Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Prison Industrial Compex at the Merc Wednesday May 22 6-9



Harold Fields, who works with the Spirituals Project at the University of Denver, sent me this announcement about an important gathering this Wednesday about the prisons:

"May 22, 6 to 9 pm, the Social Forum Collective presents “Building Prison Industrial Complex with help of the New Jim Crow” at the Mercury Cafe (2199 California Street, Denver, CO 80205.) In this interactive teach-in, we will watch the short version of THE HOUSE WE LIVE IN, then have a lively discussion with our panel of experts, using The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander.

Short bios of our facilitators:

· Theo Wilson is a founding member of the Denver Slam Nuba team, who won the National Poetry Slam in 2011. He began his speaking career in the N.A.A.C.P. at the age of 15, and has always had a passion for social justice. He attended Florida A&M University, where he obtained his B.A. in Theater Performance. Upon graduating, he interned as a full time actor in St. Louis Black Repertory Company, where he was introduced to Slam Poetry, and has never looked back. In 2004, he returned to Denver, winning many local slams against Denver's top competitors. In 2009, he had the honor of placing 5th in the world at the International World Poetry Slam. He teaches and lectures on poetry with the Art-From-Ashes nonprofit poetry therapy organization, and is a proud resident of Denver, Colorado. Theo currently works as a community organizer with the Barber Shop Talk collective, as well as other social change and rebirth collaborative. He has participated as a featured speaker in several TEDx Mile High productions. Theo has opened for performers such as Dead Prez, The Flobots, Bahamadia, Saul Williams, Taylor Mali and Universes. Theo is focused on addressing the New Jim crow from the ground level, dealing with men and women who are currently walking the streets branded as felons and outcasts. Having resigned from working in a correctional facility in 2005, Theo saw firsthand the injustice of the Justice System from inside the walls. He credits this experience with spurring him on to do the work of community organizing in "underprivileged" communities, and is himself a survivor of police brutality. He is happy to engage in this forum.

· John M Riley joined the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition (CCJRC) Board of Directors in 2007 and served as its president for 2 years. John accepted a position with CCJRC as the Coalition Coordinator in Jan. 2011. He retired as the Director of Special Projects from the Colorado Division of Youth Corrections (DYC) after 30 years of correctional employment in Ohio and Colorado. John worked in secure facilities, community correction facilities, assessment units, and as a parole counselor. He was the Director of Foxfire Juvenile Boot Camp, Adams Youth Service Center and Platte Valley Youth Service Centers. John is committed to reducing the use of mass incarceration in Colorado. John's simple goal is to shrink the size of Colorado criminal justice systems and move the savings to treatment, K-12, and college/vocational programming.

· Walter Barrett owner of Barrett and Associates Private Investigations. 5 years in the Colorado Public Defenders Office and 36 years as a Private Investigator, mostly preparing Criminal Defense and Plaintiffs Discrimination litigation cases. Has worked over 100 murder cases including Death Penalty in Colorado and other states. Owner-Creative Alternatives to Incarceration, preparing programs to keep people out of prison while giving back to the victims, their families, communities and the offender. Member of the Steering Committee for PMAAG (Post Michelle Alexander Action Group.) He is also on the Planning Committee for the TCRace Group. Proudly volunteers with VORP, facilitating Restorative Justice for Juveniles, helping to keep them off the school to jail track. He is a foot soldier in the Civil, Gay, Women’s Rights, Pro Abortion, Alternatives to The Death Penalty, and Occupy movements. He speaks in schools, churches, and to community organizations about the Death Penalty, his experiences, Drugs, keeping children from becoming his clients and taking different paths. Helps Run 4 non profit organizations, working with Homeless and other folks in need of support. He's an Urban Farmer and member of the Grow Local Movement, learning and working to assist people in low income neighborhoods grow their own good food, for little money, including working with Returning Citizens who need a natural way back into the world, after being incarcerated."

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This is a crucial issue about whether America, the largest police state in the world with 2.3 million prisoners (25% of the world's prisoners) and another 5.1 million on probation can claim to be a free regime. See here, here, here and here.

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Reverend Butch Montoya, who works with the homeless, also sent around a letter on a showing of the film tonight the 21st at New Hope Baptist Church at 6:30:

"Metro Denver Coalition
Clergy Police and Sheriff Departments
United Against Violence


If you have an interest or concern about “The War on Drugs,” and the implications of this effort to eradicate the use of drugs, this is a film you must take time to view.

The public showing of “The House I Live In,” is a dynamic and challenging subject captured by filmmakers. The Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition, along with New Hope Baptist Church are sponsoring this showing of the film.

The war on drugs had essentially failed to meet the goals and vision of the people most affected by drug use or who are constantly affected by the availability of drugs.

Two of the facts that are simply unbelievable, but true. Since 1972, the War on Drugs has accounted for 45 million arrests and has cost more than one trillion dollars. As a result, the United States has become the world’s largest jailer, and the high volume of drug arrests have destroyed low-income communities, creating a vicious cycle that must stop.

Please read the information below for more the film, “The House I Live In.” I urge pastors and faith leaders to place this on your schedules. It may shock you to see how this war on drugs has failed to help the people most affected by drug use. The lives wasted, mostly Black and Latino and from low in-come communities because of an injustice in sentencing, unjust legislation, and efforts to deal with the problem by placing people in jails.

Please plan to attend on May 21, at New Hope Baptist Church, 3701 Colorado Blvd, at 6:30 p.m.

Blessings/Bendiciones,
Fidel “Butch” Montoya

Let us also remember to keep the people in Moore, Oklahoma which was devastated by an F5 tornado in our prayers. As of Monday evening, 51 known dead, but more than 24 children are still missing in the school flattened by the tornado. Pray for the families of these children and others affected by the deadly storm. The images of this tornado are chilling knowing that so many people were affected by this storm."

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