30 January 2012

Legislation To Follow!

RIHD - Prison and Ex-Offender Legislation Alert
Earned Second ChanceThe focus on education and rehabilitative programs that include the Earned Second Chance legislation and the Volunteerism Tax Deduction as well as a
Focus on arts in the prison educational environment in order to provide tactile learning for those approximately fifty percent of inmates with specific learning disabilities. While we may
Not support the use of discretionary and often arbitrary parole; we do support a person’s ability to reduce their sentence through hard work and positive contributions to their community.

Ban the BoxStarting with legislation focused on removing barriers to exoffender employment, including the ‘Ban the Box’ approach, the campaign will promote equal opportunity in employment as well as developing healthy relationships with employers. All persons should have the right to support themselves and their families without remaining forever reliant on government and community handouts.

Restoration of Civil RightsA focus on a complete and automatic restoration of voting rights upon completion of a term of incarceration. While a ballot resolution could not be put forward this year, we should challenge the right of the government to tax a citizen at any time while he is unable to vote under the law. A government should not be able to tax a citizen who is not permitted a stake in his own destiny.

Opt Out of All Bans on Drug OffendersThis focus will include legislation to finally
opt out of the TANF ban on formerly incarcerated person with drug offenses. In addition, since drug use and addiction is a medical and mental health issue, the campaign should stand against any and all bans that preclude former drug offenders from receiving any type of service, particularly when it has negative effects on their families. An ADA challenge might be made here. Government should not be allowed to punish individuals and their families for medical or mental health conditions.

Protecting Our Children A multifaceted focus on keeping children in the juvenile system and not permitting unprotected transfers to adult court for a greater focus on restorative justice practices for youth. Also, a focus on mentoring and protecting children from the constant influx of violence needs to be legitimately addressed.  Children should be nurtured, and a government should not treat children as adults until such time as they can determine that they are adequately prepared to be instilled with ALL the rights and responsibilities that come along with adulthood.

Feb. 17:Virginia Immigrant People's Coalition Day of Action
  • If these legislators get their way, this is what our state will look like:
    - Police would be empowered to demand to see immigration papers from any person that they suspect to be an immigrant;
    - Undocumented students would be banned from attending state universities, even if they are VA residents who have been paying taxes here for years;
    - Government issued ID would be required to vote, disenfranchising thousands of poor, elderly and African-American voters;
    - People who don’t speak English well and lose their criminal court cases would be required to pay for their interpreters.
  • Si estos legisladores obtienen lo que están proponiendo, esto sería como nuestro estado luciría:
    - La policía tendría el poder de preguntar por documentos de inmigración si ellos sospechan que una persona es inmigrante.
    - Estudiantes indocumentados no podrían asistir a las universidades del estado, aunque sean residentes de Virginia y hayan pagado sus impuestos por anos.
    - Para poder votar, se requerirá una identificación dada por el gobierno de Virginia, afectando a muchas personas mayores, personas pobres y Afro-Americanos.
    - Personas que no hablen ingles y pierdan su caso en la corte criminal, tendrán que pagar por sus propios intérpretes.

Feb. 4: No War On Iran National Day of Action
12 - 1 pm at the Richmond Federal Courthouse 701 East Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23219

Resolution on Iran Unanimously Adopted at the 2012 session of the Virginia People’s Assembly Richmond, Virginia, January 14, 2012: 
No War, No Sanctions, No Internal Interference in Iran!

Recently, the U.S. government has increased its threats against the Islamic Republic of Iran. The U.S. has declared Iran to be its enemy and has publicly stated that it will use all means possible, up to and including military attack, to stop the production of nuclear energy in Iran and to change its government.
To this end, the U.S. has:
1 - Used hacking to disrupt nuclear energy facilities in Iran
2 - Conducted covert operations in Iran
3 - Deployed spy drones to Iran
4 - Imposed draconian sanctions and embargo against Iranian oil exports, banking and trade
5 - Deployed U.S. nuclear supercarrier battle groups with destroyers and nuclear submarines to the Persian Gulf
6 - Threatened Iran with military attack
7 – Is about to hold the largest ever joint military exercises with Israel
The U.S. government has carried out these activities to weaken Iran in preparation for a military attack if Iran does not submit to its demands.
The U.S. government lied to the U.S. people to prepare them for an attack on Iraq, which caused the destruction of Iraq, the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and the deaths of 4,500 U.S. soldiers and injuries to many thousands more, in addition to more than $800 billion in war expenditures.
It is extremely important that we do everything in our power to stop another U.S. war in the Middle East. To this end, we, the 2012 Virginia People’s Assembly, demand:
No War, No Sanctions, No Internal Interference in Iran!

