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Julián Castro Visits Fruitvale BART Station, Oscar Grant Mural, Homeless Encampments

OAKLAND POST — Presidential candidate Julian Castro visited Oakland on Wednesday Sept. 25. Hosted by Councilman Noel Gallo, Castro was provided a tour of the Fruitvale district where he took photos at the Oscar Grant mural, held a reception at Guadalajara Restaurant and spent over an hour with the homeless.While walking with Gallo in a homeless encampment at High Street and Alameda Street, adjacent to Home Depot, Castro saw first hand the desperate need for affordable housing in the Bay Area. Previously serving the Housing Department under the Obama Administration, Castro is well aware of the crisis.

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From left to right, presidential candidate Julian Castro, Noel Gallo and Post and El Mundo publisher Paul Cobb at Fruitvale BART Oscar Grant mural. Cobb and Gallo explained the police accountability issue and how it motivated voter registration increases throughout the Bay Area. (Photo by: Bill Wilson)

By Carla Thomas

Presidential candidate Julian Castro visited Oakland on Wednesday Sept. 25. Hosted by Councilman Noel Gallo, Castro was provided a tour of the Fruitvale district where he took photos at the Oscar Grant mural, held a reception at Guadalajara Restaurant and spent over an hour with the homeless.While walking with Gallo in a homeless encampment at High Street and Alameda Street, adjacent to Home Depot, Castro saw first hand the desperate need for affordable housing in the Bay Area. Previously serving the Housing Department under the Obama Administration, Castro is well aware of the crisis.

“As Housing Secretary under the Obama Administration, I travelled to 100 different communities in 39 states to work toward solutions…Housing is a right and these people are in dire need which is why I support a robust housing program,” said Castro.“This crisis needs to be placed on the presidential debates. So far the networks have not added this to the agenda.”  From trash and debris to a colorful zone of cleanliness for kids, the tour put faces on the generic term “homeless.”

“We are people in need of a permanent solution, not just a temporary solution,” said Markaya Spikes who lives in the encampment with her 8 year old daughter. She said she’s lived there for 5 years and that there is also a 3 month old living in the enclave. “We need help with water, we often have to use the fire hydrants on the property for water,” said Spikes

About 15 media outlets representing radio, television and print trailed Gallo, his wife, Julian Castro and his press team.

Maria Fuentes, the mother of three children; ages seven, nine and 14, says her family ended up homeless when her undocumented husband was laid off. She says she has been camped there for five years.

“We lived in an apartment in Alameda before becoming homeless,” she said. “We want people to know that we are not just homeless, we are people and we need solutions,” said Fuentes, who had a few minutes to share her story with Castro and offered to assist him in helping the encampment.

Councilman Noel Gallo said the crisis is personal. “I went to high school with some of people living here, and we have to place them in safe, livable homes.”

According to Gallo, the property is privately owned but the long-time owner recently died. “The owners children recently leased the property to Carls, Jr. so everyone living here will have to move by December,” he said.

Gallo also explained that a vacant area across the street owned by the City will be used to relocate some some of them ,and a nearby motel will become senior and veteran housing. “But so much more needs to be done,” he said.

This article originally appeared in Post News Group.

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Fighting an Unjust System, The Bail Project Helps People Get Out of Jail and Reunites Families

In addition to posting bail at no cost to the person or their family, The Bail Project works to connect its clients to social services and community resources based on an individual’s identified needs, including substance use treatment, mental health support, stable housing and employment.

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Adrienne Johnson, the regional director for The Bail Project, told NNPA’s Let It Be Known that the organization seeks to accomplish its mission one person at a time.
Adrienne Johnson, the regional director for The Bail Project, told NNPA’s Let It Be Known that the organization seeks to accomplish its mission one person at a time.

Hundreds of thousands of individuals locked up in jails almost daily — many find it challenging to pay bail

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

As public support for criminal justice reform continues to build — and as the pandemic raises the stakes higher — advocates remain adamant that it’s more important than ever that the facts are straight, and everyone understands the bigger picture.

“The U.S. doesn’t have one ‘criminal justice system;’ instead, we have thousands of federal, state, local, and tribal systems,” Wendy Sawyer and Peter Wagner found in a study released by the nonprofit Prison Policy Initiative.

Together, these systems hold almost 2 million people in 1,566 state prisons, 102 federal prisons, 2,850 local jails, 1,510 juvenile correctional facilities, 186 immigration detention facilities, and 82 Indian country jails, as well as in military prisons, civil commitment centers, state psychiatric hospitals, and prisons in the U.S. territories,” the study authors said in a press release.

With hundreds of thousands of individuals locked up in jails almost daily, many find it challenging to pay bail.

Recognizing America’s ongoing mass incarceration problem and the difficulties families have in bailing out their loved ones, a new organization began in 2018 to offer some relief.

