This idea, from Laurie Valdez of the Justice for Josiah campaign, is to a create collaborative healing space for families who have endured the trauma of losing their fathers, sons, sisters, mothers to police violence. While providing needed community solace, the retreat will also serve a strategy planning space for families to collectively discuss how to advance the movement for police accountability through the lens of impacted families.
From a strategy meeting with families in San Jose who have lost loved ones to police violence, they identified a specific tool they wanted to create that would assist other families who face the same tragedy. Namely, listing steps families can take within the first 24 hours after an officer involved critical incident (a killing, or severe use of force) that would help the family better position themselves as they seek justice.
Based on De-Bug’s experience of working with families who have loved ones facing criminal charges, we have identified key steps that can be taken immediately after an arrest to best position yourself to defend against the allegations, win pretrial release during the court process, and secure the best outcome of the case.
This is informed from our AlmostaHashtag.org campaign, where we fought for the freedom of Henry Sires, a San Jose man who was shot by Santa Clara County Sheriffs, but then wrongfully charged with assault on a police officer. We were able to organize community support for Henry and his family, have a presence in the courtroom to let the actors of the court know the public was concerned about the outcome of the case, and do in-time media to bring a public awareness of the case. We will do this comprehensive community support campaigns for others who were victims of police violence, but are the ones facing charges. The work is aimed at bringing the energy on the streets calling for police accountability to the courtroom, which also needs critique and structural change.
Social biography videos are a tool De-Bug uses for individuals facing the court process so the totality of their lives, their communities, and there futures are understood and considered by actors of the court. Namely, so they are understood as more then a case file — but as young people with futures and potential that is at risk with an incarceration. We will make three videos for youth who are being considered for adult prosecution (thus facing life sentences exposures) in Alameda County, Contra Costa County, and Santa Clara County.
For more action, check out their website: www.siliconvalleydebug.org
– Funds will be used to pay program participants stipends as an incentive for participation.
– Opportunity for students to bond and connect with each other as well as learn about the work they will be engaging in.
– We currently have 2 old vans (one is a 1999 15 passenger van and the other is a 2000 12 passenger van). We need to get rid of the oldest one and replace it with something a little newer.
– One of our staff runs his own t-shirt business and wants to teach students the art of running their own business by making t-shirts.
– We have another organization, Asset Builders, who will be assisting us in getting this program up and running.
– Dollars will be used to purchase the equipment and materials to get us started.
– Used Macs from Mac of All Trades (macofalltrades.com). Students access computers for academic support and project research. We are also planning on setting up a computer lab with PC’s to train young people on how to code.
For more action, check out their website: www.urbanunderground.org
Train and provide resources for three response teams* to immediately provide comfort and support for families when law enforcement kills a community member through these components:
*MAPB Investigates when a person is shot by the Dallas police. A pair of MAPB organizers walks the neighborhood to:
1) Contact the family of the victim
2) Identify witnesses to the shooting
3) Locate any available video recordings, either from cell phones or neighborhood security cameras. We plan to train 10 pairs of community investigators, 3 in Dallas and 7 in other cities.
*MAPB We Remember Vigils: When a victim is killed by law enforcement, Mothers Against Police Brutality works with the family and friends of the victim to create a vigil to remember and honor the person killed. Generally after a shooting, the victim’s life is portrayed in a negative light in the media. The We Remember Vigil combats this narrative by providing a platform for the people who know and love the victim to share stories of his/her life. We help coordinate the logistics and media, also provide posters, candles, t-shirts, and buttons.
We have a number of cities that have requested this this support along with expanding the team in Dallas, we will choose three of them. The cities include: Kansas City, St. Louis, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, San Antonio, Los Angeles, and Chicago
On the anniversary of Clinton’s murder, in March, we will provides a day of workshops including (but not limited to) know your rights, organizing 101, understanding structural racism, and culminating with a speak out about their experiences with police. We will record the students testimonies. We have a panel of three respected people receive the testimonies because so often youth and community members feel like they are not listened to.
9 Steps to Change Policing in America: This set of policy proposals are at the local, state, and national level. The reforms address:
1) Independent, federal prosecution of police shootings.
2) Drug testing of police officers in the aftermath of a shooting.
3) More effective psychological and cultural competence evaluation and training of officers.
4) Suspending officers after a shooting from armed patrol until all levels of investigation are completed.
5) Compensation of victims police brutality and their families.
6) Use of body cameras by all patrol officers.
7) Federal standards and approval of all deadly force training.
8) Opening up criteria federal civil rights criteria in police shootings to allow more prosecutions.
9) Creation of a federal database of problem officers. For more detail see: https://mothersagainstpolicebrutality.org/9-steps-toward-policing-that-is-safe-fair-proportionate-and-just/
MAPB will bring 6 mothers together from across the country to become skilled advocates to push for these policy changes.
Losing a loved one to police brutality is an unexpected financial burden in multiple ways. Many victims are currently in unmarked graves, and there are no agencies or programs that provide resources for families to purchase headstones for their loved ones final resting place. The MAPB Headstone Project will provide $500.00 towards the purchase of a headstone to bring dignity to the victims and peace to their families.
For more action, check out their website: www.mothersagainstpolicebrutality.org