Cuba dawned today with great expectation for the long-awaited news: The Family Code will be law, after the majority of Cubans supported the document during the popular Referendum held on Sunday. Early this morning, the president of the National Electoral Council (CEN), Alina Balseiro Gutiérrez, announced in a live broadcast that the preliminary results of the vote count has affirmed that the Code will be law. The count at this point has determined that 3,936,790 of the 6,251,786 Cubans who went to the polls voted Yes for the document (66.87 percent). With most of the ballots counted, the electoral authority assured that 1,950,090 people voted NO, (33.13 percent).
My passion for the fight to abolish oppressive policing systems – especially the family policing system (also known as the “child welfare system”) – is fueled by my personal experience of having my two children ripped from me in 1999. The two and a half year fight to regain custody, the many additional investigations after my children were returned to me and my learning through research what communities were being impacted by the family police and outcome of the children they claim to protect. The family policing system can completely destroy people’s lives. After I reunited with my children, I knew other parents and families were experiencing the same harm I had experienced, and I knew I had to do something to change that.
As Wendy Sawyer and Wanda Bertram recently wrote for the Prison Policy Initiative, “Over half (58%) of all women in US prisons are mothers, as are 80% of women in jails, including many who are incarcerated awaiting trial simply because they can’t afford bail… And these numbers don’t cover the many women preparing to become mothers while locked up this year: An estimated 58,000 people every year are pregnant when they enter local jails or prisons.” In this edition of Rattling the Bars, Mansa Musa speaks with Debra Bennett-Austin of Change Comes Now about the shocking number of incarcerated mothers in the US today, the barriers keeping incarcerated mothers from staying connected with their families, and the irreparable damage those severed connections cause for everyone involved.
Once again, the clock is ticking as states scramble to distribute billions in federal emergency rent relief to stress-weary, increasingly panicked tenants and landlords before the national eviction moratorium expires. If the money doesn’t get out in time, a rush of evictions and foreclosures could be in store this fall. Would the nation be in such a precarious predicament if everyone who qualified for a housing voucher got one? Over the last year and a half, tenants who receive income-dependent rental assistance—like housing vouchers—had their rent responsibility reduced when their incomes fell, and their landlords were still paid. But housing vouchers’ eviction-preventing effects were limited to households lucky enough to get a voucher, since the underfunded Housing Choice Voucher program reaches just one in five households that qualify.
The uprisings taking place across the nation and the world have brought unprecedented attention to abolition as a political vision and organizing strategy. More Americans are recognizing that police killings of black people are so pervasive that they can no longer be considered aberrations. Rather, police violence stems from the very function of policing to enforce an unjust racial order. Policing, therefore, cannot be fixed by more failed reforms; it must be abolished. The most prominent demand emerging from the protests is to defund the police and reallocate the money to provide health care, education, jobs with living wages, and affordable housing. I am inspired by calls to defund the police.
SOUTH PORTLAND—Sometimes, grassroots activism looks obvious, with bold signs and public acts of disobedience. Sometimes, it looks like this: 14 people sitting on the carpeted floor of a sunny room in a home on Cottage Road while young kids color and eat crackers and fruit. So it was on a recent Sunday, as members of Protect South Portland, an environmental group, sought to tap into a new vein of activism: parents.
Washington, DC – A new, first-of-its-kind report released today finds that nearly half of all adults in the United States – approximately 113 million people – have an immediate family member who is either formerly or currently incarcerated. Based on new research conducted by FWD.us and Cornell University, this is the first ever national estimate of the share of Americans who have had an immediate family member spend time behind bars. “These numbers are stunning, all the more so if you think of them not as numbers but as stories like mine,” said Felicity Rose, Director of Research and Policy for Criminal Justice Reform at FWD.us.
