Dear CCWP Community,
2017 has been a hard year for all people who seek justice in the world. At the same time, it has been a year when we have all pushed our limits to resist a system that is ramping up white supremacy, anti-immigrant fever, misogyny, transphobia, xenophobia and hate of all kinds. CCWP has responded by intensifying our work on behalf of people living in California’s women prisons – rejuvenating and expanding our visiting teams, pushing forward with campaign to DROP LWOP sentencing, and building a new CCWP chapter in Los Angeles.
One of CCWP’s major highlights of 2017 was our statewide retreat in September. There, we reaffirmed our collective commitment to nurture creative forms of radical sanctuary inside and outside of prison and prioritize mutual aid and grassroots advocacy.
At the retreat, we welcomed members of our new CCWP chapter based in Los Angeles, a major step forward in building our capacity across the state. Our growing L.A. chapter reflects the tremendous amount of dedicated work that has been done with people at CIW and their loved ones over the past couple of years in response to the suicide and in-custody death crisis there.
- Launched the Drop LWOP campaign! We sent thousands of signed postcards to the Governor urging him to commute LWOP sentences. This year, he has started to grant commutations for the first time, including two women we work with, Sue Russo and Liz Stroder. Almost 30 other people at CCWF and CIW who filed petitions for commutations have now been interviewed. We also partnered with people at CIW to hold a powerful LWOP town hall inside the prison! Over 100 people participated, building strength and community for the 36 people at CIW serving LWOP
- Pressured the California State Auditor to release a highly critical report of CDCR suicide prevention and response policies, focusing on CIW. The report confirmed everything CCWP had been saying for years – but its proposals for change didn’t go far enough.
- Filed a lawsuit, working with Siegel & Yee law firm, against the CDCR for egregious incidents of excessive force used by correctional officers at CCWF against gender non-conforming and trans survivors of sexual trauma and violence.
- Stepped up to support immigrant women in detention by demonstrating at the Contra Costa West County Detention Facility on International Women’s Day, offering solidarity to hunger strikers protesting horrendous conditions at Northwest and Adelanto detention centers, and supporting CCWP member Ny Nourn who was recently released on bail!
- Began the Share the Fire reading circle with members inside and outside of women’s prisons. All members read the same materials focused on race, gender and prisons and exchange reflections about these thought provoking pieces.
- Supported the passage of many propositions and legislative bills, including SCR 48 (the Felony Murder Rule Change); SB 394 (the Youth LWOP bill); AB 1008 (expanding Ban the Box); and SB 310 (The Name and Dignity Act for Incarcerated Trans People).
- Initiated FireStorm, a new educational project to build international solidarity with women and trans people targeted by the U.S.-led Prison Industrial Complex around the world.
- Continued building our visiting teams, parole support, Fired Up empowerment group in the San Francisco jail, and The Fire Inside newsletter (now in its 21st year of publication!)
All of this crucial work requires resources of many different sorts. Your donation will help us strengthen these efforts in 2018:
- Support the salaries and stipends for our staff members.
- Sponsor expenses for prison visits including car rentals, gas and food for the people we visit.
- Provide stipends for the formerly incarcerated members of our Speakers’ Bureau.
- Contribute printing and mailing costs for The Fire Inside.
We cannot do this without you, our community! Please accept an invitation to be part of this work by:
- Becoming a monthly sustainer
- Making a generous one-time contribution
- Planning a legacy gift through a bequest, a living trust or a beneficiary designation
For 22 years, CCWP has been challenging the impact of state, racist and gendered violence in prisons and on the streets. There has never been a more important time to come together to dismantle the systems that promote violence and hate and build community based on justice and love. Thank you for supporting us in these efforts!