Say NO to the New Youth Jail #People’sMoratorium

If you have not already heard, the city of Seattle plans to construct a New Youth Jail. Here is why you should OPPOSE construction and the steps you can take:

Background

  • Original plan: $200-210 million will be allocated to funding a new juvenile detention center in Seattle.
  • 55% of voters approved it in 2012, as it was described as a “Children and Family Justice Center,” which is misleading and prompted voters to cast an approving ballot.
  • Current estimates show that funding the jail will actually cost $225-230+ million, which is significantly more than what was approved.
  • A tax levy is actually illegal, but the county still wants to build it

Why say “no”?

Alternative Solutions

  • Re-allocating funding to other programs like leadership training, restorative justice/community-building, and Best Start for Kids
  • Build a community center with mental health services, drug counseling, unemployment services, job training, family planning, and crisis counseling
  • Fund after-school programs and childcare
  • Fund shelter housing to mitigate the homelessness crisis in Seattle

Evidence of success:

  • Georgia passed a bill to end juvenile detention centers and instead invest in community-based rehabilitation programs. Felony placements in short-term programs dropped 62%.
  • Texas adopted similar rehabilitation programs for drug addiction and mental illness, community supervision, reformed their parole system, etc.
    → Texas’ crime rate shrank 24%.

What can I do?

Step 1: Take this survey

Click the above link and scroll down. Click “take the survey.”

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Rank the order of budget priorities. Either do not put criminal justice at all, or put it as last

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Step 2: Call a Representative

~~ Information compiled from nonewyouthjail.org ~~

1) Call Dow Constantine to demand a moratorium on construction

Phone Number: 206-263-9600

Depending on the hour you might reach a staff person, or get an answering machine.

Call Script (feel free to personalize, while being sure to stay on message):

Hello, my name is [name] and I’m calling you to demand a formal moratorium on building the youth jail at 12th and Alder in Seattle.

For the past six years, individuals and organizations have been opposing this project. It is clear from recent actions protesting the construction of the jail that there is widespread ethical and fiscal opposition to this project.

I am not impressed that Dow Constantine is championing this racist project at a breakneck pace, while ignoring community requests to renegotiate the purpose of the building.  

Construction cannot continue. Executive Constantine must place an immediate moratorium on construction. Thank you, goodbye.

 

2) Call Your County Councilmember to demand they endorse the #PeoplesMoratorium

Find your County Councillor (map below). You can look up your district online here.

Call your County Councillor

District 1 Rod Dembowski 206-477-1001

District 2 Larry Gossett 206-477-1002

District 3 Kathy Lambert 206-477-1003

District 4 Jeanne Kohl-Welles 206-477-1004

District 5 Dave Upthegrove 206-296-1005

District 6 Claudia Balducci 206-477-1006

District 7 Pete von Reichbauer 206-477-1007

District 8 Joe McDermott 206-477-1008

District 9 Reagan Dunn 206-477-1009

Script for County councilmembers

Hi, this is [your name], I’m a constituent in [District X], . I’m calling to ask Councilmember __[            ]____ to respond to the community’s cry for No New Youth Jail!

I’d like to see the Councilmember hold true to the County’s goal of zero youth detention by endorsing the People’s Moratorium on construction of the new youth jail at 12th and Alder in Seattle.

This project is clearly a racist investment in the school to prison pipeline.

Endorse the People’s Moratorium saying No New Youth Jail!

Thank you, goodbye.

 

The “Right Type” of Student

As an extension to the debate around affirmative action and one of my latest posts, a key issue to address is how college admissions choose their minority students. Studies show that some admissions officers cherry pick how diversity is represented in their post-secondary institution. The main conclusion drawn is that admissions officers are more responsive and favor persons of color who are “deracialized and racially apolitical than they are to those who evince a commitment to antiracism and racial justice,” especially in favor of individuals interested in STEM.

While some would argue that favoring STEM is not a practice that is specific to students of color, that does not excuse admissions officers from dictating who is the right type of minority student.

