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Apr 30, 2018

The Brown Movement Coalition - Joint Statement of Illumination

Rodolfo A. Lopez

keywords: prisoner letter, brown movement coalition, activism

BMC representatives
Brown President Mr. Rodolfo A. Lopez V24087, C2#128
Brown Speaker Mr. Luciano Rivera G30306 C5#203
Brown Secretary Mr. Geronimo Polina AR2513 C3#248
Brown Chief Organizer Mr. Luis Martinez F91559

As always, we send you all strength and solidarity as we speak with the united voice of the voiceless, the chilling screams of the unconquerable and the unbreakable echos of oppression, as we continue to rise throughout it all with no equivocation for our noble convictions.

Coming to the end of a turbulent 2017, we would like to first always thank you for your unshakable resolve and resilience as we continue to lead the vanguard for change against all odds and many instruments of oppression. We’ve continued to take steps to combat many years of institutionalized racism, discrimination, abuses of power, and oppression. However, we must remain vigilant in our justified fight to combat these abuses, as nothing coming by easy means is ever even worth obtaining in a world where we dedicate our lives to a cause much greater than ourselves.

Nothing is ever given freely.

The arbiters of oppression seek to extirpate our many accomplishments, from prop 57, AB 260, an eye on revalidation etc, by blatantly violating California bills, passing more obfuscated draconian policies, continuing duplicit practices in a culture of corruption and imposing more harassment and barriers for us all to fall victim to. As the end of the Ashker agreement observation period comes to an end, we need to continue to challenge these draconian actions abuses and policies. Looking forward into 2018, we will meet the plastic faces of oppression with the strength, unity, resilience and resolve of the oppressed.

The Brown Movement Coalition hopes our words and reflections bring forth some form of truth in a watered down world full of lies and deceit. As always we stand for all the colors and shades of the oppressed, our brown sisters and brothers, our united women’s struggle for equality and life free of abuse, discrimination and harassment. We stand for the humane treatment or migrants (immigrant) families, education (long live Malala), the eradication of poverty and world wide hunger and unequivocal prosperity and equality for all the minority lower class (MLC) communities. As we continue to illuminate all shades of brownness our movement represents, we stand tall for all of our disenfranchised people suffering under the many heels of oppression.

May 2018 bring better stronger, more well versed and illuminated women and men standing tall, rising on both sides of these walls and chains, that can never contain nor define us. We now see the sunrise at the edge of the struggle as we continue our united rise. This year the Brown Movement Coalition will seek to focus on working with Scott Budnick and the Anti - recidivism Coalition (ARC) and many other strong, resilient advocates to push for instrumental bills, policies and laws without loopholes or room for manipulation, extending the Ashker agreement observation/overview period, pushing policies to give all prisoners the opportunity to get a release date (ending LWOP) and improved meaningful programing with a true focus on rehabilitation. We will dedicate our efforts to one of the most essential aspects of rehabilitation: family connection and reunification. We know the well documented value of connections with family and friends as a major catalyst for change and rehabilitation. We seek to focus our efforts on passing a bill to provide video messaging/communication in addition to ongoing in person contact visits and reasonably priced phone calls. Please contact us directly if you are interested in working with us on this.

We in the Brown Movement Coalition challenge you all to grab hold of your own destiny, define your own reality and assure that your beliefs and struggles are more than just fashion statements to inflate your own careers and egos in the form of a hashtag. To those that claim to be standing for something (#brownlivesrising), we challenge you to take a stand, be proactive in challenging mass discrimination, seek that which allows you to grow and rise.

It is said throughout our religion, as a follower of Ometetl ( the Lord of Duality) and the path of the Tolteca’s ( great artisans) that only by looking deep within oneself will we see and reveal our true essence and self in a poetic reflection/in - xochi, in cuique/flower song ( poem) which is our only truth on earth - and once reflected in it’s true essence it will live forever and become immortalized beauty. We challenge you all to look deep within yourselves to reveal your true essence in this poetic illumination #in-xochi-in -cuiquechallenge (#poeticjusticechallenge) on the civil and human right cause you stand for. Should three days pass without a true reflection, we challenge you to donate organizations you wish to support while challenging 3 more of your friends or family to do the same.

