Wednesday, June 1, 2016

September 9 Organizing 5/31 Meeting Minutes

To tweet minutes:

Sept 9 Organizing Minutes 5/31 #DecarcerateNJ Please RT

For those who attended the meeting, if there is anything that needs to be adjusted, added, etc. just let me know.  For all – any feedback or ideas as to how to proceed with this project – please send those to or call 908-881-5275.  For individuals and organizations that want to get involved, offer support, invite a speaker to a meeting, organize an event or support in any way should contact us as well.

While much of the decision making will occur at scheduled meetings, folks should contribute their ideas through writing, verbally or in whatever way is plausible in between meetings as well and all of the information will be part of the process developing the events.

In attendance: Michael Van Allen, Jimmy Brash, Kenny Dillon, Renee Felton, Sally Gellert, Jamhar James, Malik, Michael Allen Hobbs, Shira Kalman-Hicks, Jan Makovec, Ruben Mendez, Brian Powers Jim Price, James Turner, Dan Ulloa, Bob Witanek Two representatives of Free Alabama Movement,  (still compliling list of attenders)

Minutes include input from telephone conversation with Revernd Charles Boyer.

Future Meeting Schedule – Tuesdays 6:30 – no meeting next week (election day) – next general meeting Tuesday, June 14, 6:30 pm Conf:712-770-4010- Access 100577


Please let us know which committees you are interested in by sending a message to 

The steering committee will meet more frequently than the rest of the group as needed and will be able to make decisions as needed that need to be addressed prior to a follow up meeting.  Communications can be whatever  means – internet, social network, e-mail or phone (which must be documented if decisions made) will be used to render the decisions.  It is a volunteer committee – who wants to be on it can be on it.  If it grows too large we can determine another means to define the steering committee.  The goal will be to have representation of all sponsoring organizations on the steering committee.

Outreach to organizations committee

We need to press the outreach to prominent individuals and organizations.

We need to start getting statements and endorsements from organizations supporting this effort.

Here is a sample letter – if you know an organization or an individual to invite to support, you can use this format:

Headline: Invitation to <Group Name> to Support September 9


Dear <officer of group>,

Please consider this a formal invitation to <group name> to co-sponsor the September 9th Solidarity with the Incarcerated and Enslaved.  See: 

We appreciate if you can make every effort to expedite and finalize the approval and submit a letter confirming co-sponsorship.

We have a sample outline of a support statement that might or might not be helpful:

 Do you think you can have this completed by this weekend or sooner?

If you have any questions please call us at 908-881-5275.

<your name>

Everybody should help out with this outreach but could use a few members of this committee to keep focus on this effort and keep it moving forward.   Once the letters are sent out, follow up communications via phone, chat, etc. are likely needed to make sure the co-sponsorships are confirmed.
Everyone should brain storm and provide the names of individuals and groups that should be invited.

Prisoner Family / Prisoenr Outreach – About the Events and information gathering about the issues in NJ facilities

Challenges to communications were disussed where families and prisoners do not feel comfortable talking about issues inside the prison on the phone or during visits.  One suggestion offered by Free Alabama Movement representative is using certified legal communications which are supposed to be protected communications.
After the meeting in a conversation with Reverend Charles Boyer, a leading voice of NJ’s AME social concerns community, it was learned that there is actually a fact gathering process in progress in NJ and much information has already been gathered.  There are challenges in how to take care to assure that information that we present does not endanger the sources of the information on the inside to retaliation. 
We also want to get word into all of the prisons about the efforts of Decarcerate the Garden State, the September 9th activities in NJ as well as about the work stoppage taking root in several states around the US.

Student Proposal / Outreach

A proposal was offered and approved to focus student support for September 9th as more low key but mass reach actions on the respective campuses.  The goal will be that on many college campuses as possible around NJ on September 9th , student supporters of this effort will leaflet students on the cafeteria lines at either breakfast, lunch and / or dinner with a two-sided flier – one side having information about our solidarity efforts with our contact information and the other side having information about the campus organization(s) involved in the leafleting effort.  Teams of 3 or more, possibly wearing signs supporting the statewide activities are optimal.  Jan Makovec volunteered as one of the co-coordinators.   Other students in attendance that expressed interest are James Turner and Kenny Dillon.  In order to be successful, we need to start the effort now of identifying teams on campuses throughout NJ.


Suggested tweet:
NJ Students Uniting Sept9 – Solidarity with Incarcerated / Enslaved #DecarcerateNJ

Press / Branding / Fliers
We need to develop a logo, press releases, videos, art work, etc. to promote these events.  The press release maybe can be issued once we have 10 or more groups signed on (if that happens fairly quickly) and we can continue to re-issue it as our events and the issues develop.

Logistics  / Lead in Activities
The logistics committee will do two things – figure out where the events will be held on September 9th.  During the meeting we discussed possible an event around Newark, an event in Trenton (at the Statehouse) and one possibly in Camden.

Also as a lead in, James Turner proposed and was approved to proceed with gathering more information for plans to hold a “noise” demonstration outside of NJ State Prison which has a goal to reach out to the incarcerated and get their attention holding a banner with largely painted phone numbers and information.  Recommendations were made to have legal support on hand and to explore possibly holding the event during visiting hours to try to reach out to Families.  James and his colleagues are researching logistics such as reach-ability, public transportation, parking, etc. to see if the site could be viable for the September 9 event.  (Maybe a caravanl from the County jail to the state prison with rallies at both ends?)
The logistics committee will also be involved in possibly planning local meetings to promote September 9.  It was also discussed that a larger rally could occur on September10.
In a telephone conversation, Reverend Boyle he suggested a press conference sometime before September9.

Interested in Logistics CommitteeL James Turner
National liaison

This committee will connect us to other state organizing  bodies and look into possibly mobilizing and activitating states not yet plugged in.

Free Alabama Movement represented that the biggest help they can use outside is for us to assist a communication to incarcerated inside facilities around the country.

Future Meeting Schedule – Tuesdays 6:30 – no meeting next week (election day) – next general meeting Tuesday, June 14, 6:30 pm Conf:712-770-4010- Access 100577

Future meetings will include screen facilitties so that input can be gathered not only by voice but from the screen input from participants.

Prior Meeting Minutes: 

No comments:

Post a Comment