Every day, we hear about violence in the media, see it on the streets we live in, and feel it through our own experiences of trauma. The past few months have been difficult for us all — from the Orlando shooting, to the Stanford rape case, to the murder of Black men in Falcon Heights, Baton Rouge, and across the nation, to law enforcement taking advantage of young women’s bodies throughout the Bay Area, and to all the other pain that we never hear about.
These painful stories are used to incite fear in our communities and to bring up the fear we may have deep in our hearts. We hear numerous false promises that law enforcement will reform itself, will develop accountability mechanisms, or just needs more money.
We need to be clear that building trust and legitimacy involves us working together, caring for each other, and making sure we are bridging the needs of people that are experiencing violence with true solutions to addressing harm as we fight for a world without cages. We need to remain steady in our demands to create community-based supportive services, care for the most vulnerable, and compassion even when faced with darkness while continuing to fight against structural gender and racial violence.
That is why CURB continues to build a coalition of grassroots organizations that is committed to lasting change, and that does not sway from our long-term vision when met with chaos. We unite a broad array of organizations and link multifaceted issues in the effort to end all the systems of oppression that lead to the mass disenfranchisement and imprisonment of our communities and families.
Here are the voices of some of our members, reflecting on why we collectively fight to take on the many forms of state violence that envelop our communities:
- Patrisse Cullors, Dignity and Power Now and #BlackLivesMatter: “Instead of investing in local police, we ask the administration to defund police departments that have continuously violated the civil and human rights of black people and take an iterative approach to creating new systems. The problem has been acknowledged, which is the first step. But a patchwork approach to solutions leaves too many of our communities vulnerable. The time to act is now.”
- Misty Rojo, Justice Now: “Today California continues to bury women, particularly women of color, under the very system that it builds off our backs. There is this weird claim to want to protect women like me by putting people into these very cages that perpetuate the very violence that resulted in the very traumas that led my to incarceration. The recent exposures of violence against women either at the hands of law enforcement or systemic refusal to hold people who commit acts of sexual violence accountable proves that race and sex are what the system invests in protecting. Yet, there continues to be a disgraceful record of creating racist and expansive laws such as minimum sentencing that reinforce putting women into cages making them vulnerable to invisible daily violence at the hands of officers.”
- Janetta Johnson, TGI Justice Project: “It is important that other Black trans women, especially younger girls and especially formerly incarcerated Black trans women, know that we matter, our actions matter, that we can work together to create a different future. My community needs house keys not handcuffs, needs care not cages, needs jobs and job training, economic power and cultural self-determination. We need safety, real safety. And when Black trans women are safe, in our city, in our society, every single day. When my community is safe, then we can be really proud.”
We ask you to keep fighting with us. We all have roles to play in pushing back against the oppressive forms of state violence and hatred that manifest in our prisons, jails, and detention centers. We all have the power to keep fighting for a community that defines safety for itself and practices care every day. Here are many ways you can plug in and renew your commitment to liberation this month:
- Sept. 9: Statewide Stop Urban Shield mobilization
- Sept. 9: Prison Strike Solidarity Action – Los Angeles
- Sept. 9: CURB Fundraiser – Break It Down: Art and Resistance
- Sept. 9-10: Formerly Incarcerated & Convicted People & Families Movement National Conference
- Sept. 9: Prison Strike Solidarity BBQ, banner making, and film – Oakland
- Sept. 10: Prison Work Strike Solidarity Rally and March – Oakland
- Sept. 10: All Access: Oakland
- Oct. 1: Vigil at CIW: No More Deaths!
Coming together not only amplifies our demands, it also renews our connections to each other and our communities by affirming that standing together collectively is the only way to bring needed change. We will never divide and fall, only collect ourselves into bigger stronger interconnected communities committed to love, safety, health, freedom, equity, and empowerment.
We see you. We love you. Stay strong in our fight.
Californians United for a Responsible Budget