Updates for November Action

As you have heard, East Point Peace Academy is working with the Yet To Be Named Network to prepare our Bay Area communities for mobilization around the November elections. We believe that there is a real danger of political violence regardless of the result, and we also know that this is a moment with the potential of massive transformation and we cannot turn away from it.

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Chances are, you’ve probably been sitting with a lot of anxiety as we move towards November. If so, you are not alone. Part of the anxiety comes from not knowing: Not knowing what will happen in November, not knowing the extent of the violence that may occur, not knowing how this current administration will respond, not knowing how our own communities may respond.

Part of how we choose to respond to the anxiety of not knowing is to reclaim our power, and to know that despite our inability to predict the future, we know the kind of world we want to live in and we have the power to initiate action.

We do not have to simply wait in anxiety, to “see what happens” and react to whatever chaos may ensue. We can envision how we want to engage and what we want to offer to the world in a time of such turmoil. Our actions, intentions, and spirit is not dictated by the chaos surrounding this election.

So, we accept what we can’t know and can’t control, and empower ourselves by being in community and taking action together to fight for the world we want.

This Tuesday, white-identifying people in the Network began a 7-week study and practice group for Remsaa Menakem’s book My Grandmothers Hands. Next weekend, people who identify as Black, Indigenous and People of Color will spend the weekend in a virtual Fierce Vulnerability workshop. These two events are a way for people to drop in to a felt sense of how we want to show up in the world, while we figure out what we want to offer to the world.

There is still time to register for the Fierce Vulnerability workshop, but the My Grandmother’s Hands group has already begun. We are currently creating a process for those who could not make these events to still be able to join our efforts. This will most likely take the form of a weekly mini-workshop where we will share some of our thinking about the how and the what of our plans.

If you are interested in joining us, please check out this recent article from Kazu, and sign up for updated here.

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In the Likely Event of an Attempted Coup

East Point Peace Academy celebrates the efforts of friends and colleagues around the nation who are steadily, diligently preparing for November. It stands to be a November of unprecedented importance and quite likely of unprecedented political and social chaos. An increasing number of us believe that an election-related coup attempt by the Trump administration is extremely likely, and have begun to organize ourselves accordingly. While East Point's efforts are focused on organizing local direct action teams within the framework of the Yet-To-Be-Named Network, we're relieved to know that others are focusing on strategy-building for national mobilization. We expect that the teams we form here in the Bay will soon lend strength to a concerted nationwide effort to protect the most basic tenet of democracy: to count and honor the votes of the people.

We encourage courageous conversations during the coming days. One of the most powerful enablers of authoritarian takeovers is the psychological denial of well-meaning people. Sharing with loved ones that what we're seeing today are the tell-tale signs of an imminent authoritarian power-grab is key to building community readiness to actively and effectively respond. 

And we encourage folks to get plugged into the growing movement! Check out East Point's local offerings, geared toward the formation of local direct action teams: My Grandmother's Hands Study & Practice Series for White-Identified People and Fierce Vulnerability for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color).

And also check out ChooseDemocracy.us, a national effort to protect the fragile remnants of our democracy during this wild election season: "by voting, making sure all the votes are counted, and preparing to take the streets in the case of an attempted coup." Our friends, social movement giant George Lakey (check out George's talk during East Point's "Where Do We Go From Here?" Speakers Series) and community organizer and author extraordinaire Daniel Hunter (check out Daniel's powerful organizing guide Building a Movement to End the New Jim Crow) are two of the engines behind this important effort. We're hoping that a critical mass of folks in the wider East Point community will attend the two-part training sequence that George will be offering with co-facilitator Zein Nakhoda, September 23rd and 30th, titled "How to Beat an Election-Related Power Grab by Donald Trump". We're hopeful that this training will spark ideas for how Bay Area changemakers can contribute to this pivotal national struggle. Toward that end, East Point is picturing a local debriefing session after the conclusion of the training.

Lastly we recommend that interested folks check out another powerful offering called Listen, Learn, Act: Nonviolence for Community Safety, led by friends from the Nonviolent Peaceforce. Listen, Learn, Act is a 10-hour training process "designed to support our right to public protest by building capacity in local groups to prevent violence during civil resistance actions and provide protective accompaniment for human rights activists."

Let's get plugged in!! Now's most definitely the time.  

 

 

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Preparing to Offer Something Beautiful

2020 seems more perilous by the moment. We face an unprecedented web of compounding crises: the racial injustice crisis, COVID-19, the newest wave of wildfires and hurricanes - which of course signify the intensifying climate emergency, plus a horrifyingly uncertain presidential election that may be the most fateful, life-and-death election in our nation’s history. 

It’s terrifying. And many of us are struggling to figure out what we can do to make a genuine, noticeable difference. 

Shortly after COVID-19 touched down in the US, East Point launched a virtual speakers series titled “Where Do We Go From Here?”. We’ve had incredible presenters offering deep insights and invaluable guidance for changemakers during these chaotic times. We’ve learned a lot from these friends. 

One of our key takeaways: 
Nonviolence is about stopping cycles of harm; stopping cycles of harm is about healing. 

And another: 
Experimentation leads to learning.

When we’re brutally honest we must admit that we don’t know what to do. We don’t know what it would take to change the horrible course we’re on. As painful as it is to admit this, in a strange way doing so opens up a sense of possibility, and even a sense of relief. The space opens for simple, potent questions to arise: What actions do our hearts and imaginations point us towards? What do we have the power to do? 

While we can’t know what the outcome will be, at East Point we’re convinced that our community has the capacity, creativity and courage to bring something beautiful into the world and to inject a measure of sanity into the madness of 2020. 

We haven’t created a master plan for this “something beautiful”. But we have done our best to listen to how life is guiding us, and to discern next steps for how we might create the conditions for this “something beautiful” to emerge. We’ve decided to focus on two special offerings in preparation for November:

Fierce Vulnerability Weekend Workshop for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and other people of color)
September 25-27 (Five 2-hour sessions beginning Friday evening and ending Sunday evening)

and… 

My Grandmother’s Hands Study and Practice Series for White-Identifying People
September 15-October 27 (Seven consecutive Tuesday evenings, 6:00 - 7:30PM (pacific))

We are envisioning both of these offerings as onramps to the Yet-To-Be-Named Network (YTBN). We anticipate that the Bay Area YTBN community will be a dynamic hub for action and organizing leading up to the November election. If you want to join us in preparing for that work please register for one of the above offerings.

We have been deeply inspired by the recent surge of popular uprisings. And yet, we continue to seek a place in this larger movement ecology where the work is seen and understood as healing work, and where the aim is to honor the dignity of all life and move us closer to Beloved Community. May it be so!

 

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Trauma Informed Direct Action

Fighting injustice can trigger trauma — we need to learn how to process it and take healing action

Are we simply trying to “shut shit down,” or do we want to open up this nation’s wounds and clean out the infections so that we can all heal?

Originally published on August 18th, 2020 by Waging Nonviolence. Republished here under a Creative Commons license. Click Here for the original article. 

Mourners from the Reparations Procession in front of the Oakland City Hall

We are traumatized. Let’s start there.

Trauma can be defined as your body’s reaction to experiencing or witnessing something deeply disturbing. Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a condition caused by exposure to a distressing event “outside the range of usual human experience.”

A global pandemic. The resulting economic crisis. Videos of police killing unarmed Black people. Images of federal troops in military fatigues and assault rifles confronting protesters every night. The global climate crisis. The ever-increasing population of houseless people. Trump.

One could argue that none of these things are within the “range of usual human experience.” Even if you have not been directly impacted by them or do not know anyone who has gotten ill from COVID-19 ― and even if you have a stable income, have never been attacked by police and live in a wealthy community ― witnessing these events in the media over and over can cause what psychologists call indirect, insidious or vicarious trauma. We absorb it simply because there is so much of it in the air.

Perhaps you have noticed signs of trauma playing out in your own life, in your relationships and in your household. Common responses to trauma can include anxiety, short tempers, hyper-vigilance, withdrawal, fatigue, cynicism, lack of empathy and restlessness, among countless others.

And in recent months, I have witnessed all of that come pouring into the streets and manifesting as collective trauma.

