Yesterday, the No New SF Jail Coalition joined the Sister Warriors Freedom Coalition outside of County Jail 2 in a Banner Drop Statewide Day of Action to echo our community’s calls for California Governor Gavin Newsom to immediately:
- Free people from state prisons, use power, including mass clemency and emergency release
- Stop transfers from state and local custody to ICE and between California prisons;
- Stop the expansion of immigration detention
- Hold the detention industry accountable.
The statewide banner drop coordinated dozens of groups from San Diego to Yuba to rename jails, prisons, and other detention facilities after Governor Newsom. We are especially grateful to have been part of this event alongside SF members of the Sister Warriors Freedom Coalition, who are doing rad work to push for decriminalization, decarceration, and transformative justice across the state.
As California nears seven months since the initial shelter-in-place order that started a series of COVID-19 protocols, the lives of incarcerated Californians continue to be at risk as the coronavirus spreads inside prisons, jails, and detention centers. Despite an onslaught of hunger strikes across detention centers in the state and various meetings to demand Governor Gavin Newsom use his authority to save lives, he has failed to take real action. Meanwhile, the COVID death toll in state prisons is now 68, and outbreaks in ICE detention centers continue to mount.
San Francisco is no stranger to Governor Newsom’s legacy of inaction when it comes to our community members who are in cages. As Mayor of San Francisco, Governor Newsom failed to close the seismically unsafe jail at 850 Bryant, which had been slated for demolition for a decade by the time he left office.
We are in solidarity with members of our community in calling for Governor Newsom to keep true to California’s promise to be a sanctuary state and prevent any further infections or deaths as a result of our state’s failure to decarcerate and its shameful cooperation with ICE. Governor Newsom has the authority to meet the community’s demands and combat the medical emergency that ICE is causing worldwide in spreading COVID-19 — and the crisis in California’s own prisons. To fail to do is so is to be complicit in this systemic state violence.
A recording of the statewide day of action can be streamed at the following link.