Thursday, February 25, 2016

call to support sentencing alternatives

SUPPORT HB 1382: An Act to Provide Community-based Sentencing Alternatives to for Primary Caregivers of Dependent Children Convicted of Non-violent Offenses

Please call before 3/16/16. Below is from:

Right now in Massachusetts we have a unique opportunity to reduce the trauma and suffering prison causes families in the Commonwealth - in particular on mothers and their children.

Sixty-five percent of women in prison are mothers of children under the age of eighteen. Mass incarceration most brutally effects Black and Brown people, who are more likely to face imprisonment and receive harsher sentences for the same offenses as whites. Black women are the fastest growing population of prisoners, often convicted of nonviolent drug offenses and poverty crimes. Because of these staggering racial disparities in the criminal justice system, one in nine Black children have had a parent in prison.

House Bill 1382, an Act to provide community-based sentencing alternatives for primary caregivers of dependent children, would allow parents convicted of nonviolent offenses to continue caring for their children while they complete an alternative sentence like job training, counseling, or drug treatment. It would require that judges consider a person’s caregiver status before sentencing them. The bill was crafted by formerly incarcerated women who know the pain of being separated from their children; it is a policy rooted in love and what’s best for all of our families.

The Judiciary Committee must take action on HB 1382 before March 16 or this critical legislation will die in committee. Please call the members of the Judiciary Committee and urge them to support House bill 1382 by issuing a favorable report on the bill, and recommending it for a floor vote.

Let your legislators know you support alternatives to incarceration that will make Massachusetts safer and our communities stronger by reducing recidivism, decreasing excessive spending on prisons, and ensuring that parents can keep caring for their kids.

Call today and invite your friends to do the same!

Districts and phone numbers of committee members are on this link:

Even though my town wasn't on the list of districts with committee members, I still called my state Senator to ask her to support it however she could. You could do the same:

Thanks for your help with this important legislation, D

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uncomfortable conversations and gentrification

A friend sent me this link: Awkward, uncomfortable conversations about racism worth it from

It reminds of the Knapsack group agreement: lean into discomfort. We still meet to talk, even when it isn't easy.

We discussed diversity in our neighborhoods during the 4th Anti-Racism in the ‘Burbs meeting last Sunday. It was not easy. I got a headache and it lasted all evening. Because this work is not easy...and I care so much and don't know how much we are helping the fight for equality among the races with our conversations. The link I posted above says that the conversations matter. Others tell me that too.

One of the things we discussed during the meeting was that it was easy to say we support diversity in our neighborhood.  

But, it was asked, how do People of Color (POC) benefit when white people move in to neighborhoods POC are the majority of? This can lead to gentrification, which is not so good for POC. We did a reading from Colonize This! about the gentrification of the Mission District in San Francisco. It was informative. I recommend reading this book, or at least that chapter if you are interested in learning about gentrification from the perspective of someone who didn't benefit when white people took over a neighborhood.

And, it was asked, what are we willing to give up so that people who generally have less privilege can have equal rights and opportunity? I would give up: comfort, time, privileges, money...

I want to hear your responses to this. Please comment below.

Our next Anti-Racism in the ‘Burbs meeting is Sunday, March 20, 2016 from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM (held in Medfield, MA). Use the link above to to learn more and sign up.  The March meeting topic is covert and overt racism, micro aggressions (sharing our personal experiences). It probably won't be an easy conversation, but it will matter.

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” ― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

"What was once overt and thought to be right is now thought to be wrong but has become covert." ― Frank H. Wu, Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White

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