I don’t know if I am overreacting, but I feel like in my 39 years on this planet, I have never witnessed a time when things felt so fragmented and polarized, where things are so heated that it feels like society is tearing apart at the seams. Whether it’s protesters getting shot and run over, deadly violence over face masks or the general tragedy that passes for our political system these days, I feel like we are experiencing a collective trauma response.

When trauma is triggered, our neocortex ― the part of our brain that gives us the ability to reason, think through consequences, solve problems and take in and process new information ― becomes disengaged. We begin operating from the less evolved part of our brains: the limbic system (responsible for emotions) and the reptilian complex (responsible for survival instincts).

When trauma is triggered, our lives may not be in actual danger, but our brains don’t know that. Our survival instinct kicks in, and we lose the ability to see nuance and see everything in black and white. Something is either threatening or it’s not. Something is either right or it’s wrong.

When trauma is triggered, we lack the ability to take in new pieces of information, to be creative, consider different perspectives or think about long-term consequences. If our lives are being threatened, there is no time to consider any of that. You simply need to react, to fight or run away so that you can stay alive.

When trauma is triggered, everything feels escalated even if it is not. The brain floods your body with adrenaline and cortisol, leading your muscles to tighten. You begin to feel that the next threat is around every corner. And that sort of hyper-vigilance goes against our natural resiliency.

A Black/white worldview. An inability to see nuance. Struggling to think about long-term strategy. Being unable to consider different pieces of information.

Sound familiar?

And it’s happening on all sides.

I believe that Trump is an incredibly traumatized individual who has not had any opportunity for real healing. And him acting out of a place of trauma is waking up the trauma of a lot of his followers and supporters.

And in movement spaces, activists are constantly facing militarized police violence and having conversations about historical trauma ― oftentimes in unskillful ways that open up trauma but do not help move through them.

And then we hit the streets, and it’s trauma meeting trauma. And that is not an interaction conducive to healing.

Spaces for nonviolent direct action can be intense, scary and easily trigger a trauma response. And yet, those spaces are critically important right now to push for change. Our responses to violence and injustice have to match the escalation that it is responding to. And we are responding to incredibly escalated forms of harm. Nothing short of a direct confrontation with the systems of power feels appropriate.

So how do we engage in those spaces in a way that is likely to bring about healing? How do we not meet trauma with trauma, panic with panic, fire with fire? How do we build movements that can tactically “shut down” a highway, while leading with a spirit of “opening up” possibilities for healing and transformation?

Study trauma

Racial justice advocate and healer Victor Lee Lewis says that every activist needs to have some understanding of neuroscience and how trauma works in the body. In addition to classic literature on nonviolence strategies such as Gene Sharp’s “The Politics of Nonviolent Action” or Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals,” we should also be studying books like “My Grandmother’s Hands” by Resmaa Menakem, “The Body Keeps the Score” by Bessel van der Kolk and “The Politics of Trauma” by Staci Haines.

Names like Peter Levine and Brené Brown should be as commonly spoken in organizing circles as Grace Lee Boggs or Leonard Peltier.

This nation is undergoing a collective trauma response. Trauma, whether it is manifesting in one individual or in a collective, will exhibit the same characteristics, and will require similar strategies to heal. The more we can understand the dynamics of trauma, the better position we will be in to help us move through it.

Move through trauma

Preparing our communities for nonviolent action should not only consist of the traditional “nonviolence” training methodologies ― blockades, medic training, legal observation, etc. It should also include learning emotional regulation tools in the short term, and a long-term commitment for each of us to learn about our own triggers and heal from our own wounds.

Gandhi spoke of the importance of “self-purification” as part of the spiritual preparation for a satyagrahi ― a nonviolent warrior. The language of “trauma healing” did not exist in his time, but part of our emotional and spiritual preparation as we get ready to face potentially traumatic events (getting tear gassed, pepper sprayed, assaulted and arrested) should be to have some awareness of how much unprocessed pain, grief or resentment we are holding, and releasing enough of it so that we are heading into the streets with spaciousness in our hearts.

Emotions like grief and rage are not only natural, but critical for us to honor and embody. And yet, I can’t help but feel that direct action ― with the yelling, the tear gas, the public and fast-paced nature of these spaces ― is not the most productive or safe space for us to be releasing unprocessed grief and rage.