The Bail Project, a nationwide charitable fund for pretrial defendants, started with a vision of combating mass incarceration by disrupting the money bail system.

Adrienne Johnson, the regional director for The Bail Project, told NNPA’s Let It Be Known that the organization seeks to accomplish its mission one person at a time.

“We have a mission of doing exactly what we hope our criminal system would do: protect the presumption of innocence, reunite families, and challenge a system that we know can criminalize poverty,” Johnson stated.

“Our mission is to end cash bail and create a more just, equitable, and humane pretrial system,” she insisted.

Johnson said The Bronx Freedom Fund, at the time a new revolving bail fund that launched in New York, planted the seed for The Bail Project more than a decade ago.

“Because bail is returned at the end of a case, we can build a sustainable revolving fund where philanthropic dollars can be used several times per year, maximizing the impact of every contribution,” Johnson stated.

In addition to posting bail at no cost to the person or their family, The Bail Project works to connect its clients to social services and community resources based on an individual’s identified needs, including substance use treatment, mental health support, stable housing and employment.

Johnson noted that officials created cash bail to incentivize people to return to court.

Instead, she said, judges routinely set cash bail well beyond most people’s ability to afford it, resulting in thousands of legally innocent people incarcerated while they await court dates.

According to The Bail Project, Black Americans are disproportionately impacted by cash bail, and of all Black Americans in jail in the U.S., nearly half are from southern prisons.

“There is no way to do the work of advancing pretrial reform without addressing the harmful effects of cash bail in the South,” said Robin Steinberg, Founder, and CEO of The Bail Project.

“Cash bail fuels racial and economic disparities in our legal system, and we look forward to supporting the community in Greenville as we work to eliminate cash bail and put ourselves out of business.”

Since its launch, The Bail Project has stationed teams in more than 25 cities, posting bail for more than 18,000 people nationwide.

Johnson said the organization uses its national revolving bail fund, powered by individual donations, to pay bail.

The Bail Project has spent over $47 million on bail.

“When we post bail for a person, we post the full cash amount at court,” Johnson stated.

“Upon resolution of the case, the money returns to whoever posted. So, if I posted $5,000 to bail someone out, we then help the person get back to court and resolve the case,” she continued.

“The money then comes back to us, and we can use that money to help someone else. So, we recycle that.”

Johnson said eliminating cash bail and the need for bail funds remains the goal.

“It’s the just thing to do. It restores the presumption of innocence, and it restores families,” Johnson asserted.

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PRESS ROOM: EPA Administrator Regan to Join Leaders of Civil Rights, Environmental Justice Movement for Significant Announcement in Warren County, North Carolina

NNPA NEWSWIRE — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan will be joined by significant figures from the civil rights and environmental justice movements, including Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., president and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association and other participants from the original Warren County protests for the event.
The post PRESS ROOM: EPA Administrator Regan to Join Leaders of Civil Rights, Environmental Justice Movement for Significant Announcement in Warren County, North Carolina first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Administrator to honor legacy of environmental justice and civil rights at event in Warren County, site of protests that launched the movement 40 years ago

WASHINGTON (September 22, 2022) – On Saturday, September 24, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan will travel to Warren County, North Carolina to deliver remarks on EPA’s environmental justice and civil rights priorities and the progress we’ve achieved since the first protest and march that launched the movement 40 years ago this week. Administrator Regan will make a significant announcement on President Biden’s commitment to elevate environmental justice and civil rights enforcement at EPA and across the federal government and ensure the work to support our most vulnerable communities continues for years to come.

Administrator Regan will be joined by significant figures from the civil rights and environmental justice movements, including participants from the original Warren County protests for the event.

Who:
EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan
Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01)
Environmental Justice and Civil Rights Leaders
Warren County residents and community leaders
Additional stakeholders

What: Remarks on EPA environmental justice and civil rights priorities and honoring the legacy of the environmental justice and civil rights movement
When: Saturday, September 24, 2022,
Doors Open: 11:30 AM ET
Program: 12:45 PM ET
;
Where: Warren County Courthouse
109 S Main Street
Warrenton, NC 27589
Livestream: A livestream of this event will be available at epa.gov/live.

The post PRESS ROOM: EPA Administrator Regan to Join Leaders of Civil Rights, Environmental Justice Movement for Significant Announcement in Warren County, North Carolina first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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September 26 | Governance at the Local Level | The Conversation with Al McFarlane

Join Al McFarlane (Host), Brenda Lyle-Gray (Co-Host) and Special Guest Co-Host Diana Hawkins, Executive Director for …
The post September 26 | Governance at the Local Level | The Conversation with Al McFarlane first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Join Al McFarlane (Host), Brenda Lyle-Gray (Co-Host) and Special Guest Co-Host Diana Hawkins, Executive Director for …

The post September 26 | Governance at the Local Level | The Conversation with Al McFarlane first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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