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PRESS ROOM: American Bridge and Gov. Deval Patrick Announce Multi-Million-Dollar Investment in Grassroots Organizing

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “Organizing has to go deeper than getting out the vote on the eve of an election cycle,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “It has to be about forming relationships of trust and support year-round and about listening to and learning from local communities. Civic engagement is the foundation for lasting change and real political power. I want donors who support progressive politics to value and invest in that.”

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Conceived by American Bridge 21st Century Co-Chair Gov. Deval Patrick, BridgeTogether will invest in local community groups that are doing critical work to build and sustain a lasting grassroots infrastructure in their states and regions.
Conceived by American Bridge 21st Century Co-Chair Gov. Deval Patrick, BridgeTogether will invest in local community groups that are doing critical work to build and sustain a lasting grassroots infrastructure in their states and regions.

‘BridgeTogether’ to Build on 2020 Election Successes, Ensure Key States Can Maintain Grassroots Infrastructure Year-Round by Partnering With Local Groups Mobilizing Voters in GA, AZ, PA

American Bridge 21st Century Foundation announced the launch of BridgeTogether, a new c(3) and c(4) fund established to support year-round local grassroots organizing. Conceived by American Bridge 21st Century Co-Chair Gov. Deval Patrick, BridgeTogether will invest in local community groups that are doing critical work to build and sustain a lasting grassroots infrastructure in their states and regions — beginning with Georgia, Arizona, and Pennsylvania.

“Organizing has to go deeper than getting out the vote on the eve of an election cycle,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “It has to be about forming relationships of trust and support year-round and about listening to and learning from local communities. Civic engagement is the foundation for lasting change and real political power. I want donors who support progressive politics to value and invest in that.

“Our research has made it clear: women are key to winning elections, and they are exhausted after four years of Donald Trump and a global pandemic. And, we know Democrats wouldn’t have won in 2020 without numerous grassroots organizations led by women and people of color. Grassroots outreach and community building is only more important than last year—not less—and it’s needed now,” said American Bridge 21st Century President Jessica Floyd. “Whether it’s people who don’t have voting booths in their neighborhoods or those who have never had someone knock on their door, BridgeTogether will invest in grassroots organizations that organize and mobilize their communities to ensure that people from every corner of America are represented.”

The first group of organizations to receive grants will include:

  • Vote Riders, which Howard University Professor Carol Anderson called “[an organization that] makes the difference in whether thousands of people get to vote or are disenfranchised”
  • 1K Women Strong, who contacted nearly 40,000 households through canvassing and phone banking in Georgia for the 2020 election
  • Fair Count, a group founded by Stacey Abrams, which ensures that historically overlooked communities are counted accurately in the U.S. Census
  • Unity in the Community, who recently helped thousands of people in South Philadelphia on Election Day by registering people to vote, giving rides to the polls, educating the community on candidates, and much more.
  • VetsForward, a voting advocacy group based in Arizona that equips and mobilizes veterans to defend the ideals of our democracy.

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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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