Tags Marilyn Austin-Smith
Tag: Marilyn Austin-Smith
Bay Area All of Us or None (AOUON) members drove across the country this past weekend to Selma, Alabama, to attend the 50th anniversary commemoration of Bloody Sunday, which included a speech by President Obama and a reenactment of the historical march. They went to speak out about voting rights for formerly incarcerated people as well as the need for an executive order to Ban the Box for federal contractors.
Beginning with a rally held on the capitol steps, it was an emotional day for many, especially for family members of those suffering in the SHUs and prison survivors. The voices of those in the SHU were powerfully present, both in stories told by family members as well as statements they had sent for the occasion. The hearing provided an opportunity for legislators to hear representatives of CDCR present their new policies and weigh the truth of their claims. At the end there was a scant 20 minutes for public input.
Hidden among the almond groves outside of Chowchilla, California, lies the largest women’s prison complex in the world, Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) and Valley State Prison for Women (VSPW), where an estimated 11,000 women are held behind bars. “Conditions are horrible,” said Mary Van Der Horst, a member of All of Us or None, a group of former prisoners organizing for civil and human rights. Van Der Horst said that there is not enough food and hygiene is poor at the two facilities.