“If they come for me in the morning…”

Student walkout in support of voting rights restoration. #Youth4RTV

Angela Davis said “If they come for me in the morning, they will come for you at night.” A reminder that none of us are safe from systems steeped in ideas of racial, gender and economic oppression. Not white folks, black folks, not other people of color, not men, women or transgender folks. Not poor or middle class, we all stand to lose from a crime and punishment system designed to protect the profits and property of the wealthy and divide and control the rest of us, so we better come together. The only way to create the change we seek is to build a statewide multiracial movement.

The Justice 4 All Program (J4A) has been working on building our part of the movement during the month of April.

We started things out at Saint Cloud State University. J4A Leaders led a powerful discussion on the impact of the Justice System, and students left ready to take this work to the streets. Much more to come in Saint Cloud.

Three times this month we publicly debated Republicans on the issue of Justice Reform. We were live on MPR with GOP Rep. Tim Miller, author of the proposal to reopen a prison in Appleton MN. We challenged Rep. Miller to invest in communities not private prisons. Shout out to Kevin Reese, who is incarcerated at Lino Lakes, and leads the Bridge Partnership for joining the conversation by phone.

J4A Leaders and Rep. Raymond Dehn brought 5 GOP House Members to North MPLS to hear from community members impacted by the Justice System. GOP Rep. Abigail Whelan apologized for the struggles our communities are facing, to which we responded, “you’ve got a job to do… support our agenda.” We also confronted GOP Rep. Tony Cornish at the U of MN Law School. This was an event where Jeff Smith (Mr. Smith Goes to Prison) told his powerful story and encouraged Justice reform. As a result, Rep. Cornish repeated his support for the restoration of voting rights. We encouraged him to build support among his caucus.

Of course we hit the phones! J4A Leaders generated 21 constituent contacts to GOP Rep. Tim Miller stating opposition to reopening the prison in Appleton, and an additional 33 contacts to 6 GOP members in support of the restoration of voting rights. We turned out over 40 volunteers at our phone banks and had a lot of fun! Don’t miss the next one.

Finally, a huge shout out to the powerful High School students of MPLS who walked out in support of voting rights restoration. The threat of this walk out, moved the MN Senate and Governor to put the Restore the Vote bill on the table for negotiations. Giving proof to the saying “you can’t have a movement without young people.” Shout out to Ben  Jaeger at Roosevelt H.S. for organizing J4A to be part of the action.

If you have taken action with us in the last month or just want to learn more about what we do: Please come out to our Member Meeting this Thursday and go deeper in relationship with folks making things happen.

Our liberation is bound to each other.