
As formerly incarcerated people, we have been told on more than one occasion: “You have the right to remain silent!” However, when the suffering becomes too unbearable and negatively impacts all aspects of our personal, professional, family and community life, we have an obligation to speak up. The need to speak up is especially acute when it appears that this suffering has been designed to outlast our jail or prison sentences.

We invite our brothers and sisters, supporters, allies, friends and comrades to join us and support the formerly incarcerated members of our community who have been rendered silent.

On several occasions we have been asked, why this year? Why not go to Sacramento some other time? Here’s why THIS is an opportune time.

There are currently a number of bills being considered that directly relate to our capacity to thrive as human beings. The stakes are high: our right to vote, our right to work, our right not to languish in a gang database for the rest of our lives, and our ability to seek expungement relief – all these issues are being considered.

We are witnessing the greatest change in the criminal injustice system in over 50 years. If this is not the time, then when?

We are just now beginning to secure support for the buses that will be rolling out of both Northern and Southern California. We are lining up various legislators to support this effort. We are beginning to contact the various caucuses in the state House for support.

If you are formerly incarcerated – please join us! And to all other people of good will, please come out and support formerly incarcerated people in our fight for inclusion. Come out and support us speaking in our own voice. Help us speak truth to power, regain our dignity and make California a better, safer place for all Californians.

Supporting the call:

All of Us or None (statewide)

Project Rebound-Associated Students Inc. (SFSU)

Center for Young Women’s Development/CYWD (San Francisco)

New Way of Life (Los Angeles)

Fathers and Families of San Joaquin

Safe Return (Richmond)

Contra Costa County Interfaith Supporting Community Organization/CCISCO

PICO California

CURYJ (Oakland)

California Coalition of Women Prisoners/CCWP

OneFam (Oakland)

United Playaz (San Francisco)

Homies Unidos (Los Angeles)

Starting Over (Riverside)

Life Support Alliance (Sacramento)

San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper

Occupy 4 Prisoners (Bay Area)

Youth Justice Coalition (Los Angeles)

Formerly Incarcerated and Convicted People’s Movement /FICPM (National)

Legal Services for Prisoners with Children (San Francisco)

Families to Amend Three Strikes/FACTS (Sacramento)

Office of Restorative Justice of the Los Angeles Archdiocese

Justice Reform Coalition

Associated Prison Ministries

United for Change

NMT/The Ripple Effect

FYI Trilogy

Insight Prison Project

Prison Watch Network

California Families Against Solitary

California Families to Abolish Solitary Confinement /CFASC

CURB Coalition

Please share with allies and invite people via facebook and twitter or go directly to the Facebook event page.

For more information, contact:


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