ICE depends on a lot of people's work, not just its agents'. Software engineers and flight attendants who took a stand added their efforts to a national push that got the Trump administration to suspend its family separation policy, Credit: Seattle Democratic Socialists of America. The brutal and wildly unpopular Trump administration policy that separated thousands of children from their immigrant parents triggered widespread protests. It also provoked resistance from workers whose jobs are crucial to carrying it out. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) don’t operate in a vacuum. They depend on a host of products and services—including technology produced by software engineers and travel assisted by flight attendants.
In response to the Trump administration’s immigration policies, which include separating parents and children attempting to illegally cross the border, Families Belong Together is organizing a nationwide series of marches demanding reform. The marches are set for Thursday. Organizers of the group wrote in a press release: [I]t is unconscionable that the US government is actively tearing apart immigrant families. They are victims of violence, hunger, and poverty and our government’s actions re-violate them, causing untold damage. Children as young as 18 months are torn from their mothers’ arms by our own government.
President Trump has intensified national debate about immigration by implementing policies to enhance immigration enforcement and restrict legal immigration. Recent findings show that the climate surrounding these policies has significantly increased fear and uncertainty among immigrant families, broadly affecting families across different immigration statuses and locations. The effects extend to lawfully present immigrants, including lawful permanent residents or “green card” holders, and children in immigrant families, who are predominantly U.S.-born citizens. In particular, findings point to both short- and long-term negative consequences on the health and well-being of children in immigrant families. Potential changes to public charge policies intended to reduce use of public programs by immigrant families, including their citizen children, could further increase strains on immigrant families and lead to losses in health coverage.
By Staff of Generation Opportunity - A year ago, Weldon Angelos was released from prison after serving nearly 13 years of a 55-year sentence. Today, he’s leading the movement for criminal justice reform in the United States. Weldon’s story about facing over-criminalization and injustice is well-known. He was arrested for selling marijuana while in possession of a firearm and received an extraordinarily long punishment for a first-time, non-violent offender. Since his release, Weldon has worked tirelessly to reconnect with his family – his sister, his nephew, and his fiancée and two sons – while fighting to fix our broken criminal justice system. “I’m incredibly grateful to be out, but I’m going to continue to push for reforming mandatory minimum sentencing because it destroys so many families,” Weldon declared in an interview last year. “I witnessed that first-hand in prison. There are other people like me, even more deserving than me, that should be out.” Generation Opportunity caught up with Weldon during a recent trip to Washington, D.C., where he shared his story with lawmakers and urged them to make criminal justice reform a top priority. Weldon took a few minutes to talk to Gen Opp about adjusting to life after prison and what he considers the most important elements of criminal justice reform.
By Victoria Law for Truthout - Ayana Aubourg has one childhood memory of her father that does not involve a jail or prison visiting room. "The only thing I can remember is him making spaghetti," said Aubourg, whose father was sentenced to 10 years in prison when she was seven years old. She saw him once a year in a visiting room that she remembers as being "cold and controlled." Later, a playroom was added for the children visiting their fathers, but the presence of a few toys did little to make the atmosphere warmer or cheerier. "It's still a very traumatic experience," she told Truthout. Spaghetti remains her favorite dish. Aubourg is now 22; her father was released from prison five years ago. But the prison visiting room lingers in her mind, and she is now working to change the laws that rip so many families apart.
By Rebecca Nathanson for VICE. aymond Rodriguez doesn't remember why his dad was arrested. He doesn't even remember exactly how old he was when police officers entered the home he shared with his parents and two siblings in the Bronx, threw his dad on the floor, and took him away. Now a 20-year-old criminal justice student at a local community college, he thinks he was about eight years old when that scene took place, but the memories blur together. Following that arrest, Rodriguez's dad remained incarcerated for the majority of his childhood, in and out of prison numerous times. Rodriguez lived with a foster family for a while when he was younger, but then his mom regained custody of him and his two siblings. Whenever his father got out, he'd find where the family was living and move back in, until the cycle began again. The impact it had on the family was far-reaching and comprehensive, and it continues today.