It was 2018, and one of Asher Waite-Jones’ clients was making minimum wage working part-time in a warehouse when he was assessed about $2000 in fines and fees for a DUI conviction. To pay those, the client, a young man in his 20s, dropped out of school so he could pick up additional work hours. But not long afterward, he was laid off.
The EBCLC writes that the mural, titled Know Justice, Know Peace—Our Vision for Community Health, “honors the lives, strength, and stories of women of color, and commemorates the power and vibrancy of EBCLC’s historically Black South Berkeley neighborhood.”
“It is EBCLC’s privilege and responsibility to center the dignity and power of Women of Color,” says EBCLC Executive Director, Zoë Polk. “Our vision, our leadership, our staff, and, now, our home represent this investment. I am particularly humbled to present this gift to the South Berkeley community. They have inspired our pursuit of justice and peace. Through this mural, I hope they recognize that their lives and their stories are bound up in EBCLC’s vision.”
Any changes to zoning plans should prioritize the creation of units for low-income and very low-income people, said Jay Kim, co-deputy director at East Bay Community Law Center. Kim encouraged Berkeley to involve community land trusts to preserve affordable homes.
Last June, Oakland’s school board voted to disband its $6 million school police force, believed to be the country’s first district to do so. It committed to redirecting the money to trained staff like counselors and mentors to better support all students, but especially Black students, who studies show are much more likely to be arrested and disciplined by police of all kinds.
“The very presence of police in schools, in and of itself, is part of the school to prison pipeline,” said Oscar Lopez, the Interim Director of the Education Advocacy Clinic at the East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC). “Feeling like you’re being watched all the time, knowing that a little mistake can land you in the juvenile legal system — that is the school to prison pipeline.”
The idea behind the program is simple, said Zoe Polk, executive director of the East Bay Community Law Center: “Stop homelessness before it happens.”
AB 1869 eliminates 23 adult criminal fees, cancels $16 billion in existing debt, and divests our state’s precious resources from an inherently violent criminal legal system.
Breonna Taylor lived as a beloved family member, an essential healthcare worker, and a community builder. Photos of her reveal how much she had to offer the world. The mural tributes of her in downtown Oakland and across the country evince that she has changed it.
Every day, we partner with undocumented students, essential workers, parents and community members, to take on a legal system entrenched in racism and dehumanization. Thus, we emphatically condemn reports of immigrant women enduring coerced hysterectomies in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers.