Thank You! Follow Up from the Santa Rita Jail Noise Demo

Brick by brick, wall by wall – we will make these cages fall!

Greetings jail fighters, ACJF_NoiseDemo1

It’s been two weeks since our noise demo at Santa Rita jail, and we are still feeling the energy and power that was generated that evening! Over 60 people joined together with pots, pans, trumpets, and drums to send prayers, songs, and chants over the walls of Santa Rita jail to those imprisoned there.

Emile DeWeaver, a comrade inside San Quentin who heard about the noise demo, sent this message earlier last week, and it was shouted across the barbed wire and concrete:

“You have power. The biggest lie I ever bought was believing that because I’m in prison, I’m powerless. They treat you like shit to accustom you to feeling powerless; they hope you will confuse that feeling with actually being powerless. You are not.

…Your humanity is one of your greatest weapons, your resilience, your dreams, and even your compassion. The state keeps you separate from the public, so they can feed the public whatever story about you they want. But if the public ever sees your humanity, it ruins the state’s stories about you. The jig is up, and the world has to face that you are just like them, and but for the grace of God, they would be just like you. You stay in this struggle and you will discover what a powerful weapon that is.

I have never met you, and I love you.”

ACJF_NoiseDemo3       ACJF_NoiseDemo2

Thank you to Indigo Mateo for MC-ing, Patricia Contreras Flores for the beautiful prayers, Pete Woiwode for leading chants, Brooke Anderson for photographing the event, and Oakland’s El Huarache Azteca for their amazing tamales that fueled the action! And special thanks to all those that came out on a drizzly Thursday evening to make some noise for community investment and inside-outside solidarity.

Two weeks ago the Alameda County Board of Supervisors approved the spending of hundreds of thousands of dollars on the architect who will design the new torture chamber for Santa Rita. The Alameda County Jail Fight is organizing with Alameda County’s Mental Health Advocacy Board to develop alternatives to imprisonment and build a plan to decarcerate Alameda County — we will keep you updated on those details, and let you know more ways to plug in as that project progresses!

If you are interested in joining the fight, there are 2 ways to plug in immediately:

1. Outreach:

The Alameda County Jail Fight Coalition is continuing to do jail outreach on Friday evenings and Saturdays mornings during visiting hours. Check out this document to sign up for an outreach shift, and an on-point person will reach out to you to coordinate rides and provide a brief orientation to our outreach work.

2. Come to our weekly coalition meetings.

Check out our Facebook page or email to join our listserv for weekly meeting announcements.

In the meantime, we urge you to contact your Supervisor to let them know you disagree with their decision to fund the expansion of Santa Rita jail. Let them know that mental health in a jail is an oxymoron, and county funds belong in community services, not in jails.

Supervisor contact numbers (Not sure what district you live in? Check here.)

District 1: Scott Haggerty, (510) 272-6691
District 2: Richard Valle, (510) 271-5115
District 3: Wilma Chan, (510) 272-6693
District 4: Nate Miley, (510) 272-6694
District 5: Keith Carson, (510) 272-6695

Thank you again for all that you do in helping to build a world with community power and without cages.

In solidarity,

The Alameda County Jail Fight Coalition

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