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“China” as the Demonized Other

China is everywhere in today’s headlines, whether it is the trade war, the Chinese government’s assimilation camps for Uyghurs, Xi Jinping’s “dictatorship,” or the conspiracy theories following the mysterious disappearance of Fan Bingbing. No matter the topic, all these articles associate China with the same thing: Communism.

The trope of China as a superpower is far from a new one. After all, China was arguably the most advanced civilization for a thousand years. China as a threat, however, can be traced back to the Chinese Communist Revolution in the 1940’s. Despite economic transformation and the emergence of China as a regional superpower, China is arguably portrayed as even more threatening in contemporary society. Perhaps this proves that America will never be fully willing to allow another country to become the global hegemon; China will always be something Other.

Continue reading ““China” as the Demonized Other”

Why Affirmative Action Matters

In light of recent lawsuits against Harvard, and the increasing dissent against affirmative action in my own community, I decided to write this very extensive post.

Let’s get a few things straight: I believe affirmative action is a net good system with some current flaws that exist in its current operations. Yes, I am an Asian-American, but my personal identity should not excuse racist or discriminatory beliefs.

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Subtle Forms of Resistance

Berkeley, California: a historically-known site of leftist thought and youth political engagement.

Yet now, during the information era, as a prestigious university just one hour north of Silicon Valley, revolutionary socialists are replaced by computer science geeks and prospective molecular biology majors. Artificial intelligence prototypes “run” on the streets, as if a glimpse into the dystopia of the future.

Nevertheless, as I roam around the UC Berkeley campus, I still catch traces of radical thought –

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Terrorism as an Exaggerated Construction

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Racism is bad. Terrorism is bad. These two statements seem quite intuitive and intrinsically true. Yet, under careful scrutiny, they are quite contradictory.

What do you think of when you hear “terrorism”? Is it the pixelated, daunting images of the 9/11 attacks? Is it throngs of men clad in all black, with their eyes the only humanistic characteristic left to see? Either way, terrorism sparks fear, danger, and a sense of frustration. After all, why would people have a motive to kill and bomb the United States, and their own countries as well? Generally speaking, we view terrorism as a very real current threat.

Yet, the risk of being killed by a terrorist in America is 3.5 million. According to Harvard Professor Joseph Nye, Americans are more than 3.5 times more likely to die in an accident involving a bathtub than from terrorism. Hence is the question: why is America obsessed with painting terrorism as a constant threat?

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One Fair Wage Campaign

I attended the ACLU membership conference this past weekend, which featured an incredible set of speakers, including Kerry Washington, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Patrisse Cullors! Be prepared for an influx of posts regarding the conference 🙂

What I especially loved about this conference is that the speakers gave concrete steps to take in order to support a larger movement (i.e. feminism, dismantling mass incarceration, etc).
The most memorable for me would be the One Fair Wage Campaign!

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“Feminism”

 

Feminism is a loaded term at best, holding a myriad of interpretations ranging from associations with overrated social justice warriors to even the outdated and exclusive women’s movements of the past century. I myself tend to stray away from exclusively labeling myself as a “feminist,” especially for the latter reason, however I believe it is necessary to address many issues of modern-day feminism.

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ACLU Essay

Hi friends!

Today I received some exciting news: I won the ACLU Washington State youth essay contest, so I’ll be going to the ACLU Membership Conference in Washington DC in June. Some people have been wondering if I could share the essay, so here it is!

The prompt was: What do you think is the most important civil liberties or civil rights issue your generation faces? Why? How will you work toward a solution?

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Culture appreciation…or appropriation?

If you’re an avid user of social media, you’ve probably seen this tweet pop around:

Yet again, another post of a non-POC wearing ethnically significant clothing. However, while most would agree an action like non-black folk wearing dreads is not acceptable, this issue witnesses a split in Asian-Americans. There is both a large support for Keziah’s actions as cultural appreciation, but also fervent opposition that deems the dress as cultural appropriation.

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