- Alexis Agathocleous, Staff Attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights
- Zahra Billoo, Executive Director, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) – San Francisco Bay Area
- Dr. Terry Kupers, M.D.
- Keramet Reiter, JD, PhD Candidate Berkeley Law; and,
- Eddy Zheng, Prisoner Rights Advocate.
Moderated by: Sara Norman, Attorney, Prison Law Office.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
The Women’s Building
Audre Lorde Room
3543 18th Street #8
San Francisco, CA
- Civil Liberties Defense Center
- Solitary Watch
- Freedom Archives
- Arab Resource and Organizing Center
- National Lawyers Guild – San Francisco Chapter
- National Lawyers Guild – Boalt Hall Chapter
- California Prison Focus
- Animal Legal Defense Fund-Stanford University
- Chapter and California Coalition for Women Prisoners
- Anti-Racism Committee of the National Lawyers Guild-San Francisco Chapter
- Legal Services for Prisoners with Children and Hastings Prisoner Outreach
- Stanford Criminal Law Society
- ACLU of Northern California
- Prison Legal News
- All of Us or None
- Green is the New Red
As part of my way of appreciating the legacy of Dr. King’s dream, I participated in the Know Your Rights event that was organized by the Bay Area Youth Commission and sponsored by Lick-Wilmerding High School’s Center for Civil Engagement.
I had the privilege of kick starting the event with a poem and got approximately 250 people chanting “Peace, Love and Community”. However, I was inspired by the young poet Chinaka Hodge, who let her words flow like a series of soothing melodies. Then I was able to conduct a workshop on the importance of knowing your rights. When it was time for the participants to choose which workshop to go to, mine was the less popular. I’m sure me being an ex-con definitely had something to do with it. Fortunately, the twelve of so people in my workshop appreciated my sharing.
It’s good to see so many young people who are doing their part to live up to Dr. King’s dream of equality for all. Many of them will definitely be leaders who will lead this country.
St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, San Francisco, CA
I was invited by the San Francisco Interfaith Council’s (SFIC) Executive Director Michael Pappas as a guest speaker with Reentry Policy Director Jessica Flintoff at its monthly breakfast.
About 80 people from different faith based groups were present at the St. Mark’s Lutheran Church Heritage Hall. I shared my poem “Autobiography @ 33” with them as an introduction. I spoke briefly about the importance of all communities coming together to help those who are incarcerated. I drew the parallel on how the prisoners are being treated like lepers in the leper colony of Prison Industrial Complex. Many of the community members reached out to me when I was in prison just as Jesus reach out to the lepers in the leper colony. Without the compassion demonstrated by people from the community, I would not have become who I am.
Members of SFIC are doing many great things helping people who are in need in our community. I want to encourage the interfaith council to play an active role in changing the policy that can steer California away from being number 1 in incarceration and number 50 in education.
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.
San Quentin, CA
Spoke on the the need to raise awareness for restorative justice, and motivate both the incarcerated and broader community to get involved, during National Restorative Justice Week.
University of California, Berkeley
Presented at Dr. Siri Brown’s Ethnic Studies class on “Other: an Asian Pacific Islander Prisoners’ Anthology” and prison life, to approximately 150 students.
San Francisco, CA
Presented at Professor Grace Yoo’s Asian American Studies class, “Asian American communities: Changes and Development”, on the Prison Industrial Complex and reentry to approximately 60 students.
San Francisco, CA
Presented at Professor Russell Jeung’s “Asian Americans and Public Policy” class, on deportation issues, to approximately 60 students.
Civic Center Plaza, San Francisco, CA
Spoke about acknowledging the violence plaguing our community and the necessity to build a movement to stop it.
“Invest In Your Community”
California State Building
Milton Marks Conference Center
San Francisco, CA.
Moderated and presented the workshop, “Keeping It Real: Image vs. Reality”, to over 250 youth.
About the event:
3rd Annual API Youth Summit
Presented by State Senator Mark Leno, CYC & AYAN
A day-long conference to empower Asian and Pacific Islander youth (age 14-20) through
workshops and presentations on topics including self-esteem, identity, conflict mediation,
violence prevention and building coalition.