Resistance means saying “no” a lot. But, as people who value social, racial, economic, and environmental justice, it feels more in character for us to say “yes”. There’s no better way to say yes to our values, and earn big wins for progressive causes, than by acting locally. California’s laws become models for the whole nation, so when you take action on state-level or even city-level issues, you’re not just helping your neighbors: you’re showing the whole country how it’s done. So today, we’re going to focus on local action.
I want to talk to you about a cause that’s dear to my heart: reforming our criminal justice system, which disproportionately targets and penalizes people of color and the poor. Today there’s local action we can take on the bail system, and it comes from the ACLU of Northern California.
The money bail system lets private corporations cash in on human suffering. Access to wealth is what currently determines who gets out of jail. People who can’t afford to pay bail stay locked up while they await trial; others desperately plead guilty or pay a bail bonds agency for pre-trial release. Costly bail bonds agreements put people on the hook for payments even if the district attorney dismisses the case or a court finds the defendant not guilty of the crime. Poor people have to sit idly in jail for weeks, months, and sometimes years while their cases move forward.
In May, our California lawmakers voted on legislation to overhaul our state’s money bail system. CA Senate Bill 10 and Assembly Bill 42 would make sure that California stops locking people up simply because they cannot afford to pay bail. Both bills prioritize services to help people make their court appearances and curb the state’s overreliance on money bail. The Senate approved SB 10 with bipartisan support, but AB 42 stalled in the Assembly. See below for your request to Assemblymembers.
The July recess is winding up tomorrow, leaving only two more weeks for Republicans to pass TrumpCare before experts say it’ll be dead in the water. This fight is still not over, but the biggest battles will be waged in districts with Republican Senators who remain undecided or who plan to vote no. Paul has reached out to our friends at Indivisible Charleston, asking how we can support them during this last critical push. Meanwhile, if you want to be inspired, check out #SitInSaveLives on Twitter for photos, videos, and reports from the protests last week, many by seniors and people with disabilities.
Our next meeting — and happy hour!
Saturday, July 22
2:00pm – 4:00pm
Noe Valley Public Library, with drinks to follow at Phyllis’ house nearby
This week’s Stand Up SF actions
- Fix unfair bail laws: Call Assemblymembers David Chiu and Phil Ting and say: “Thank you for supporting bail reform, standing up for justice and California families, and voting YES on AB 42, the California Money Bail Reform Act of 2017. Please also vote YES on SB 10!”
- Take action for campaign finance reform: AB 1089 sets limits on campaign contributions. Call Assemblymember Phil Ting and say: “Hi, I live in California and I am a constituent. I am calling to ask you to vote YES on AB 1089, to close loopholes in California’s campaign finance laws and protect us from unlimited special interest spending.” Then call Assemblymember Chiu and thank him for sponsoring the bill.
- Ban toxic chemicals: This week, Scott Pruitt – the anti-science head of Environmental Protection Agency – has ignored his own agency’s recommendations and reversed the ban on chlorpyrifos, the toxic agricultural pesticide known to damage the nervous systems of infants and children. Call Governor Brown and tell him to ban the toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos.
Actions with other groups
- Tue 7/11: Join ACLU People Power at a phone bank to support CA SB54, the California Values Act, to protect immigrants from mass deportation. Sign up.
- Tue 7/11, 6pm: Kick ICE out of Oakland! Join ACLU People Power at an action at Oakland’s City Hall. Raise your voice for immigrants. RSVP now.
- Wed 7/12, 6-9pm: Cervezas for Civics fundraiser for Generation Citizen – an organization that empowers young people to become engaged and effective citizens. RSVP for drinks and lively conversation.