Category: Events

AFSC Celebrates 100 Years of Speaking Truth to Power

AFSC Arizona is marking its Centennial with a celebration at La Cocina Restaurant in the historic Presidio district of downtown Tucson! Tuesday, March 28th from 5:00pm to 10:00pm, at 201 N. Court Ave, Tucson AZ 85701! The event is free and open to the public. La Cocina is hosting the event as part of their “Tuesdays for Tucson” series, and will donate 10% of all sales from the evening to AFSC.

Live music, poetry readings, and a silent auction will be the main events of the evening. Our goal is to raise funds for the program’s ongoing work of advocating against mass incarceration and immigration detention, working to improve prison conditions, and reducing the number of people incarcerated in Arizona.

The event will feature:

billy-sed-best

Billy Sedlmayr with Chicha Dust. Justice on Tap, 2014

  • Live music performance by Billy Sedlmayr, Tucson desert rock icon.
  • Live inside/outside poetry readings and storytelling from the North Star Collective, an activist group that includes people who have been charged, convicted and branded with an arrest and/or conviction history.
  • Silent auction featuring items donated from local artists and businesses, including the Rialto Theater, Antigone Books, and Arizona breweries, as well as a signed copy of Orange is the New Black, by Piper Kerman—the book that inspired the Netflix series.

2017 marks the 100th Anniversary of the American Friends Service Committee. Founded in 1917 by pacifist Quakers as an alternative to military service during World War I, the Service Committee has grown to an international organization with programs in 15 countries around the world and 37 offices in the US.

fundraiser-posterAFSC has always made it a priority to build sustainable programs that focus on the
individual needs of the community where each office is based. Here in Arizona, we have focused on the movement to end mass incarceration since opening in 1981. As we move through 2017, the need for this work has intensified—with national rhetoric going backwards to the fear mongering “lock ‘em up” mentality that caused the extreme increase in prison populations and instigated irreparable harm to individuals and families. Most recent, the Department of Justice called to increase the use of private prisons despite the pattern of inhumane and unsafe conditions for-profit prisons produce.

Now more than ever, AFSC Arizona must continue our work in reducing the prison population, challenging for-profit incarceration, and improving conditions for incarcerated people.  Please join us in celebrating social justice and charting a path forward to continue speaking truth to power for another 100 years.

For more information, please visit the Facebook event page.

Palestinian Journalist will visit Tucson

Palestinian journalist and author Mohammed Omer has been documenting the realities faced by people and communities in Gaza for over a decade. This month, Omer will be on a speaking tour of several cities in the United States. We invite you to meet and hear from Omer here in Tucson.

Please Join us for these events:

Nov. 14, 6 p.m.: Tucson, Arizona
Revolutionary Grounds, 606 N 4th Ave., Tucson, Arizona 85705
Book Reading
Organized by AFSC

Nov. 15, 7-9 p.m.: Tucson, Arizona
Global Justice Center, 225 E 26th St, Tucson, Arizona 85713
Public Event co-sponsored by the Southern Arizona BDS Network, Students for Justice in Palestine – University of Arizona, Jewish Voice for Peace Tucson

It’s been more than 10 years since Israel imposed a military blockade on Gaza. In that time, “Gaza has endured three Israeli military assaults from land, sea, and air that have left thousands of Palestinians dead, many more badly injured and maimed, and much of the [Gaza] strip’s infrastructure and fragile economy in ruins,” writes Omer.

Learn more about the crisis in Gaza and why the U.S. must demand an end to the blockade at one of Omer’s upcoming appearances. #gazaunlocked

 

Make your voice heard on state budget priorities

Think Arizona spends too much on prisons? 

Now is your chance to be heard!!

After banning public testimony during departmental budget hearings, the House Appropriations Committee has decided to hold a “Budget Conversation Tour,” to solicit public input on the state budget.

Gov. Ducey has stated that he wants to reduce prison populations, but his budget recommendation proposed:

  • $17.6 million for 1,000 new private prison beds.That is more than 10 times the amount he wants to spend on the long-term, sustainable solutions to reducing our prison population.
  • Authorization for the Department of Corrections to bid out a new contract for ANOTHER 2,500 beds, with a projected price tag of over $60 million per year.

It is vital to attend these hearings and let Arizona legislators know NO MORE PRISON BEDS IN ARIZONA!  REFORM IS THE KEY!

UPCOMING TOWN HALLS:

Continue reading

Are YOU Invested in Private Prisons?

private prisoner

The shocking riots in the privately-operated Kingman prison and the cancellation of the contract for the facility has raised significant questions about the role of prison privatization in Arizona. Polls show that Arizona voters are deeply uncomfortable with the notion of incarceration for profit, and many are raising questions about why the state is spending more on prisons than education.

Private prison companies are one of the drivers of the prison boom in Arizona, including support for SB1070, the controversial anti-immigrant bill passed in 2010. The corporations wield tremendous economic and political influence in our state.

All this can seem overwhelming. What can the average person do against such powerful corporations?

On Saturday, October 24th, the American Friends Service Committee will provide the public with real strategies for individuals to deal a blow to the for-profit incarceration industry. The workshop will provide information about boycott campaigns, divestment options, shareholder activism, and other options.

Participants will learn how to scan their investments to determine if they may unknowingly be invested in mass incarceration through mutual funds or other means. They will also learn about how to bring economic pressure to bear on these corporations.

The workshop is offered in conjunction with Boycott!: The Art of Economic Activism, a unique collection of historical art posters from different boycott campaigns from the 1960’s through today. Including posters from the Montgomery Bus Boycott, United Farm Workers grape and lettuce boycotts, and divestment from apartheid-era South Africa, the art exhibit is on display in Tucson October 10 through 27 at Armory Park Center, 220 S. 5th Avenue. Learn more. 

