May 25, 2018
My first five minutes in court were a revelation. Law school prepared me to write motions, make oral arguments and meet with clients. But I was startled when the uniformed bailiff bellowed “All rise!” and rows of working people, family members from all walks of life and suited-and-booted attorneys all scrambled to their feet. I realized I had underestimated the concentrated power of one person in this courtroom constellation whose entrance required a public show of fealty: the judge.
November 4, 2017
In response to a pair of major statewide developments in the fight to abolish money bail, San Francisco public defenders will file challenges in every criminal case in which bail is set. San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi announced today that his office has filed 282 challenges in current felonies and misdemeanors since Oct. 10, representing 14 times the amount typically filed in the same period. Each challenge results in a hearing in which a judge must consider the defendant’s financial circumstances and alternatives to incarceration rather than simply relying on a pre-set dollar amount.
December 31, 2016
We are writing to urge you to commute the sentence of Dr. Mutulu Shakur. He has served more than 30 years in prison for his conviction arising from his participation in the social justice movement of the past century. He is recognized as a leading member of the movement for human rights for African-Americans. Granting Shakur clemency will be an act of grace and healing that is much needed in our racially divided society today.
August 22, 2016
Hurricane Katrina hit 11 years ago. Population of the City of New Orleans is down by over 95,000 people. Almost all this loss of people is in the African American community. The gap between rich and poor in New Orleans is massive, the largest in the country. Despite receiving $76 billion in assistance after Katrina, it is clear that poor and working people in New Orleans, especially African Americans, got very little of that help. Here are the numbers.
July 25, 2016
The No New SF Jail Coalition has been selected to receive the prestigious Hero Award by the San Francisco Human Rights Commission and its Equity Advisory Committee. The coalition celebrated a monumental victory last December, when, after years of community organizing and advocacy, they persuaded the Board of Supervisors to reject plans for a new jail in San Francisco.
June 24, 2015
African Americans in San Francisco are more likely to await trial behind bars than their white counterparts and face harsher punishment once convicted, according to a new study commissioned by the San Francisco Reentry Council.
Unlike previous reports, the study went beyond racial disparities in arrests and focused on unequal treatment in the courts as well, said San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi, who co-chairs the Reentry Council.
December 16, 2014
On Dec. 9, Supervisor John Avalos introduced a resolution to the Board of Supervisors to address racial profiling and the use of force by police officers, nationally and locally, as well as to uphold the right to nonviolent protest. Supervisors David Campos, Jane Kim, Malia Cohen and Eric Mar signed as cosponsors. A final vote on the resolution will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 16, and a large showing of support is vital to its passage.
September 10, 2014
When Dr. Samuel Cartwright coined the term “drapetomania” in 1864, he advanced a historical agenda to secure Black subjugation in America. The logic underlying the continuation and funding of the mass incarceration of the disproportionately Black mentally ill and Dr. Cartwright’s medical breakthroughs is the same: Black people’s mental health cannot be achieved, so society has to maintain extreme and inhumane restrictions on their freedom.
April 23, 2014
Recently, the U.N. Human Rights Committee issued a report excoriating the United States for its human rights violations. It focuses on violations of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the country is party. The report mentions 25 human rights issues where the United States is failing. This piece focuses on a few of those issues – Guantanamo, NSA surveillance, accountability for Bush-era human rights violations, drone strikes, racism in the prison system, racial profiling, police violence and criminalization of the homeless.
January 21, 2013
I have no doubt that Dr. King would be mounting a nonviolent poor people campaign to end rampant hunger, homelessness and poverty today. Let’s honor and follow Dr. King by building a beloved community in America where all have enough to eat, a place to sleep, enough work at decent wages. Dr. King is not coming back. It’s up to us to redeem the soul of America. He told us what to do. Let’s do it.
September 13, 2010
On the fifth anniversary of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Gulf Coast residents are still trying to rebuild their lives after years of broken promises and government neglect. The Gulf Coast Civic Works Act to provide hundreds of thousands of jobs languishes in Congress. Affordable housing eludes both survivors and those displaced by the storm.
January 18, 2010
A new report released today finds that African Americans and Latinos are experiencing the brunt of the economic recession, from joblessness to foreclosures, and that targeted economic policies are required to address the racial economic divide in the U.S.
January 15, 2010
In a precedent-setting decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the state of Washington’s law barring felons from voting on Jan. 5, just in time to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, for whom the issue of voting rights for the disenfranchised was a top priority. The Ninth Circuit ruled that the law violates the federal Voting Rights Act.
April 22, 2009
Angela Davis called for a new movement to abolish what she called “the prison-industrial complex” in the U.S., which has become the largest jailer in the world. “Racism is directly responsible for the fact that the U.S. has become the great incarcerator.”