I know we all shine and illuminate through the times, as always I challenge myself first.
You have my best, as we rise together though the challenges that lie ahead - see you in 2018.
Happy (Belated) Holidays from the BMC.
In strength and solidarity Mr. Rodolfo A. Lopez
Box 5006
Calipatria CA 92233
#in-xochi-in -cuiquechallenge
#poeticjusticechallenge

Sep 19, 2017

LETTER: Letter to Equality

Arthur "Wrinkles" Cain

keywords: prisoner letter, equality

Dear Equality,

It’s my sincerest hope that you are doing well in our existence! I know we don’t necessarily know one another, but I felt this missive was a necessity. For years, I’ve heard of you from my elders, and saw very distorted images of you. I say distorted because your image didn’t resemble the definitions/descriptions given to me. I vividly remember closing my eyes while my parents spoke of you. I tried to visualize how you looked, talked, treated others, and what would you say to me whenever we formally met for the first time.

It’s crazy because all my life, I’ve only been limited to glimpses of you. Sometimes, I feel duped by every person who told me these inspirational stories of you – about how you’re supposed to have everyone’s best interest at heart and how “your persistence would be our Saving Grace and change the world.” It might be fair to say that your intentions are good, but the execution poor. I look around this vast landscape we call life, and I can hardly see you at all. As do many, I’ve spent days and nights trying to convince myself that any day now, you’ld appear, and all would be right in the world.

Suddenly, reality hits me hard with the weight of its horrid truths – one being, how just a few months ago, we had a fair and decent President who was opposed at every turn, just because he was Black. While some would argue this point, It’s my opinion, therefore, I’m sticking to it! Then, there’s this sad but true fact: the American criminal justice system seems to consistently ensnare Blacks/Mexicans and Hispanics at an alarming rate, as if the laws aren’t applicable to all nationalities. Don’t get me wrong, I’m in no way implying that people don’t have choices they make in their life, but your presence or lack thereof matters!

I’m also not implying that races other than Blacks/Mexicans/Hispanics are suddenly not being targeted, because that wouldn’t be conducive to my point. What I’m saying is that you and only you can level the playing field, but you seem to enjoy the calamity and chaos the ensues without your presence! I’m almost positive that if I could somehow talk to the Philando Castilles, Trayvon Martins, Eric Garners, Michael Browns, Sandra Blands, Freddie Grays and Walter Scotts of the world, and ask them what they think – ‘Did the lack of your presence play a major part in the extermination of their lives?’ – they would all confidently say, “yes!”

Though many have tried, they never seem to acquire you when they need you most! That’s truly disheartening considering I live in a country that speaks of you so highly! Even for the countries that don’t have a real sense of you, I’m sure they still have hope that when they hear of you, you one day will appear in tangible form. For decades I’ve seen and heard people cry out for you – even heard a very profound speech by a very profound man, in which he professes to “…. have a dream” that you would simply show your face.

I imagine if he were still alive, he’d still be looking. You have so much untapped potential; if you would only manifest yourself the way you’ve been advertised! I can only hope that one day soon, you start to have faith in those who seek you – the same way they have faith that you indeed do exist. They just need evidence of your existence!

Apr 30, 2018

LETTER: Official Public Statement from Prisoners United of Silicon Valley

Prisoners United of Silicon Valley

keywords: prisoner letter, activism, prisoners united of silicon valley, abuse, hunger strike

Our appreciation and a strong embrace of respect is extended beyond these walls of Santa Clara County Jails to all those who support our current hunger strike in our attempt to bring about meaningful positive change and equal application for all detainees through the equal application of policy.

Now, just to update everyone on what’s going on we are now on our 8 the day of not eating food. Finally late last night we got weighed. As suspected our participants who are the heaviest actually had the most to lose. In this location alone, the most one individual lost was 22 pounds. Personally I lost 10.2 pounds in 7 days, I now weigh 157.2 lbs and that is not including any weight that I may have possibly lost today. So aside from dizzy spells, massive headaches, severe stomach cramps, drained energy, muscle spasms, bones aching, and the inability to focus and defecate for 6 days, we are now also experiencing rapid, dramatic weight loss. Some are experiencing morning nosebleeds and I personally have periodic blurred vision. Please understand that we do not convey this message for the purpose of gaining nor seeking sympathy as that would possibly serve as a distraction to our true message and undermine the experience of our collective sacrifice. Instead, we seek to gain more and continued support. We welcome empathy and we ultimately strive for positive change, transparency and equal treatment through application of policies.

We also believe it is important to understand that we are fully aware that regardless of our determination our bodies may eventually fail us, shut down, go into cardiac arrest, so on and so forth. So, of course we do not want to starve ourselves, we are not into self-torture, we are not driven by ego, any gang purposes and we are not simply a few disgruntled prisoners.

