What Will We Do? Moving Beyond Fall Retreat

The 2013 WWFOR Fall Retreat, “Realities of the ‘New Jim Crow.’ What Will I Do? What Will We Do?” brought together about 60 activists from the region. You can watch the excellent keynote by Mary Paterson (of No New Jim Crow Seattle).

Mary and our other presenters offered workshops that allowed participants to learn more and explore future actions. We hope that the follow up from the retreat will reinvigorate FOR members to connect racial and economic justice to issues of militarism and to work with our allies on these issues.

Here are a few other “follow-up” opportunities:

Join Ruth Elder and Kathy Wilkinson in the new Washington State Chapter of CURE (Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants). CURE is a grassroots human rights organization that works for criminal justice reform. Read about this effort.

Join the conversation with Mary Paterson and others that we started at the Fall Retreat about Transformative Justice. See No New Jim Crow Seattle “Transformative Justice Key Points” document. At the bottom, you’ll find a very short list of further reading on the subject of transformative justice. According to Mary Paterson, the interview with Carolyn Boyes-Watson is especially rich, and she highly recommends it.

Continue to educate yourself and others. Documentaries that exist on the subject of “the carceral state”/mass incarceration/the War on Drugs (which has led in important ways to mass incarceration) include:

  • Fixing Juvenile Justice (on transformative justice)
  • Broken on All Sides
  • Prison Town, USA
  • Raw Opium: Pleasure, Pain, Profits
  • The House I Live In
  • Herman’s House
  • The Women of New Bedford
  • the short visual art piece by Paul Rucker, “Proliferation” available at paulrucker.com

Consider how you might react when you encounter racism in daily life, as we did during one workshop. Rosy Betz-Zall offers some thoughts.

Watch for Olympia FOR’s February 2014 TV program, “Racial & Class Disparities in Our Criminal Justice System.” Host Glen Anderson interviews Steven Aldrich and Sam Merrill (both presenters at WWFOR Fall Retreat) and Larry Jefferson. They lay out the basic facts about incarceration rates and then explore the ways in which race and economic class are involved in various aspects of the criminal justice system. Sam Merrill is the clerk (chair) of the Friends Committee on Washington Public Policy, a Quaker-based advocacy group in Olympia, and Steven Aldrich is FCWPP’s legislative advocate and policy analyst. (For more, see www.fcwpp.org.) Larry Jefferson has 17 years’ experience as a criminal defense attorney (currently a public defender) and is the president of Thurston County Bar Associates. The TV show will air 12 times in February on TCTV channel 22 for cable subscribers in Thurston County. It will be posted to www.olympiafor.org soon after it debuts.