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Community Leaders, Elected Officials and Police Have Candid Conversation

Sam Sabzehzar 2011-10-27 0 comments

Bill of Rights for kids of incarcerated parents, a call to end the War on Drugs and to “Ban the Box” on job applications among many ideas presented at the Long Beach Peace and Justice Summit.

By Sam Sabzehzar  |  October 26, 2011

Opening the Peace and Justice Summit was Drug Policy Alliance’s Stephen Gutwillig, who presented alternatives to the incarceration and criminalization on drug usage.

DPA was one of the sponsors of the event, as were other non-profit community-based programs, such as All Of Us Or None and A New Way of Life Reentry Project, which focuses on the causes of recidivism, on ways to reduce it, and the root causes of it.

Other subjects included a Bill of Rights for kids, an end to the discrimination against people with a conviction history, criminal justice reform, and others echoed an end to the War on Drugs as well.

All of Us or None is a national organizing initiative started by formerly-incarcerated people to fight against discrimination faced after release and to fight for the human rights of prisoners.

A New Way of Life Reentry Project is a non-profit organization in South Central Los Angeles with a core mission to help women and girls break the cycle of entrapment in the criminal justice system and lead healthy and satisfying lives.

The Project provides housing and support services to formerly incarcerated women in South Central Los Angeles, facilitating a successful transition back to community life.

As a community advocate, A New Way Of Life works to restore the civil rights of people with criminal records to housing, employment, public benefits, the right to vote, as well as:

  • provides housing and reentry support for women and children
  • advocates for the human and civil rights of people in prison and people with past convictions
  • builds leadership of formerly incarcerated women

Long Beach councilmember Dee Andrews, who oversees the Sixth District in Long Beach, aims to pursue employment opportunities for the unemployed residents of his community, emphasizing the barriers to traditional avenues of employment due to past criminal records and removing them.

City of Carson Mayor Jim Dear, LBPD Deputy Chief Robert Luna, Assemblymembers Bonnie Lowenthal and Tony Mendoza, and a half dozen other¬†dignitaries¬†made up a panel of city officials that remained mostly quiet while listening to the lives and personal accounts of how the justice isn’t hasn’t worked for them.