We have continuously utilized, exhausted all avenues, remedies available to us seeking equal treatment only to continuously be ignored or denied regardless of new policy changes on paper. Unfortunately, there still remains a discriminatory gap between written policy and its physical practice that classification administration has not yet corrected. Just as Sheriff Laurie Smith, the Board of Directors and Administration have not and will not answer emails or calls of concerns about your loved ones who are striking within this jail. Our calls for due process and equal application for already existing policies are also ignored.

Many of us have spent over 3+ years in solitary confinement. Eventually we were moved to a secretive, more restrictive location which operated a pilot program. Literally we were stripped searched several times a day. We were deprived of fundamental bare elements of human existence for approximately 6-8 months we were not allowed to go outside, we were not allowed one single breath of fresh air, and not one single ray of sunlight touched our skin. Other severe psychological tactics were applied to try and break us down as men. We were grossly discriminated against and there was no due process afforded to us. This was done regardless of the fact many of us, myself included, are not here for violent charges, and do not have any violent in house infractions.

Some positive changes did come about after Michael Tyree’s death by the hands of three deputies, our first hunger strike in 2016, and the Chavez v Santa Clara County Jail class action lawsuit. Of course we do recognize and appreciate these changes. However there are still detainees who remain in solitary confinement, now called restrictive housing. They have been there for 1 to 2+ years with no end in sight, as they are not afforded any real due process. In addition there are many of us who regardless of our good behavior, we cannot get downclassed to a less restrictive setting, again due to unequal application of classification policy.

These are just some of our experiences and reasons why we believe in what we are doing and we are willing to make the sacrifices in the spirit of change and hope to be treated with respect, dignity and equality. Yes, we understand this is a tough situation and trying times not only for us and our family of supporters, but also for Sheriff Laurie Smith, the Jail Administration and the Board of Directors, but we do strive for a fair and swift resolution.

In closing let me just say, although our bodies are losing weight, energy and strength we still stand firm. Our spirit is determined and strong as we feed off the support of our supporters. Thank you, gracias, in solidarity PRISONERS UNITED OF SILICON VALLEY

Apr 30, 2018

LETTER: Operation Push

Operation Push

keywords: operation push, activism, prisoner letter



Operation PUSH

Florida prison rebels demand a payment for work, end to canteen price gouging and reinstatement of parole incentives

The following message is from a group of prisoners who are spread throughout the Florida Department of Corrections (DOC) (from at least 8 prisons). It was sent anonymously and compiled from a series of correspondences received on November 26 and 27, 2017 by both the Gainesville chapter of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) and the national Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons.

The following text is their message regarding Operation PUSH in its entirety:

FL Prisoners Call for Operation PUSH to Improve the Lives of Incarcerated People and the Communities We Come From
Sending out an S.O.S. to all parties concerned!

We are currently forming a network agency within D.O.C. We are asking all prisoners within the Department of Corrections to take a stand by laying down starting January 15, 2018, until the injustice we see facing prisoners within the Florida system is resolved.

We are calling on all organized groups as well as religious systems to come together on the same page. We will be taking a stand for:

1. Payment for our labor, rather than the current slave arrangement
2. Ending outrageous canteen prices
3. Reintroducing parole incentives to lifers and those with Buck Rogers dates

Along with these primary demands, we are also expressing our support for the following goals:
1. Stop the overcrowding and acts of brutality committed by officers throughout FDOC which have resulted in the highest death rates in prison history.
2. Expose the environmental conditions we face, including extreme temperatures, mold, contaminated water, and being placed next to toxic sites such as landfills, military bases and phosphate mines (including a proposed mine which would surround the Reception and Medical Center prison in Lake Butler).
3. Honor the moratorium on state executions, as a court-ordered the state to do, without the legal loophole now being used to kill prisoners on death row.
4. Restore voting rights as a basic human right to all, not a privilege, regardless of criminal convictions.

Operation PUSH

Every Institution must prepare to lay down for at least one month or longer: No prisoners will go to their job assignments.

Our goal is to make the Governor realize that it will cost the state of Florida millions of dollars daily to contract outside companies to come and cook, clean, and handle the maintenance. This will cause a total BREAK DOWN.

In order to become very effective we must use everything we have to show that we mean business. This is our chance to establish UNITY and SOLIDARITY. This is the strategy of Operation PUSH! A voice locked up is not a voice unheard!