Instead, we need to be creating more safe containers, held by experienced facilitators, that are explicitly designed for the purpose of tending to our grief and our rage. Once we have processed them and moved through them, the raging inferno of emotions can settle into a piece of charcoal: sustained, concentrated energy that is easier for us to utilize in skillful ways.

This is in no way to cast judgement on the outpouring of grief and rage in the streets. Particularly for marginalized communities, each instance of injustice can recall generations of violence for which the state that perpetuated them has never been accountable.

This in only an invitation for us to think hard about the right spaces to do the right work. Not every space can be everything for everyone in every moment. Direct action should be a place where we are inviting society to look at its trauma, not a place where we should feel safe processing our own pains.

Of course, moving through and processing our trauma is long-term work. In the meantime, nonviolence trainings should also emphasize short-term emotional regulation tools, like learning to bring awareness to our triggers, breathing or titration exercises or collective activities like singing. These practices can help us reengage our neocortex in a heated moment.

Shutting it down vs. opening it up

Finally, we need to be intentional about the purpose of our actions. Is it to simply overpower the “other side” and force change down their throats, or is our long-term goal to bring about social healing, transformation and liberation for all?

Are we simply trying to “shut shit down,” or are we trying to open up this nation’s wounds and clean out the infections of white supremacy, patriarchy, capitalism and other forms of separation and domination so that we can all heal?

If it is the latter, then let us be mindful of what kinds of actions may lead to healing. How do we balance the power and assertiveness that we so desperately need in these times, and maintain a commitment to the love and relationships that will bring about healing?

While I certainly do not have all of the answers, I oftentimes think about the power of silent marches, meditation blockades, or actions of spiritual atonement like the Reparations Procession that is currently making its daily walks through the East Bay.

When I was at Standing Rock, the elders told us, as we were preparing to go to town to engage in a direct action, “Remember, you are going to a ceremony.” What kind of creative actions could we think up if we viewed direct action as ceremony, or a modality of healing collective trauma? What possibilities could be opened up then?

In order for us to have that level of creativity, we cannot be in our trauma state. Trauma is not conducive to creative thinking. Which brings us to another paradox of these times ― how do we slow down enough so that we can fully utilize our neocortex and listen to our hearts while addressing the real urgency and opportunity of this moment?

I suppose it can start with something as simple as a breath. As the Rev. René August once said, “The struggle for justice is a marathon, not a sprint. The difference between a marathon and a sprint is in how you breath. Learn to breath.”

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Abundance in the Gift Economy

East Point Peace Academy receives three-year, $300,000 grant!!!

Since the founding of East Point Peace Academy in the fall of 2013, we have always operated on a Gift Economy basis. That means, among many other things, we have had tens of thousands of people come through our doors and we have never, EVER charged a dime to anybody.

It means we have always relied on our community for support, and spend very little time "fundraising."

It means we have always put our work first, while putting all of our faith in the abundance of the universe, knowing that if our work is meant to be sustained, then our community will come together to sustain us. 

It means we have never taken state money or relied heavily on foundation funding. In fact, the only grants we have ever received have been cases where the funder reached out to us and offered us unrestricted support. It has always been through trust and relationship, not fancy grant-writing. 

It has also mean that we are - by design - a small organization with a small budget, never spending much more than $100-120,000 per year. It means that we believe in slow growth, and that bigger is not always better.

Seven years of this faith has resulted in an incredible opportunity for us. Over the last several months, we have been in dialogue with The Kataly Foundation, a new foundation supporting social change organizations. This also, was based on a trusting relationship with one of its key advisors. And, because of the relationship, we were just alerted that East Point Peace Academy will be receiving $100,000 a year for three-years. 

One reason why we have not been active in seeking foundation funding is because large funding like this often times comes with strings attached. In this case, all the funding is unrestricted.

Other times, funding comes with incredibly burdensome reporting processes that take us away from the actual work. With Kataly, there is very little reporting required.

And often times, funding comes only one-year at a time, with the grantee organization having to prove ourselves over and over again, each and every year. With Kataly, a three-year commitment with the possibility of increased funding in each year shows that, above all, there is trust.