Co-Proposed by Simin Royanian, Co-Founder, Women for Peace & Justice in Iran; and
Phil Wilayto, Board Member, Campaign Against Sanctions & Military Intervention in Iran (CASMII)

24 January 2012

Revolutionary Poet Warrior Woman Jayne Cortez at William & Mary's Muscarelle Museum on Feb. 9 at 7pm - http://ping.fm/heSsi

17 January 2012

NNDA Protest: Friday
, Jan. 20, 3-6 pm

NNDA Protest

The Federal Courthouse - 701 E Broad St., downtown Richmond (directly across the street from the National). This is on Broad St between 7th and 8th Streets. Friday
, Jan. 20, 3-6 pm

“We will be peacefully protesting the federal government concerning the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2012. We are calling on the courts to declare this law - which affirms the power to detain Americans indefinitely without trial - a violation of the Bill of Rights guaranteed by the Constitution and for it to be repealed. This will be a vital opportunity to educate and provide outreach to the many many people largely unaware of the law.”

Speakers from Occupy Richmond and various social justice organizations from the Richmond community. Performance with rap artist Isaac Ramsey from Double Rainbow. Candle light vigil at 5:30 mourning the death of our civil liberties, with a march to City Hall for the Free Speech Forum immediately following.

Immediately following the protest, we'll head across the street to City Hall, where we'll hold the Free Speech Forum:https://www.facebook.com/events/280424548683507/
Point of Contact: Chris H - vcuchris@gmail.com

This event has been endorsed by the General Assembly of Occupy Richmond.

Today, the Wikipedia community announced its decision to black out the English-language Wikipedia for 24 hours, worldwide, beginning at 05:00 UTC on Wednesday, January 18 (you can read the statement from the Wikimedia Foundation here). The blackout is a protest against proposed legislation in the United States – the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the U.S. Senate – that, if passed, would seriously damage the free and open Internet, including Wikipedia.

11 January 2012

MEDIA RELEASE: Jan. 7, 2012

Media contact: Phil Wilayto – Phone: 804-247-3731; e-mail: philwilayto@earthlink.net

Jan. 14 march on State Capitol to demand:
'Don't balance the budget
on the backs of Virginia's working people!'

Responding to the threat of more job losses and state budget cuts, Virginia activists representing a broad range of issues will converge in Richmond Jan. 14 for a networking conference, march and rally under the general theme of “Jobs, Peace, Justice!”

The day's events will include a 5 p.m. march on the State Capitol to tell Gov. Robert McDonnell and the General Assembly: “Don't balance the budget on the backs of Virginia's working people!”

The conference, march and rally are sponsored by the Virginia People's Assembly, an annual gathering of progressive activists held to coincide with the opening of the Virginia General Assembly.

Jan. 14 is the day before the 83rd anniversary of the birth of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., so it's a fitting time for us to march,” said VPA organizer and prisoner rights activist Lillie “Ms. K” Branch-Kennedy. “We'll be standing up, just as he did, to demand jobs for the unemployed, an end to wars, restoration of civil and voting rights for those convicted of a felony and justice for all our communities.”

The VPA contends there are alternatives to balancing the state budget by cutting state jobs, slashing needed social programs and reducing support for cities and counties, “Instead, we say raise Virginia's state corporate income tax rate, one of the lowest in the country,” said Ms. Branch-Kennedy. “End the use of the Virginia National Guard for wars abroad. Stop using state money to glorify the Confederacy. And use the savings to create a massive public jobs program, which will put money into the hands of the unemployed and really stimulate the economy.”

The 2012 Virginia People's Assembly networking conference will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at St. Stephen's Koinonia Church, 505 N. 33rd St. in Richmond's East End. The march on the Capitol will begin at 5 p.m. at Monroe Park and end at Kanawha Plaza, followed by the rally from 7 to 9 p.m. back at St. Stephen's.

Conference registration begins at 9:30 a.m. Child care, lunch and dinner will be provided. There is no admission charge, but donations for the meals and use of the church will be appreciated.

As of Jan. 7, the 2012 VPA had attracted more than three dozen endorsers, including the Occupy Wall Street movements in Blacksburg, Virginia Tech, Richmond and Virginia Beach; as well as organizations promoting the rights of immigrants, prisoners, labor, women, the lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender community; and civil rights, anti-war and community organizations. (See next page for a complete list.)
For more information on the 2012 Virginia People's Assembly, see: http://www.facebook.com/events/284484054920881/, call 804-644-5834 or e-mail DefendersFJE@hotmail.com.

09 January 2012

This week on DefLIVE: Jason Brown and Mark Carter of Occupy The Hood RVA join me to discuss last Saturday's Occupy The Hood RVA General Assembly and what the rising up of the Occupy The Hood movement means to the Occupy Wall Street movement and other campaigns for economic and social justice in the US. DefendersLIVE airs Monday at noon on 97.3 LP FM in Richmond VA and online at www.WRIR.org and is rebroadcast Tuesdays online only at 11 am and 1pm.