Prison-Industrial Complex

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

Roundtable participants--Rodolfo Pastor de María y Campos from the LIBRE Party, Vicki Cervantes of the Honduras Solidarity Network, Alex Main from CEPR and Adrienne Pine (American University) will discuss the ongoing crisis in Honduras, with a particular focus on the increasing, and increasingly militarized consolidation of power since the recent installation of Juan Orlando Hernández as dictator following blatant electoral fraud. Today, over 40 people who protested the 2017 fraud are dead and dozens of anti-fraud political prisoners languish, pre-trial, without healthcare, adequate food or access to family members in new, post-coup U.S.-style maximum security prisons that have enriched foreign corporations with no accountability or transparency. International extractive and tourist corporations, in collusion with powerful drug lords, oligarchs and politicians (often the same people) harass and murder activists and journalists with complete impunity. While the 2017 electoral fraud was roundly and internationally condemned, it came as no surprise to Hondurans that the U.S. State Department supported its outcome, just as the Clinton State Department supported the 2009 coup that laid the path for the nation's downward spiral into neoliberal fascism. Similarly unsurprising are the crickets coming from mainstream media regarding U.S.-supported violence in Honduras, compared with depictions of state violence in, for example, Nicaragua and Venezuela. Despite this bleak panorama, Hondurans continue to bravely resist. This panel will provide examples of that resistance on multiple levels, and will discuss strategies for effective solidarity.

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

There has been a dramatic rise in the number of immigrants detained by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), with over 400,000 people detained annually, and an average daily population of over 39,000 detained. People held in immigration detention facilities are often held in county jails in New York and New Jersey, in addition to the private ICE-run jails. They lack a legal guarantee of access to medical care.
ICE has released several sets of standards for meeting the health needs of people detained, but these guidelines are neither standardized nor binding. Human rights organizations and investigative journalists have reported substandard medical care at several detention facilities, resulting in poor health outcomes and even in-custody deaths.1 To file medical complaints, people held in detention often rely on lawyers who are not equipped to decipher medical records and are often unable to contact ICE or jail physicians for further inquiry. The role of non-ICE affiliated physician in these cases is key. By partnering with immigration lawyers to review medical records and advocate on behalf of people held in detention, community physicians can make a significant impact on the health and lives of those detained. The net effect of this government's measures is the criminalization of immigration, resulting in deleterious effects on the health of immigrants, their families and our communities alike. Parents are arrested in front of their children; at times family members are not able to locate their loved ones until after they are deported. Children who have an undocumented parent have significantly higher rates of PTSD. There is evidence that families are foregoing applying for benefits such as WIC, SNAP, or CHIP for fear that their information will be reported to federal authorities. Given the collective trauma communities are experiencing as a result of mass deportation, it is necessary to connect physicians to the community spaces where the grass-roots movements are organizing, to gain insights into how to mitigate the negative health effects of our current policies, and further work to dismantle the immigration detention system.

This condensed version of these workshops was inspired by liberation medicine month which emphasizes the conscientious use of health to promote social justice and human dignity. It parallels prior work on incarceration health and mass incarceration, adapting to the current political climate where immigrant communities are being targeted as scapegoats, making immigration status a critical social determinant of health. Medical residents will learn how mass incarceration, detention and deportation as a public health issue and will be trained in social activism.

Educational objectives
Examine barriers to medical care faced by persons held in immigration detention and evaluate their health consequences.
2. Interpret and synthesize relevant medical information in order to write effective advocacy letters on behalf of people detained.

Build immigration-focused medico-legal partnerships.
4. Create partnerships with community-based organizations with the aims of understanding how mass deportation is impacting the health of the community, listening to proposed solutions, and identifying ways in which health care professionals can contribute to existing efforts.

Participate in organizing efforts to end mass detention and deportation.

Agenda of Workshop:

I. Skills building- The Detention Evaluation

a. Overview of history of the immigration detention system, and current immigration policies as they pertain to immigration detention from a social justice/human rights framework.

i. Review of medical records and/or declarations, Letter writing

II. Community partnerships

a. Building community partnerships and why this is important in the work to dismantle the mass detention and deportation machine.

b. Advocacy (this should be guided by the dialogues with community members and organizations, may include participation in rallies or town hall meetings, writing op-eds, or organizing around hospital and/or clinic policy).

III. Building immigration-focused medico-legal partnerships that can address the legal needs of patients for which immigration status is a social determinant of health.

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

Join us for a discussion of the interrelated roles plated by charity, so-called welfare, and incarceration in reproducing the lives of New York City's racialized working class. Presenters will focus on the histories of these institutions, the resistances they have inspired, and the horizon for class struggle in the present paradigm of neoliberal retrenchment.

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

In an age where information is both instantly accessible and easily manipulated, and the U.S. government’s war on whistleblowers and press freedoms continues in full swing, the need for hard-hitting, independent journalism that focuses on social justice and civil liberties is greater than ever.