Slave labor

We are encouraging prisoners throughout the DOC to band together in an effort to demand payment for work performances.

One of the main reasons why we’re demanding payment as opposed to gain time is because the DOC is bent on taking something we’ve earned away and using it against us to restructure new release dates.

Another reason is that $50 and a bus ticket to parts unknown is not working for us, especially if we have conditions that require us to pay out of pocket cost.

The system knows that the odds are heavily stacked against us when we reenter into mainstream society, so they make it look like they’re helping us by giving us $50, but the reality is it’s not enough to do anything with!

With even a modest amount of payment we will be able to save up something to survive outside with; for those with lengthy sentences, they would be able to support themselves inside.

At any event, once we win establishment of payment, this would be the one thing the system won’t be able to take away from us.
While this will be the strongest “Push,” our next concern will be on price-gouging us with items we buy out of canteen.

Price Gouging

We can no longer allow the state to take advantage of our families’ hard earned money by over-charging us, they’re taking food out our mouths!

All prisoners and their family members are getting pimped with these outrageous canteen prices. We want regular market value.

Take for example: one case of soup on the street cost $4.00. It costs us $17.00 on the inside. This is highway robbery without a gun. It’s not just us that they’re taking from. It’s our families who struggle to make ends meet and send us money—they are the real victims that the state of Florida is taking advantage of. We got to put a stop to this!

Parole

The federal government has given every state in the country a choice as to how they wish to use incentives to reward their prisoners. Florida decided to offer gain time as an incentive, however, those who have life sentences and Buck Rogers dates don’t have any incentives.

We are now demanding that the State of Florida bring back parole and come up with a payment for prisoners work performances, as the law required.

Let us demonstrate why these two issues are so important. Take for example someone who has done a ten year bid. In the process he loses all family support and money stops, the letters stop. He finds himself supporting himself the best way he can. In short, the system robbed him of ten years of labor.

He has nothing to show for it so now even if he does his ten year bid with no probation or parole, he’s still a convicted felon, and finding a job is very difficult.

These are the things we’re protesting, and we are currently trying to mentally prepare Florida inmates throughout the DOC for January 15.

WE HAVE TO STRIKE BACK AND STAND FOR WHAT IS RIGHT!

What do you do when there’s no body giving you jack shit and you’re hungry? Add to this you wearing hand-me-downs, looking like you can’t be trusted? This is enough to drive you off the edge and try your hand at stealing, robbing, or selling drugs to make a dollar.

This is not a joke! In fact it’s our reality and for those who do have strong family support, we salute you, but please understand you are the few that are blessed with the foot hold that you have. This is not the case for the over-all majority, and this is the cause of high recidivism rates.

It’s time we reverse the psychology and STAND together. The way to strike back is not with violence as this is what they want! If we show them violence they will have a legitimate excuse to use brute force against us and explain to the public that they had to use brute force in order to contain the situation. However, their weakness is their wallet.

By sitting down and doing nothing, each institution will have the responsibility of feeding, cleaning, and all the maintenance. DO THE MATH.

The more institutions that have to employ outside contractors, the sooner we will see results.

Welcome to Operation PUSH.

Editor's Note: CPF welcomes follow-up on this from participants of the January 15, 2018 action.
A Buck Rogers date refers to a sentence with a far-future parole date.

Oct 07, 2017

A Word from Danny: Education, Preparation, Parole

Danny Murillo, Carole Strickman

keywords: prisoner interview, parole, restorative justice, education

Following is speaker Danny Murillo, sharing his experiences at the Parole After SHU seminar, organized and presented by the Parole Committee of the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition, which was featured in Prison Focus Issue 54.

(The transcript from Carol Strickman's Portion will be forthcoming in Prison Focus Issue 56)


CS: Turning to Danny—you were in the SHU for a while. Can you tell us about your SHU experience, particularly on this programming issue. What kind of positive things were you or others able to do while in SHU that would be helpful to present to the parole board? How can we find ways to talk about that experience and its value?


Danny: I think we covered a lot, so I guess I’ll talk about it from the perspective of the person in the cell. I was not a lifer, but I was in the SHU. I did a 14 year sentence and 7 of those years were spent in solitary confinement. Five of those were Pelican Bay, where I paroled from in 2010. When I got to Pelican Bay there were already programs going on—I arrived April 2005—at that time there was a GED program, a correspondence program through Coastline Community College and another community college, and also a program called the Estelle program, which was a pre-release program for people who were two years or less to the house. And then 2008 comes around, the economic crisis, everything gets shut down—unless you’re going home. If you’re two years to the house, in SHU, you still have access to the college program and the GED program, but it reduced the numbers of participants in the program because the majority were lifers. So that was a hard hit to programming, it went down to three pods and one cell block having access to the college program and that was the pre-release program. So for me, I did a lot of what we talked about—looking at what role I played in ending up where I ended up at.

