The Coalition to End Sheriff Violence in the L.A. Jails:
Our Work Thus Far. . .
The Coalition to End Sheriff Violence in the L.A. Jails (CESV) formed during the summer of 2012 under the leadership of Patrisse Cullors-Brignac. Cullors-Brignac, a community and youth organizer and artist, created a performance art piece entitled STAINED to give voice to the impacts of state violence and mass incarceration on individuals and their families. STAINED is based in part on the trauma suffered by Cullors-Brignac’s brother Monte and their family due to Monte’s incarceration and subsequent struggle to readjust to civilian life.
The other catalyst for STAINED was an 86-page complaint by the American Civil Liberties Union against the Los Angeles County Jail system. Representatives from the ACLU were invited to the opening performance of STAINED, and to sit on a panel that was convened immediately following after. The performance was well received during its summer runs, and following a critical review in The Feminist Wire, Cullors-Brignac felt that something more was needed – a vehicle that could not only organize those affected by state violence but that would confront and hold accountable the purveyors of such violence.
The CESV has four core demands:
Establish Civilian oversight over the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s
Department (or the Jail) with the power to subpoena, independently investigate and change Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department policies and practices
A Halt to the further construction of jails in Los Angeles County
A Reduction in the county jail population by diverting or releasing people back to their families and into programs that support their well-being
Respect and dignity for incarcerated people
In the short time since its’ founding the CESV has made a name for itself by:
Establishing relationships with 13 organizations and allies: All of Us or None, California Faith Action/Justice Not Jails, Community Coalition, Drug Policy Alliance, East Los Angeles Community Corporation, Gender Justice LA, The Labor Community Strategy Center/Community Rights Campaign, Los Angeles Community Action Network, Rev. Kelvin Sauls of Holman United Methodist Church, Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, Street Poets Inc., Youth Justice Coalition, and Critical Resistance LA.
Establishing a Steering Committee
Establishing an Action Group
Establishing an Art of Disruption Group
Holding Monthly Membership Meetings
Maintaining a consistent presence in front of the Men’s Central Jail on weekends to recruit inmates’ family members and loved ones to the Coalition
Creating a Dandelion Rising Leadership Institute, which focuses on young adults in two continuation high schools – one in South Los Angeles and one in Boyle Heights
Organizing 20 individuals to provide public testimony at Los Angeles County Board of Supervisor meeting in support of civilian oversight of the county jails
Delivering 900 postcards of support for civilian oversight to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors
Holding a successful press conference/rally in support of civilian oversight with Dandelion Rising South L.A. youth
Holding a successful press conference/rally in support of civilian oversight with Dandelion Rising Boyle Heights youth
Securing a statement of support for the Coalition’s work from Hon. Mark Ridley-Thomas, Los Angeles County Second District Supervisor
Co-sponsoring a gift/toy giveaway for inmates’ families in front of the Men’s Central Jail
Garnering media coverage through the Los Angeles Times, KPCC, CBS, KPFK, The Wave Newspaper, Estrella TV, Telemundo, Press TV (Iran), KPFA and Azteca TV;
Being invited to sit on a panel during in the 21st Annual Empowerment Congress that will be held during Martin Luther King, Jr. Week, alongside of John Mack, former director of the Urban League and member of the Los Angeles Police Commission; and Miriam Krinsky, former Executive Director, Los Angeles County Citizens’ Commission on Jail Violence, and others.
The Coalition to End Sheriff Violence in the L.A. County Jails is truly excited about the possibilities for change and accountability in 2013. Forward!