We are so honored, humbled and grateful to the Kataly Foundation for its incredible support. Not just in the money amount, but in their commitment to work through trust and relationship, not contracts and reporting requirements. This is the true nature of the Gift Economy. 

It feels incredible that, in the midst of a global pandemic and economic insecurity, we find ourselves more financially "secure" than we've ever been. And, to be honest, I personally have had to adjust to that. When we first got the notification of this grant, it made me uncomfortable. We've always been a small, rag-tag group relying on faith to get through each month.

I realized at some point that I had grown attached to that image. But I also realized that this attachment was ego. I was attached to a self-image I had created about myself and about our organization. And once I was able to let go of that attachment, a space was opened up that is allowing myself and my colleagues at East Point to envision what our work could look like moving forward.

We are excited to continue to bring you updates as that vision develops. We are facing times of extreme hardships, but with that comes an incredible opportunity for transformation, and this "security" and abundance will allow us to focus solely on the work that we are called to do.

We want to thank not only the Kataly Foundation, but to everyone who has ever been in relationship with us over the years. It is because of the work that we have all done together that this was made possible. Thank you all, for showing us the truth of interdependence, of abundance, and of the power of faith.

In gratitude,

Kazu

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Reparations Procession 2020: Reflections from an Anonymous Mourner

Note: This piece is written by a mourner who took part in the Reparations Procession, a project organized by a group of white-identified people who remain anonymous as they believe that white people should not be receiving attention or credit for doing the work of racial healing and atonement. East Point Peace Academy is honored to support this project, but it is not a project organized by us. For more information about the Procession and to offer reparations, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/rp2020.


It’s a summer day, and I’m dressing in black—all black. Early in the morning at home, I begin as a mourner in the procession. When I arrive at the Ohlone Shellmound sacred site in Berkeley, that has been covered over with a parking lot, I meet the others who are walking this day. We are masked and keeping our distance because COVID-19 is on the rise again here in the Bay Area. I am given my veil and put it on with help from one of the others who clips it in back to keep it from blowing away in the soft, steady wind that’s blowing. Wearing a veil takes some getting used to; my eyesight isn’t what it once was. The three of us gather around a little makeshift altar that has a single white paper flower on it, some feathers and stones. It’s a plastic milk carton box that will be hidden in the bushes again once we’re ready to walk. We stand in silence for a bit and then share any intentions we have for the walk. I say I intend to be present and to pray my way through the city. Really it’s two cities, Berkeley and Oakland that I’ll be present to and praying for. I fail to mention that my prayers will be mostly grieving prayers. This is a walk of lamentation.

And so we set out single-file and moving slowly, deliberately—along sidewalks, across streets, under the freeway, past all the closed shops, homes, apartments, six rag dolls on a stoop, people going about their business, parking their cars, getting coffee, a man who has made a home for himself with all his possessions in a nook along the way, flowers in surprising little spaces. We walk in silence. That is the heart of this practice—this reparations procession. I am walking slowly and silently. I am present and grieving. I am praying, and present. The veil gives me new eyes to see. I think of the history of this land—even the little of it that I know. Indigenous people lived here on the land, there were creeks that flowed into the bay—covered over now with asphalt, cement, buildings. The land was taken. I grieve. My prayers are simple ones from my tradition—a word with each movement of my foot, slowly, deliberately, silently. Any people who notice this small procession of mourners in black—those who ask about it—there is one of us designated to answer, and to hand out postcards describing this thing we’re doing: Reparations Procession 2020. A few ask, a few engage in conversation, we mourners walk on slowly, not speaking.

It’s beautiful to be walking with others—this lament. I realize as I walk along that this walk could be—should be—taking place in cities all over the country. There is so much to mourn—so much to grieve, and we have almost no public acknowledgement of our grief. One woman, as we walk, says she would like to join us one day. “They shot my son,” she says.

We walk alongside beautiful murals of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many many others. We pause at St Columba’s Church where there is a mandala honoring Black Lives and Black Lives lost. There are also simple crosses honoring all of those who have died in Oakland this year. First names, ages, date of death. The names are so important. They seem to say to me: “Say my name.” And I do say them, silently. At Oscar Grant plaza the murals and the names are simply stunning. I pause before the one honoring Elijah McClain. “I don’t even kill flies. I don’t even eat meat” it says. Elijah McCain. Say his name.

