We are living in a terribly uncertain time. As someone who’s been committed to ending mass incarceration for the last six years of my life—beginning with my own unlawful imprisonment as a political hostage in Iran—I feel compelled to seize this moment and take stock.
There have been many victories, both locally and statewide, in recent years. In California success has ranged from the passing a law to Ban the Box an effort led by formerly incarcerated people to three prisoner hunger strikes igniting a movement against solitary confinement that led to a historic settlement and over 1,000 people being released from solitary confinement.
Yet legislative changes, as significant as they are, are only ever the tip of an iceberg. The real and lasting change has to be woven into the value system of our hearts and minds as a society.
By campaigning against prison and jail expansion and for an increase in health and human services, CURB continues to play an essential part in making and sustaining this cultural shift, strengthening the movement for justice in California by reinvesting in communities.
Policy changes can always be lost, but once culture is shifted towards justice those roots run very, very deep. Every storm we survive makes us stronger and more committed.
What I love about CURB is that they aren’t simply working against something, they are building towards something concrete, something that can’t be lost.
It’s true that these are scary times, and it’s impossible to know what lies ahead, but we are resilient. Together, let’s continue to make society safer, stronger and kinder.
Journalist and Playwright
Supporter of Californians United for a Responsible Budget