Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Your Life is a Miracle

Always love the following quote by Marianne Williamson. "God = Universe"

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated form our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Reentry works

San Francisco's 3rd Annual Reentry Summit took place today at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Public Defender Jeff Adachi, District Attorney Kamala Harris, Sheriff Hennessy, Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi and the Safe Communities Reentry Council consolidated their effort to promote the importance of providing resources for the formerly incarcerated.

The hightlight of the summit was witnessing so many formerly incarcerated people gathered in one space to share their success stories. As we all know, more often in times, the formerly incarcerated gets a bad rap. The mainstream media and majority of the politicians only hightlight the violence on the streets, high crime rates and high recidivism rate. Hardly is there mention of those who had changed their lives and are making significant contribution in the community in reducing violence and create a safer society for all. Where's the media when we need them? I guess what does bleed doesn't lead continues to be the media policy.

The Safe Community Reentry Council produced a resource guide for those who are incarcerated and formerly incarcerated to help their reentry. It called "GETTING OUT & STAYING OUT A Guide to San Francisco Resources for People Leaving Jails and Prisons." People who are interested in getting copies of the guide can contact reentry.council@sfgov.org

San Francisco has more resources and funding in comparasion to many other cities. Yet, not much has change when it comes to address the root cause of violence. The resource guide for the incarcerated and formerly incarcerated is only a small BandAid to a systemetic societal problem. Until there is a just system of law that truly treats everyone equally, abolition of the Prison Industrial Complex is an alternative.

After all, good intentions without substance only prepetuates the cycle of violence and recidivism.

Reentry works? Only if you work it? Reentry to what?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Critical Resistance 10 (CR10)

When the first historic Critical Resistance conference took place in 1998 on UC Berkeley campus I was in San Quentin State Prison serving a life sentence. How I had wished that I could attend the conference and represent the voices of prisoners. Since I had no idea when I was going to be a part of the free world, I participated the conference by listening to KPFA.

That was ten years ago. This weekend Critical Resistance celebrated its ten year anniversay in highlighting the theme of prison abolition. Another historical conference took place. This time I was there. I had the priviledge of participated in a workshop with the Asian Prisoners Support Committe, Rico Riemedio and German Yambao. We were able to discuss the alarming population rise of Asian and Pacific Islander (API) prisoner in the past 20 years, the impact of incarceration particular to API prisoners, their families and the community, language barriers, deportation, mental health, and the lack of cultural compentent resources that are necessaried to facilitate their rehabilitation. We also talked about the book "Other: an Asian & Pacific Islander Prisoners' Anthology."

I appreciate the presence of members of The Asian Prisoner Support Committee (APSC) Ben Wang, Sun Lee, and Serena Huang. For the past three years they have worked with API prisoners to educate the broader community about the growing number of APIs in the U.S. being imprisoned, detained, and deported. APSC seeks to expose the root causes of why more and more APIs are going to prison, such as the crisis of our educational system, the lack of access to resources for low-income immigrants, war and imperialism.

During the CR10 weekend, I was able to reconnect with old friends and made new friends and allies. The massive concentration of knowledge occupying the sacred space at Laney college of Oakland California examplified people's power and determination to the mission of abolishing the Prison Industrial Complex.

The struggle continues...

Super huge shout outs to all the volunteers and members of CR for their contribution in making CR10 a memory that will last throughout the space of time.