And at a young age, prior to the age of 13, I was an innocent bystander in three drive-by shootings. I always thought, I don’t want to be that. I was an innocent bystander. For the most part I was just a kid playing basketball, playing baseball, in the wrong place at the wrong time. But by the third time it was already normal. I just thought okay, this is my life. I had friends who were innocent bystanders and had gotten murdered at 14, 15 years old. It just became a way of life and little by little, gradually, a group of young men in my community ended up in that lifestyle. We gravitated toward that in full force. By the age of 16 I was arrested for two armed robberies, a carjacking, and adultnap. I was given a plea bargain of 15 years with two felonies while looking at 75 to life. I had three co-defendants. I was 16, the other three gentlemen were 18 and over and they probably already had a combined time of experience of about 10 years of incarceration. Two of them were in California Youth Authority and my other friend had spent about five years in California state prison. So it was very easy for me to get tried as an adult, because of the people I was hanging out with, people who already had violent records and had served time. So I went into prison wanting to be that too. This is my life, this is the rest of my life, I want to be that guy, I wanna get involved in the politics and all that, and that’s how I ended up getting validated. But my validation, even though I wasn't as heavily involved as I thought I was, I was the guy where someone would tell me, “hey, take this out to the yard, sure, I’ll take this knife out to the yard and I’ll hide it.” That was the extent of my participation, I wasn’t running the yards or anything like that. But I was very active if someone asked me to do something, I would say of course and do it. That was part of the lifestyle.

But once I got validated I was already coming out of the hole. I went into the hole in 2000, did about nine months, and then came out and was in general population for about two years. And then in the summer of 2003 I had gotten validated based on all kinds of confidential information, some Aztec drawings, a dictionary that had somebody’s name and number who I didn’t know but who had just been recently validated in that facility, so that was considered a direct contact for me. There was no actual rules violation where I assaulted somebody or they caught me with drugs or they caught me with knives, just information that gets itemized as gang activity.
I get placed in solitary confinement in 2003 and it took a process for me before I got to the point where I said I don’t wanna do this anymore. It wasn’t until I got to Pelican Bay SHU, where people were asking me what I’m gonna do when I go home in five years. And I just said I don’t want to come back to prison. Well what’s your plan? I was thinking I’ll figure it out when I get out, but people were telling me that’s not gonna work. You’re not gonna go home from here and be able to stay out without having a plan. So you need to start building a vision or a goal for what it is that you want when you go home, even understanding that it might not happen. You have to have this skeptical hope. I’m hopeful but I’m also skeptical because of my record, because of my past, that doors are gonna get shut in my face. But nonetheless, what can I do while I’m here to prepare myself to mitigate those barriers? And that’s also how you have to approach parole. You have this history of violence, activities that the parole board is going to frown upon, but now that you’ve decided to change your life what are you gonna do from here on out to mitigate things like 115s? What can I do?

For me it was really preparing myself through education. I got my GED in 2008 and I had about two years left of time to serve and I ended up enrolling into community college, did four semesters and came home with about 48 credits. For me it was just trying to get my GED and a certificate, which was 18 credits, but I met this man who was a lifer within the SHU. We ended up next to each other and I told him my plan—I’m gonna get my GED and my certificate for general business, I’m done and I’m gonna go home. He told me he wasn’t having that and I was gonna get my AA before I go home, at least as many units as I could get so that I could accomplish an AA after getting out. And I tried to make every excuse. I don’t have the books, I don’t have the resources. He was like, I got you. I already have all the books, I have my AA, whatever you need you don’t have to pay for books or anything. He really encouraged me and pushed me to pursue my education and when I came home, continuing my education was the best decision I could have made. It was a place for me to make connections with counselors, professors, staff that worked on campus that really became my support network and also my professional network.