This is as far as I am walking today. We meet the man who will complete the walk from here to Fruitvale Station where Oscar Grant was shot to death in the back.

Later when I get home to my own city where it has been my practice during these months to walk everyday, I find that my walking has changed. I walk more slowly, deliberately, silently— grieving—the history of this place, the history of racism here, my complicity in the systems and the culture. There is so much to lament, so much to grieve. So much to be faced and changed. The walk is a small thing, very simple, yet at least for me it is important—and a gift.

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Supporting the Reparations Procession

Forty Days of Mourning and Returning

The call to action continues to reverberate. Just over a week ago the school boards in San Francisco and Oakland both voted unanimously to remove police from all campuses in their districts. Such landmark decisions are the consequence of the passionate demands for justice in the wake of George Floyd's murder, but also decades of steady grassroots work on the part of Bay Area organizers, activists, and community members.

Meanwhile, thousands of people throughout the Bay Area continue to take to the streets in marches, rallies, bike and car caravans, and vigils. To stay up-to-date on what's happening you can see a calendar of events here. One particularly special mobilization this past weekend was the 50th anniversary commemoration of LGBT Pride in San Francisco, signifying the powerful intersection and synergy of the LGBT and Black Lives Matter movements. The historic march was attended by thousands.

Here at East Point we've begun to direct much of our energy toward a very special 40-day campaign that's gearing up to launch on July 4th. It's called Reparations Procession 2020. The procession will begin the morning of the 4th, with one mourner - a white-identifying person dressed in mourning clothes - walking 8.5 miles from West Berkeley Shellmound (sacred site of the Ohlone people) to Fruitvale Station (site of the murder of Oscar Grant). A single mourner will make this prayerful journey every day, until a total of $25,000 of reparations funds from white people in the Bay Area have been returned to the Black and Indigenous communities here, in the form of redistribution to local Black and Indigenous-led organizations and initiatives. After $25,000 has been returned, a second mourner will join the procession. Two mourners will now walk the route every day until $50,000 has been redistributed. And so on…

Four mourners will represent $100,000 of reparations. Forty mourners will represent $1 million.

A spiritual process of grieving and atoning for the immeasurable harms of white supremacy, alongside the concrete movement of resources from the white community to Black and Indigenous-led groups, represents a powerful expression of the spirit of Fierce Vulnerability that East Point is all about. We're excited to support this unusual and hopeful project, and we hope you will be too. While the mourners in this procession will be white-identifying people, and the ask for reparations is being directed to the white community, there are plenty of ways for people of color to get involved too. Wherever you are on the identity spectrum, if you want to get involved send us an email: info@eastpointpeace.org. And stay tuned for another announcement when the campaign's GoFundMe page goes live, so we can all spread the word and get those resources moving!

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COVID Outbreak at San Quentin

Image of tents on SQ YardI have been working inside San Quentin State Prison, California's oldest prison, for close to 10 years. In that time, I have met countless people dedicating their lives to peacemaking, and have witnessed incredible courage and transformation. There are dozens and dozens of men inside this prison that I have come to know and to care deeply about.

That is especially why it has been so scary to read updates about the coronavirus outbreak there. On May 30th, CDCR transferred 121 men from the California Institute for Men, a prison in Chino, CA that was dealing with its own outbreak to San Quentin. Despite there being over 500 active cases of coronavirus in that prison at the time, and despite the fact that the 121 people transferred were considered "highly vulnerable," many of them had not received a test in 2-3 weeks. 

At the time of the transfer, San Quentin had no recorded cases of coronavirus. As of this morning, there are 1,082 cases among the inmate population, with hundreds more staff being infected. 

San Quentin houses a large population of older inmates. In addition to so many people being vulnerable to the virus, they are not receiving proper medical care or enough personal protection equipment such as soap and sanitizer. The entire prison is locked down, with men who have been tested positive being housed in temporary tents set up on the main yard.

Recent demonstration outside of San QuentinSan Quentin has a total inmate population of just over 3,500, which means that almost one in three incarcerated people have now tested positive, most of them in the past two weeks alone. And these numbers are with a lack of adequate testing, which means that the real numbers are most likely higher than that.

