Free them all! Rename all jails, prisons and other detention facilities in California for Gov. Newsom

by No New SF Jail Coalition

Last week, the No New SF Jail Coalition joined the Sister Warriors Freedom Coalition outside of County Jail 2 in a Banner Drop Statewide Day of Action to echo our community’s calls for California Gov. Gavin Newsom to immediately:

  • Free people from state prisons, use power, including mass clemency and emergency release
  • Stop transfers from state and local custody to ICE and between California prisons;
  • Stop the expansion of immigration detention
  • Hold the detention industry accountable.

The statewide banner drop coordinated dozens of groups from San Diego to Yuba to rename jails, prisons and other detention facilities after Gov. Newsom. We are especially grateful to have been part of this event alongside San Francisco members of the Sister Warriors Freedom Coalition, who are doing rad work to push for decriminalization, decarceration and transformative justice across the state.

As California nears seven months since the initial shelter-in-place order that started a series of COVID-19 protocols, the lives of incarcerated Californians continue to be at risk as the coronavirus spreads inside prisons, jails and detention centers. Despite an onslaught of hunger strikes across detention centers in the state and various meetings to demand Gov. Gavin Newsom use his authority to save lives, he has failed to take real action. Meanwhile, the COVID death toll in state prisons is now 68, and outbreaks in ICE detention centers continue to mount.

Community is calling for Gov. Newsom to keep true to California’s promise to be a sanctuary state and prevent any further infections or deaths, or be complicit in this systemic state violence.

San Francisco is no stranger to Gov. Newsom’s legacy of inaction when it comes to our community members who are in cages. As mayor of San Francisco, Gov. Newsom failed to close the seismically unsafe jail at 850 Bryant, which had been slated for demolition for a decade by the time he left office. 

We are in solidarity with members of our community in calling for Gov. Newsom to keep true to California’s promise to be a sanctuary state and prevent any further infections or deaths as a result of our state’s failure to decarcerate and its shameful cooperation with ICE. Gov. Newsom has the authority to meet the community’s demands and combat the medical emergency that ICE is causing worldwide in spreading COVID-19 – and the crisis in California’s own prisons. To fail to do is so is to be complicit in this systemic state violence.

A recording of the statewide day of action can be streamed at the following link

Whose Streets?!: Abolitionist Street Fair!

Support Mutual Aid FOR Abolition! Donate here.

After hosting five successful online political education sessions since May, No New SF Jail Coalition is wanting to prioritize off-line connections with folks who don’t have access to technology and who couldn’t participate in our online events. 

For this month’s Abolition in Action event, we’ll be hosting a resource fair for street-based folks in the Tenderloin. We’ll have tables with different resource information folks can access, along with resource specialists and organizations folks can speak directly with. 

We’ll also be distributing food, screen-printing free shirts with our “Care Not Cages” and “Libertad” stencils, sharing health and harm reduction supplies, talking about abolition, listening to people’s stories and visions for a jail-free city, and providing financial mutual aid in the form of gift cards. 

While we’re prioritizing folks who are unhoused or street-based for in-person presence at the event, we still need support from our housed community. 

If you want to support giving resources and money directly to our unhoused neighbors, please donate on GoFundMe or Venmo NoNewSFJail-Coalition! One hundred percent of the funds will go via gift cards directly to people who are unhoused or street-based in SF, most of whom are people of color and experience criminalization from SFPD. This continuous criminalization results in a jail population that is over 40 percent houseless. 

Contact the No New SF Jail Coalition at the office of Critical Resistance, one of the coalition members, at 510-444-0484, or email nosfjail@curbprisonspending.org for general inquiries or nonewsfjail.outreach@gmail.com for the Outreach Team.