» Action Items, Events, News
Join the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) and Asian Prisoner Support Commitee (APSC) to discuss this groundbreaking film and mark the anniversary of harmful immigration laws that eliminated second chances for people like Eddy Zheng. The 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) resulted in the rise of mass deportations that have separated millions of families.
SEARAC will release a report, “Prosecutorial Discretion in the Southeast Asian American Community,” to highlight the issue of unjust deportations. This event will be in conjunction with their annual “Leadership, Empowerment, and Advocacy Fellowship” (LEAF) Training. Panelists will talk about their personal stories and highlight the local work they are doing to support AAPI prisoner reentry. The event is hosted by the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC).
Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27)
Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-13)
Formerly Incarcerated Panel:
Eddy Zheng, Asian Prisoner Support Committee (APSC), Oakland, CA
Kristopher Larsen, Formerly Incarcerated Group Healing Together (FIGHT), Seattle, WA
Tung Nguyen, Santa Ana, CA
Date/Time: Wednesday, September 28, 4:30-7:00pm
Location: Rayburn House Office Building, Judiciary Hearing Room 2226
» Action Items, Events, Media
Arrested at 16 and tried as an adult for kidnapping and robbery, Eddy Zheng served over 20 years in state prison. Ben Wang’s BREATHIN’: THE EDDY ZHENG STORY paints an intimate portrait of Eddy — the prisoner, the immigrant, the son, the activist — on his journey to freedom, rehabilitation and redemption.
BREATHIN’ moves with a deep, critical love, unafraid in confronting the hard truths of Eddy’s crime, the harsh realities of mass incarceration and the intertwined emotional hardships experienced by all involved. The film finds Eddy at many crossroads — in and out of parole hearings, organizing in the community, othered and at risk of deportation — his resilience and astounding compassion resounding throughout. In chronicling Eddy’s decades-long struggle for freedom, the film interrogates the complexities and hypocrisies of crime and punishment in the United States, raising the greater question: For whom are prisons for?
— Andrew Yeung
Director: Ben Wang
Producer: Christine Kwon, Ben Wang
Executive Producer: Deann Borshay Liem
Cinematographer: R.J. Lozada
Editor: Ken Schneider and Tina Nguyen
Dates & Times
March 11, 2016 6:30 pm at Alamo Drafthouse
March 19, 2016 8:10 pm at New Parkway Theater
Announcing the release of a live concert CD
by Eddy Zheng, Martin Dosh, and Paul Dosh:
An Evening of Spoken Word, Music, and Inspiration with Eddy Zheng
In 2010, Paul and Martin Dosh hosted activist Eddy Zheng’s first visit to Minnesota. The three of them performed at Macalester College, introducing the Twin Cities community to the extraordinary story of Eddy’s two decades in prison and his ongoing fight against deportation to China.While still in prison, Eddy began fundraising to support neighborhood activists in the shantytowns of Peru. Eddy continues this activism today by selling the CD/book as a fundraiser for the non-profit Building Dignity. Building Dignity promotes education, leadership, and development among Peru’s poorest neighborhoods. Make a donation (in any amount) and you’ll receive a copy.
The CD includes seven spoken word poems, four original Dosh tunes, Eddy’s presentation, and Q&A highlights. The tracks range from the sobering “Autobiography @33” to the hilarious “Dating Etiquette.” The accompanying chapbook includes text of the poems and information on Eddy Zheng and his struggle. Tracks include:
Listen at: www.myspace.com/pauldosh.
Two Ways To Order a Copy
- Donate online ($10 suggested donation) at http://www.buildingdignity.
org/donateand we’ll mail you a copy.
- Or send a check made out to “Building Dignity” to
Building Dignity/Zheng CD
1622 Hague Ave.
St. Paul MN 55104
Note: CD production/postage have been donated, so 100% of your donation goes to Building Dignity, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Donations in excess of $10 are tax-deductible.
Eddy, Martin, and Paul
Sometimes we must surrender in order for us to become victorious.
The 5 Core Demands
- End “group punishment” where an individual prisoner breaks a rule and prison officials punish a whole group of prisoners of the same race.
- Abolish “debriefing” and modify active/inactive gang status criteria. False and/or highly questionable “evidence” is used to accuse prisoners of being active/inactive members of prison gangs who are then sent to the SHU where they are subjected to long-term isolation and torturous conditions. One of the only ways these prisoners can get out the SHU is if they “debrief”—that is, give prison officials information on gang activity.
- Comply with recommendations from a 2006 U.S. commission to “make segregation a last resort” and “end conditions of isolation.”
- Provide Adequate Food. Prisoners report unsanitary conditions and small quantities of food. They want adequate food, wholesome nutritional meals including special diet meals and an end to the use of food as a way to punish prisoners in the SHU.
- Expand and provide constructive programs and privileges for indefinite SHU inmates—including the opportunity to “engage in self-help treatment, education, religious and other productive activities…” which are routinely denied. Demands include one phone call per week, one photo per year, 2 packages a year, more visiting time, permission to have wall calendars, and sweat suits and watch caps (warm clothing is often denied even though cells and the exercise cage can be bitterly cold).
Today I was out of my cell the longest since I’ve been in here. I didn’t even get a chance to take a nap as I normally would. It was chili and overcast this morning. I was out on the yard for about 4 hours. I walked, played ball, and did some crunches. It was too cold. This is the first time we got yard consistently. Time goes by faster that way.
Then I went to the law library for 2 ½ hours. I was able to make some copies and did some research. I need to get ready to file a return to the AG’s return. I’ll have to go back on Thursday. I found out the library schedule is very chaotic. Rico didn’t make it cause he didn’t turn in any request form. We’ll be going on Thursday if all is smooth.
I received my Harper magazine. I have way too much to read. I will share with others of course. I wrote CC an update letter. I hope I’m not being a pest. I wrote N a letter and told him my concerns. I asked him to write me back. G came by to say hi. He’s been doing a lot of climbing of stairs. I asked him to get me a bday card from the chapel.
After dinner, I worked on my autobiography poem. I’m not writing the natural way. I brainstorm and write down things that came to my mind. I’ll organize them later. I started to brainstorm on another poem. Hopefully I can have two first draft poems written. I have to make it happen. I need to write an article on my current situation.
My pain has lessened. I should be ready to workout again on Thursday. It’s been a good day. It’s time to relax and read today’s USA paper. I got some 3 cent stamps It’ll hold me for awhile.
Eddy is an asset to the community. His teenage years in Oakland, and his incarceration experience have enabled him to conduct effective outreach and intervention strategies for youth, many of whom who are at-risk for entering the criminal justice system.
After serving over 20 years behind bars for a robbery he committed at age 16, Chinese American community leader Eddy Zheng now faces deportation to China, a huge loss to the Bay Area community. Released from prison in 2007, Eddy has dedicated his life to preventing youth violence and delinquency through his work at the Community Youth Center, Community Response Network, and many other SF Bay Area programs and organizations. Flawed immigration laws make Eddy deportable to China, although Eddy has already served his sentence and was found suitable to re-enter society by Governor Schwarzenegger himself.