So I went in at 16, got out at 30, no work experience in my whole life and I get my first job on campus through the Federal Work Studies program where you’re allowed to participate to get financial aid. And I was not barred from receiving financial aid. My case was not a drug case and I wasn’t receiving financial aid during the time I caught my case. So it’s important to understand—you are eligible to receive financial aid. You come home thinking you can’t get things like that, but you can, you just have to do the research. And you’ll find out that there is a treasure chest of resources out there that you can tap into. So I got my first job on campus, I ended up getting three different jobs on campus that allowed me to create three different references and to have a resume where you can show different positions. After two years in community college and learning that the resources were there, I ended up transferring to UC Berkeley in 2012.
Immediately after I got there I met a friend who was also in solitary confinement, my friend Steven Czifra, and me and him together with a group of other students who were formerly incarcerated and system impacted created a student organization called Underground Scholars. And about a year after that we got funding from the university to create a program. And one of the things for us was always taking into account that first and foremost, focusing on the students who were there and formerly incarcerated, but also then once we started to expand, understanding that we can play a support service role for the folks who are coming home. So we started an in-reach program—our in-reach program is our prison correspondence program with people who are inside, particularly with people who are lifers. So people who are taking college courses in prisons, who are lifers, write to our prison correspondence program, we encourage them to write us and tell us about all the accomplishments they’ve done in there. Or just personal accomplishments like getting an Anonymous certificate or a Restorative Justice certificate, whatever it is. Write to us and give us a list of all your accomplishments and we will write a letter of support to the parole board.

We’ve been lucky, not just having an opportunity to get back now, and it has shown—we have written numerous letters that have helped get people parole. We’re not saying that it was just our letter that got people out, but it’s part of that basket that the gentlemen back here was talking about—these are the resources out here that are gonna help you hit the ground running and be in a position to tap into the resources that are available. Also also taking into account that we are at Berkeley, and not everybody that paroles is going to go to Berkeley. Some people might go to San Diego, or parole to LA, parole to Shasta, so what we’ve done is been able to connect with all of the other student programs and other formerly incarcerated students’ clubs across the state so that when somebody does get out, we tell the parole board they may not come to Berkeley, but if he goes to San Diego, there is an organization of formerly incarcerated students there that we are going to connect him with. We’re going to connect him with the Underground Scholars at UCLA if he goes to LA. If he goes to Santa Barbara, we’re going to connect him with the transition program at Santa Barbara City College. We look for programs wherever people are going to go to and we try our best to connect them once they get out and have someone out there waiting for them at the campus.
There is nothing more important when you get out of prison and you decide to go to school, to see a face that you can relate to. When you walk in through that Admissions door to see a face that you’re going to be able to connect with and be able to understand. Look, I don’t know how to use a computer—I’ve been away for 30 years. So someone there can connect you to that process. Just that little interaction can put your plans to the side, can pretty much bring everything to an end. If you go to a campus and say you need help filling out your application, and they say oh there’s a computer over there, get on it—and you might not want to say yo, I don’t know how to use a computer because I was in prison thirty years. So some people would say I’m just not gonna touch it, I’m gonna figure out some other way to do it. So it’s really important to teach people that asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it’s actually a sign of strength. Knowing that you can’t do something on your own and being able to understand that you need to ask for help is a sign of strength. It is a sign of strength to realize that you can rely on your community through that process. That’s what we try to do.


CS: I think these are really terrific tips, and these formerly incarcerated student clubs are really pretty new, aren’t they? I’m not quite sure how that’s come about but it’s really wonderful, and I like the fact that you said even someone who has been in for 30 years… because it’s never too late to go college, right? And that could be for someone who is coming out and maybe doesn’t have a job but has some support, that could be what their parole plan is. I don’t know how many of the older prisoners are thinking along those lines, but that’s something to consider.


And I just want to say and meant to say earlier, we had invited Jack Morris, the man who was validated and then paroled recently. We had invited him to come and he wanted to come up from LA. He wasn’t allowed to travel—he’s out recently and changing counties so the parole board wouldn’t let him come. But this has been really helpful, Danny.


Crowd question:


How many schools in California do you think have organizations like the ones you described?


DM: Off the top of my head I don’t know, but there’s a website you can look at called correctionstocollege.org that we put together where I work at the Opportunity Institute, and it tells you campus programs, prison programs, and all of the county jail programs.


Crowd comment:


I just wanted to add to what Danny and all the comrades are doing—a lot of people on campus don’t want anybody to know they’re an ex-Con. I find that true today with a lot of friends. What Danny and Sparky and all you guys are doing is really courageous and sets a precedent to say it’s okay to be an ex-Con, or a formerly incarcerated person.


Berkeley Underground Scholars Initiative
2400 Bancroft Way, Suite 7
Berkeley, CA 94704

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