It is up to those with the skills, platform and reach to ensure that the voices of the marginalized, and the issues that affect millions who live under a constant state of oppression and discrimination, cannot be squelched.

The News Beat podcast works all these angles. A short-form, educational podcast focusing specifically on social justice and civil liberty issues, News Beat’s seasoned journalists interview experts, thought leaders, academics and activists. Those interviews are woven over a bed of highly produced, hip-hop-styled music, while acclaimed independent rap artists craft original lyrics that are interspersed throughout each episode. The result: informative, entertaining and compelling mini audio documentaries -- with a splash of dope beats and rhymes.

Topics covered include the true origins of the racist, ineffective war on drugs, the injustices of the exoneration process for those who have been wrongfully convicted, the fight to close juvenile detention centers, the U.S. government’s war against journalism and press freedom, America’s illegal, perpetual war and more. Guests have included iconic voices such as Dr. Cornel West, Rosa Clemente, Barrett Brown and John Kiriakou.

Our workshop demonstrates the process of creating these groundbreaking, informative episodes -- ideation, interviews, scripting, audio production and lyric creation -- breaking down our unique marriage of traditional journalism, new media and focus on social justice with hip-hop music, culture and spirit.

We look forward to pulling back the curtain on this exciting new method of sharing vital knowledge through hip-hop.

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

Early in 2018 we saw Black Panther rise to become the 3rd highest grossing film in America, and there was no shortage of online conversations surrounding #WakandaForever. While this film made unprecedented history with its almost all-Black cast, our panel will get into some of the deeper themes of the film and how they have been perceived by everyday viewers. Discussion will be centered around how mass incarceration, toxic masculinity, economic inequality, and not only how it was addressed in the film but the longer lasting implications these ideas may have on society.

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

President Trump has placed immigrant communities at ground zero in his effort to blast our nation toward a nightmare future of racism and nativism. He is building upon groundwork for a massive federal crackdown laid during the George W. Bush Administration and expanded during the Obama Administration.

When the Department of Homeland Security was established, the new managers of the nation’s immigration enforcement machinery set about to enlist, entangle and commandeer state and local criminal justice agencies in a massive campaign to criminalize, capture, detain, deport – and in many cases, prosecute and imprison – the most vulnerable members of immigrant communities across the nation.

In 2005, the U.S. Department of Justice shifted its priorities and resources to sharply ramp up federal criminal prosecution of migrants for unauthorized entry to the US, resulting in a virtual explosion of contracting for private prison beds.

Prosecuting migrants is not a substitute for civil removal, but instead postpones that process and adds additional human and financial costs associated with their criminalization. Because these prosecutions have primarily been concentrated in five federal court jurisdictions located along the U.S. border with Mexico, they have remained the least publicized element of the immigration enforcement machinery. At the same time, they represent the most severe exercise of federal power in furtherance of immigration enforcement.

During 2017, almost 55,000 migrants—including some who may have valid asylum claims—were criminally prosecuted for improper entry or re-entry, accounting for 45 percent of all federal prosecutions. About half of these migrants were charged with 8 USC 1325, unauthorized entry (a misdemeanor that carries a jail sentence of up to 180 days). The other half were charged with 8 USC 1326, unauthorized re-entry after removal (a felony carrying up to two years in prison, or more if the migrant has a prior criminal record).

In April 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions directed the U.S. Attorneys in the border districts to impose a “zero tolerance” policy for prosecution of migrants entering the U.S. without authorization, warning that, “...illegally entering this country will not be rewarded, but will instead be met with the full prosecutorial powers of the Department of Justice.”

Our panelists will present a brief overview of the implementation of the DOJ’s migrant prosecution campaign; a personal recounting of its devastating impact on immigrant families; and a description of the strategies and tactics being used by organizers and activists to build community power for resistance to this onslaught.

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

Panelists will examine the contested meanings and common abuse of the phrase "the Left" in the United States (U.S.). They will discuss steps required to create a genuinely revolutionary movement for social justice, peace, people's power (popular sovereignty), and the salvation and preservation of livable ecology. Is there a significant and real "Left" in the U.S today? What would qualify as an authentic and serious Left appropriate for the 21st century United States? How might such a Left be created and/or expanded? What will the task of creating an authentic,relevant,and powerful 21st Century U.S. Left require of activists and intellectuals going forward? Why does this task matter?

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

We will discuss the problems inherent in gang suppression policing tactics such as gang databases, conspiracy charges, and focused deterrence. We also discuss alternatives to criminalizing youth such as CURE Violence initiatives and community empowerment.

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

Even with inspiring protests against police violence, the left lacks something important: objectives that will shift power. Community Control over Police is a political demand that can shift power while heightening contradictions. This proposal is based on Black Liberation theory and includes a complete campaign plan.

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

Honoring Cedric Johnson, winner of the 2017 Singer Prize, the panel will discuss Johnson't thesis that mass incarceration is neoliberalism's way of managing social inequality and the creeping marginalization of growing layers pushed out of the work force, thus affecting more than just the African-American community.