When I faced the hardest situation of my life, CCWP was there for me. The very day I received the tragic news of the death of my daughter, Shaylene Graves, in a California state women’s prison, CCWP reached out to me and my family. Through CCWP’s tireless efforts, my family has been given the strength to ?ght for justice and seek answers in Shaylene’s death. Through CCWP, I have been introduced to other families that share my grief and struggle. All of our families have been given a voice through CCWP’s incredible organization and dedication. – Sheri Graves
Dear CCWP Community,
SHOUT THEIR NAMES! NO MORE DEATHS! BRING OUR LOVED ONES HOME ALIVE! These calls of grief and rage reverberated through a Town Hall in Oakland this past July and two months later at a vigil directly in front of the California Institution Women (CIW). CCWP organized these events working closely with family members of people who have died at CIW due to overcrowding, solitary confinement, lack of mental health services and racist neglect. After three years of insisting that the epidemic of suicide and death at CIW could not be ignored by the prison authorities or the California legislature, we finally succeeded in winning an independent investigation of CIW by the State Auditor, one step towards needed change. Our continued pressure also helped push the dysfunctional wardens at CIW and CCWF into early retirement.
We raised our demands to prison officials and the legislature through media, hearings, vigils, and town halls. At the same time, we expanded our visits to the people inside, encouraging their courageous efforts to support each other. We partnered with the women at CIW to respond to the traumatic impact of repeated losses. We let family members and loved ones know that they did not have to deal with this crisis alone. We were able to sustain this struggle against the callous disregard of the prison authorities and the lawmakers because we built community at the same time as we advocated for systemic policy changes.
Other major highlights of 2016 include:
- A Living Chance multi-media storytelling project was included as part of a major exhibit at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. A Living Chance uses storytelling and art to educate about the injustice of Life Without Parole (LWOP) sentencing.
- Participation in the national Survived & Punished network which helped to publicize and mobilize people to support Bresha Meadows, a young Black woman who was arrested for defending herself and her family from her father who had a long history of abusing them.
- Participation in the Trans Advocacy Group, a collaborative of organizations working to support incarcerated transgender people in California. CCWP helps the group coordinate more consistent support for trans men held in women’s prisons, and advocates for trans women in CA prisons.
- Participation in the SF No More Jails coalition which defeated a proposed SF county jail rebuild in December 2015.Participation in the city’s working group for alternatives to incarceration.
- Continuation of our Fired Up! empowerment group in the SF County jail, our Spitfire Speakers’ Bureau and The Fire Inside Newsletter, now in its twenty-first year of publication.
- Sustaining five visiting teams that provide legal advocacy and support at all the women’s state prisons on a bi-monthly basis and expanding out L.A. team to respond to the CIW crisis.
We cannot do this without you, our community! Please donate today.
- Support CCWP’s work in 2017 on a foundational level by becoming a monthly sustainer.
- If you can’t commit to a monthly donation, please make a generous one-time contribution.
- Please also consider planning a legacy gift for the future through a bequest, a living trust or a beneficiary designation.
Your contribution will support:
- Salaries for our two dedicated part-time staff members.
- Expenses for prison visits including car rentals, gas and food for the people we visit.
- Stipends for the formerly incarcerated members of our Speakers’ Bureau.
- Printing and mailing costs for The Fire Inside newsletter.
Please donate today.
In this grim political moment, we join with people across the country in preparing to resist escalating racist, sexist and economic attacks from a new ultra right-wing administration. Heightened criminalization and imprisonment of immigrants is one of the many planned assaults that we intend to fight. Together, collectively, we will stand firm on our core principles of justice and love.
Hafsah Al-Amin & Windy Click