The URBAN-Los Angeles node, together with a number of co-sponsors*, held a forum attended by over eighty participants on the connections between Mass Incarceration and Mass Deportation on Saturday, April 19th.
The forum began with a panel facilitated by URBAN-L.A. chair Jose Calderon and included: Jessica Karp, National Day Laborer Organizing Network; Edna Monroy, CA Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance; Diana Zuniga, Californians United for a Responsible Budget/Curb Prison Spending; and Kelly Lytle Hernandez, UCL A Professor and Researcher. The presenters focused on how deportations and detentions have added to the growth in the massive prison industrial complex, increased profits that are being used to advance more enforcement, and a steady increase in the criminalization of communities of color.
After the panel presentation, forum participants engaged in workshop sessions that focused on community-based research and activism, building campaigns on deportations and incarceration, youth mobilization, and law enforcement and criminal justice. A number of key proposals emerged from the sessions (see below). These will be further discussed at the next meeting of URBAN-L.A. set for Saturday, May 31 from 10am – 12pm at the UCLA Downtown Labor Center (675 S. Park View St.).
- Reframing immigrant rights policies to challenge some of the mainstream immigrant rights organizations and organized labor unions who have supported federal legislation that has one-sidedly focused on enforcement and criminalization
- Organizing campaigns to pressure universities to pull out of private prison investments and to reinvest in socially responsible alternative criminal justice and immigrant rights programs
- Building coalitions between those who support immigration reform and prison reform
- Supporting the Dream and Freedom Summer 2014 efforts to bring together undocumented immigrant youth, African American youth, and others who are committed to advancing an agenda for social change and social justice.
*The co-sponsors included: UCLA Labor Center; CURB (Californians United for a Responsible Budget/Curb Spending); Cal State University Northridge Civil Discourse/Social Change Initiative; Latino and Latina Roundtable; Dignity and Power Now; Incite L.A. Women of Color Against Violence