Bend the Arc: South Bay volunteers are organizing for justice at the local, state, and federal levels. Here's how:
1. We're fighting for criminal justice reform in CA
When we fight for local criminal justice reform, we fight for a California that stops criminalizing vulnerable communities — and we directly oppose Trump and Sessions' regressive national “law and order” agenda.
For more than four years, we've fought alongside powerful coalitions on the most pressing criminal justice issues of our time, like winning legislation to end youth solitary confinement.
Since 2016, we've been working with our partners at the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, the ACLU, Essie Justice Group, and more to reform California's money bail system — because no one should be imprisoned for the crime of being poor.
Our South Bay Chapter’s Criminal Justice Reform (CJR) Team supported California SB 10, the legislative proposal to shut down the private, for-profit bail bond industry. We traveled to Sacramento and spoke in open session to California legislators. We organized phone banks in which we telephoned Jewish voters in key districts and made it possible for them to immediately call their California legislator, to support SB 10. We opposed the disappointing last-minute changes to the law that gave arbitrary discretion to California judges. We will campaign hard to oppose the bail and insurance industries’ cynical referendum on the November 2020 ballot to resuscitate their predatory business. Our organizing and education work are igniting the national movement for money bail reform — and our members are bringing the Jewish community to the fight.
In 2019, our Criminal Justice Team will join the California-wide organizing campaign to eliminate the padding of criminal fines with state and county fees that should be funded by general taxes. The fees magnify the burden imposed by the criminal justice system on poor people and make it hard for defendants who have served their sentences to rebuild their lives. We will also educate, organize, and lobby to restore voting rights to people on parole, as part of our larger campaign to make sure that people convicted of felonies can, after serving their sentences, recover their civil rights and rejoin our communities with dignity.
2. We're fighting for immigration reform in CA and across the US.
We are actively engaged in supporting immigrants in our community. Bend the Arc South Bay leads an Accompaniment Immigrant Support Team to stand in alliance with families impacted by ICE detentions. We provide emotional and financial support, work with immigration attorneys to attend court hearings, write letters of support, and take other actions in alliance with immigrant families.
We were in San Diego this past spring to participate in a massive action with our partner Mijente in support of immigrants at the Mexican border.
We partner with PACT-SJ on their Rapid Response project to insure the constitutional rights of individuals being arrested by ICE are maintained.
We work for pro-immigration legislation through contact with our legislators locally, via social media, and face to face in Sacramento.