Saturday, August 13, 2016

Current 9/9 NJ Organizing Status Minutes from 8/12

Decarcerate the Garden State in partnership with Peoples Organization for Progress has called for and has been organizing support for a nationwide strike inside prisons against prisoner enslavement.  We are organizing a set of actions and activities –working with numerous justice and freedom loving organizations   - in solidarity of the anti-enslavement efforts of incarcerated men and women.  Our demands in NJ include support for the demand to end prison enslavement, freedom for all political prisoners,  a 50% reduction of NJ’s incarcerated count and improved conditions for NJ’ s incarcerated men, women and youth.

POP / Decarcerate the Garden State Unified Call to Action:
Melissa Love Light Tomlinson of Bad Ass Teachers (BATs) states that BATS will be organizing a push in the week leading up to September 9 of educational materials to teachers around the School to Prison Pipeline issue.  They will be also reaching out to NEA and AFT affiliates and will utilize some of the materials on this topic that have been developed by the National Education Association.  Members of several other teachers and school advocacy organizations have expressed interest in the teacher / student  outreach efforts.  Related:

Julie Saporito of the Green Party discussed ways to access the organizations county structure to build support for area activities and possibly generate more localizes activities.   The conflict of pros and cons of more local events vs. less regional events was discussed and the idea is that group chapters in easy traveling range of an “area event” like hopefully Newark, Camden and Trenton would support such efforts but those in counties far removed from such events might consider getting something local going even if it was a more low key event.

Jennie Chenkin and Ryan DeAngelo presented the campus initiative to leaflet at the cafeterias on as many NJ campuses as possible.  Jennie has drafted a flier about our September 9 efforts.  The idea is that a two-sided flier can be used with the opposite side containing information about local campus organizing so participants will be promoting both the prison strike and Decarceration movement at the same time as reaching out to students around their local campus organzing efforts.  So far there is likelihood of activities at least at Rutgers New Brunswick and Newark, Rowan, Monmouth, Brookdale and Montclair.  There also has been some discussion with high school students for a similar effort – leafleting to high school students around the beginning part of September including on September 9.


Ian, was on the call and expressed interest in organizing in the Paterson area either to get something local going there or possibly to help get Paterson people over to the Newark event.

Randy Thompson of Help Not Handcuffs, primarily Asbury Park based group opposed to the war on drugs and supportive of harm reduction discussed his support for efforts but also the challenge since his organization has its major annual event on September 18.  Nonetheless he spoke of doing some outreach to Asbury Park advocates who he can possibly assist in something maybe in Asbury Park around the date.  Help Not Handcuffs:

Lefty Grimes, an advocate for an end to cannabis prohibition in NJ offered to help coordinate a Trenton event focused on Decarceration and linking it up with the connection to cannabis prohibition and the war on drugs.   We are also trying to have a second phase of the Trenton event focused on local justice related issues as related to mass incarceration.  Both parts of the event will be push the demands of this overall effort.

There were 3 Plainfield members on the call.  We did not discuss this at the meeting but at meetings in recent weeks – the idea is for a street event on Saturday September 10 that will feature music, poetry, other performance and visual art around the themes of Decarceration and ending police impunity for brutality and street killings and other justice related matters.

Central Jersey Coalition Against Endless War is featuring a panel discussion on September 10:


POP has offered to officiate a Newark event on 9/9 - we need to tighten up the plan.
Ideally if 5 or more Newark area residents can offer to pitch in with logitics and over all planning and promotion that would be ideal.  It could include an attempt to leaflet at the Courthouse and maybe a march from there to the county jail with a rally of sorts there. (That's just an idea.)  We need to figure out the best time to start - there are advantages of doing it earlier because court would still be in session but the idea of having a larger - after work pool of potential participaints is an argument for a later time.  POP members - you have experience with timing in Newark - this is a Friday - what do you think on the timing?  We might be able to draw in students which could make an earlier time more do-able.  The courthouse is adjacent the county college!  Maybe even agitate there earlier to see if some student traffic can be averted to the court site.


There are at least 3 who have expressed willingness to play a coordinating role around a similar event in Camden - including possible leafleting at the Camden County Courthouse and a rally there and / or at the Camden County jail.
It was stressed that all organizations and local county chapters etc. of organizations that are supporting this set of activities should figure either:
How to plug in to one of the already in motion activities being planned.
Initiation of another localized event (like leafleting at a county courthouse, rallying outside the courthouse or at a county jail or other publicly visible venue.

Do not hesitate to get involved.
For more information 908-881-5275

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