WHO:  American Friends Service Committee

WHAT:  Workshop on economic activism to end mass incarceration

WHEN:  Saturday, October 24th, from 6:00-8:00pm

WHERE:  Armory Park Center, 220 S. 5th Avenue, Tucson, AZ

Tell Sen. McCain that immigrant criminal prosecutions have got to go!!!

End Operation StreamlineTomorrow, Tuesday October 6, @ 11:30pm people will join outside of Senator John McCain’s office in downtown Tucson for a press conference and to rally against Senate Resolution 104!

SR 104 claims Operation Streamline is effective and needs to be expanded. This form of criminally prosecuting immigrants merely for their presence in the United States must end and we need your help. Please join us tomorrow to lend your presence and voice to the call to end criminal prosecutions of immigrants!!

Also, please consider signing this petition asking the members of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to reject SR 104 which they will consider on Wednesday, October 7 in committee.

Below is the PRESS RELEASE for more information:

COMMUNITY TO SENATORS MCCAIN AND FLAKE: KILL OPERATION STREAMLINE!

Inhumane, ineffective and costly immigrant prosecutions fueling incarceration rates

CONTACT: Amanda Garces – (520) 770-1373 – coalicion@derechoshumanosaz.net

Tucson, AZ. – Senate Resolution 104, presently set for hearing before the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) on October 7, 2015, calls for a “sense” of the Senate that a little-known federal immigrant-prosecution program, Operation Streamline, is a “success” that should be continued and expanded. On the contrary, this extremely expensive, inhumane, and embarrassing program has not been proven effective in reducing migration, even according to the Department of Homeland Security’s own Office of Inspector General. The OIG’s recent audit did NOT substantiate the claims of Operation Streamline’s “success,” and also noted that the Border Patrol may be violating international treaties by prosecuting refugees.

“The call for more resources to continue a cruel process to criminalize more and more migrants is shameful,” stated Isabel Garcia of Derechos Humanos. “The taxpayer should be outraged at the expenditure of millions and millions of dollars, including over $30 million per month in the Tucson U.S. District Court alone, with the result that “improper entry” and “reentry after deportation” are now the most frequently prosecuted federal crimes in the nation,” added David R. Wolf of the End Streamline Coalition.

The Senators’ claim that the dramatic drop in migration was in part due to Operation Streamline is simply not true. All consensuses identify the reason for the decline as the economic downturn in the United States. Equally troubling is the Senators’ claim that a criminal prosecution and prison time will cause a migrant not to return. This assertion ignores the realities of individuals and their families fleeing violence in their countries of origin, seeking economic opportunity, or reuniting with family members in the United States. Meanwhile, the impact of these convictions effectively bars those convicted from ever being able to return lawfully, even if their entire families live in the U.S.

The private-prison corporations are the only parties finding “success.” Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), raked in $1.6 billion in 2014 revenue, including $724.2 million from federal government contracts. Senator McCain and dozens of members of Congress and the Senate have benefited from this “success,” with Senator McCain in particular receiving tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions.

Enough! We must call and write to Senate HSGAC members, and particularly Senator McCain, demanding that Senate Resolution 104 be withdrawn and voted down and that prosecutions for crossing the border be stopped altogether.

JOIN US:      TUESDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2015, 11:30 AM

                        Office of Senator John McCain

                        407 W. Congress, Tucson, AZ 85701

Public Hearing on Prison Privatization Sept. 30, 2015

The shocking riots in the privately-operated Kingman prison and the cancellation of the contract for the facility has raised significant questions about the role of prison privatization in Arizona. The Dept. of Corrections found “a culture of disorganization, disengagement, and disregard of ADC policies and fundamental inmate management and security principles.”

The Department of Corrections is evaluating offers from other for-profit prison corporations to take over the Kingman contract. Meanwhile, prison corporations are also bidding on a contract for up to 2,000 new beds. The Department of Corrections has requested approval for an additional 2,500 beds in the FY2017 budget.

There is no independent, public oversight over these contracts or facilities. In 2012, the Arizona Legislature repealed a law requiring cost and quality comparisons of public and private prisons. Yet, Arizona spends $126 million on private prisons annually.

In the interest of government accountability, integrity of our corrections system, and public safety, the Arizona Justice Alliance, NAACP of Maricopa County, American Friends Service Committee and other partners are holding a Public Hearing on Prison Privatization on Wednesday, September 30th in Phoenix.

The hearing will be convened by a panel of elected officials and community leaders who will hear the testimony and pose questions.

The hearing will feature testimony from all the parties involved in or impacted by prison privatization:

  • The Arizona Department of Corrections
  • The for-profit prison management corporations
  • Prison staff
  • Prisoners, formerly incarcerated people and their families
  • Local community members
  • Experts on the financial and social impacts of prison privatization

Members of the public will also have an opportunity to present testimony.  The hearings will be video recorded and will be presented to the state legislature and the Governor, along with written materials produced through the hearings.  Members of the public wishing to present testimony should bring a printed copy of their remarks to enter into the record.

WHO:  Sponsored by the Arizona Justice Alliance, NAACP of Maricopa County, American Friends Service Committee, partners and concerned citizens.

WHAT:  Public Hearing on Prison Privatization in Arizona

WHEN:  Wednesday, September 30, 2015 6:00-8:00pm

WHERE:  Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church, 801 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix, AZ

We’re Hiring!!!

help wantedUPDATE: The application period for this job has closed.

AFSC Arizona is extremely excited to announce that we are growing our staff once again! We are now accepting applications for a Criminal Justice Program Intern. This is a part-time (21 hours/week) salaried position with generous benefits. The complete job description is attached below the page break, and the link for completing applications can be found here as well as at the end of the job description. Continue reading