We are asking everyone in our community to support the incarcerated people of San Quentin, and that prison and state officials act immediately to protect their health, well-being and basic human rights.

Please check out this full list of resources and action items you can take.

You can also sign this petition.

And contact these people:

  1. Governor Gavin Newsom; Public Comment form: govapps.gov.ca.gov/gov40mail/;   (916) 445-2841
  2. Ralph Diaz CDCR Secretaryralph.diaz@cdcr.ca.gov;  (916) 324-7308
  3. Assemblymember Marc LevineAssemblymember.Levine@assembly.ca.gov(415) 479-4920
  4. Senator Mike McGuiresenator.mcguire@senate.ca.gov; (415) 479-6612
  5. Mayor of San Rafaelgary.phillips@cityofsanrafael.org(415) 485-3074
  6. Dr. Diana Toche, Undersecretary Health Care ServicesDiana.Toche@cdcr.ca.gov 
  7. Office of the Inspector General (OIG): Complaint form: https://www.oig.ca.gov/connect/report-complaint/;  (800) 700-5952
  8. Tami Falconer, Ombudsman; tami.falconer@cdcr.ca.gov(916) 324-5448
  9. CDCR’s COVID-19 Triage Department; covid19@cdcr.ca.gov
  10. Jennifer Barretto, Director, Health Care Policy and Administration, California Correctional Health Care Services; Jennifer.Barretto@cdcr.ca.gov
  11. Assemblymember Ash Kalra: assemblymember.kalra@assembly.ca.govashkalra.sj@gmail.com (916) 319-2027, (408) 277-1220
  12. Senator Nancy Skinner: skinnersd09@gmail.comsenator.skinner@senate.ca.gov, (510) 286-1333, (916) 651-4009
  13. Senator Scott Wiener: info@scottwiener.comsenator.wiener@senate.ca.gov,  (415) 557-1300, (916) 651-4011

Much more information, including sample scripts/emails, links to news coverage, social media images to share and more are in the resource list linked above. Our thanks to groups like the Ella Baker Center and Insight-Out Prison Project for helping to lead the charge. 

Please do what you can to share information with your community. 

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East Point Needs Your URGENT Help!!!

Dear Beloved Community,

As you know, we've always maintained a strong commitment to financial transparency. This means that we've sometimes shared news with you that hasn't always been pleasant. And unfortunately, we're in a bit of a pinch right now and we are asking for your support!

As you may know, we've recently switched to a new website. Not only did we switch over to a new website, we left our fiscal sponsor and shifted over to our own nonprofit status, which means that we can start taking in donations directly without a fee. 

This means that payments from all of our monthly donors were cancelled, and we sent emails to you all and asked you to sign up again in our new system.

Aaaaannnndd, that's where the problem started. There is something wrong with our new system, and we have been in contact with tech support for weeks trying to figure it out, but many people are having problems donating through our new site.

This means that 1) we are currently not getting the steady income we typically get from our monthly donors, and 2) it's possible that we may lose a bunch of our monthly donors by the time we figure this out. 

As an organization that relies HEAVILY on support from our community, this is a major loss for us, especially in the midst of the current economy. 

So we are asking our community for support. If you can make a one-time contribution of any amount to help hold us over until we are able to fix this technical problem, we would be so grateful. 

We know that times are hard for so many of us right now, and that there are so many worthy causes to support in this historical moment, particularly for the Movement for Black Lives. But if our work has ever supported you in any way, if it would give you any joy to support the future sustainability of our work, please help us by donating what you can

There are links to our current donate page as well as an alternative donation process in the links above. 

We thank all of you in advance, for all you do to support us and for all you do to support the expansion of Beloved Community.

In Gratitude,

Kazu

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Welcome to Our New Website!!!

After much delay and a few technical glitches, we are SO excited to welcome you to our new website!!!

This new site, built on the NationBuilder platform, will allow us to do more than ever to be in service to you all. We are excited to launch new events, offer new ways for people to engage with us, and make the user experience easier on your end with a streamlined registration process for all of our events.

Please take a look around and tell us what you think! Special thanks to Pamela from Made By Pumpkin, Eric from Safe Computing and Justin from Clear Scope Design for all of your help!!!

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