Politicians Betrayed Us

Resist: Politicians Betrayed Us, So We Fight Harder Part 12 of 12

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The LA county board of supervisors may have given them the cold shoulder, but this coalition of activists are still going to fight for what’s right.

By Patrisse Cullors

Politicians Betrayed Us – The LA County Board of Supervisors may have given them the cold shoulder, but this coalition of activists are still going to fight for what’s right.

Politicians Betrayed Us

Transcript provided by YouTube:

00:17

Can’t do much now. Just gotta get there.

00:22

Today, some of the Justice LA team

00:24

is meeting with supervisor Hilda Solis

00:26

to try to convince her to draft a motion

00:27

against the 3.5 billion dollar jail plan.

00:31

Out of the five supervisors, four of them are aligned

00:38

Would they say they’re abolitionists? No.

00:40

Would they say there’s a need

00:42

for alternatives to incarceration? Yes.

00:44

Will any of them say that we need to stop the jail plan?

00:49

I’m trying to just be easy. Like…

00:53

I’m just trying to be like, this is gonna be

00:54

exactly what it needs to.

01:04

– Can you get there earlier, like 12:15?

01:12

Yeah, it’s gonna be me, you, and Ivette.

01:14

Everyone else is gonna meet us there.

01:15

This in one of our last ditch efforts

01:21

in the County Board of Supervisors.

01:23

This is the body that has the power to decide

01:26

that this jail plan can stop.

01:29

Nobody wants to be the first supervisor

01:31

to put their neck out there, but if we can get Solis,

01:33

we can Hahn, and we can possibly get Ridley-Thomas,

01:37

and open up the whole conversation.

01:41

It’s really important that we…

01:42

walk out of here with a concrete “yes” from Solis.

01:54

– Hi, I’m here for the Hilda Solis meeting.

01:56

– Okay, your name? – Patrisse.

01:57

– Patrisse. Last name? – Cullors.

01:59

– I hope that they decide

02:02

that we don’t need these two new jails.

02:03

I’m praying that happens, but…

02:06

Only God knows what’s gonna happen.

02:11

– Justice LA created a motion. We actually drafted

02:15

a document ourselves that says what we want.

02:17

It says we want this county to create

02:20

a working group that will coordinate

02:23

all the activities happening

02:25

around alternatives to incarceration,

02:27

that will actually investigate all the investments

02:29

that have happened in housing,

02:31

and addressing homelessness, and mental health,

02:34

and actually look at how will that reduce

02:36

jail bed usage in Los Angeles County.

02:40

And that rigorous assessment will be used

02:43

to stop and reduce the jail population in LA.

02:56

(Patrisse): I’m (bleep) pissed.

02:58

Supervisor Solis said she wouldn’t present a motion

03:00

to put a moratorium on building the jails.

03:03

These five people are literally allowing

03:06

death chambers to be built.

03:08

Their only response is “my hands are tied”.

03:10

And I think it’s shameful,

03:12

it’s embarrassing, and it’s infuriating.

03:17

At this point, the jail plan is a political plan.

03:20

They’re too afraid to change policy,

03:22

because it may impact their own political careers,

03:25

and their own political aspirations.

03:27

And that has been such a huge challenge for our movement.

03:30

What I’m most clear of today

03:32

is that none of these supervisors

03:33

are gonna stop the jail plan.

03:35

She said, “I looked at your motion,

03:37

“I’m not gonna stop a jail. I can’t do it.”

03:39

My organizer mind wants to be like,

03:41

“I’m okay, we got this!

03:43

“We’re gonna do this, we’re gonna fight it.”

03:45

And it’s sometimes in these moments as an organizer

03:49

– I didn’t say anything, because I was really confused.

03:52

I was… I don’t know. She threw me for a loop today.

03:57

– It’s always interesting to meet with an elected official

04:00

especially because it often lands flat.

04:03

We just have to eat that, you know?

04:09

I wouldn’t be an organizer if I didn’t have hope,

04:12

if I didn’t know that there is a way out of this.

04:18

Mark-Anthony, have you heard back from Hilda Solis’ office?

04:22

– Haven’t heard back from them yet.

04:24

– She did get kind of defensive when she was like,

04:25

“I did try to stop it at first.”

04:28

You know, which is true. She did,

04:29

but she didn’t continue.

04:30

For us, this isn’t over.

04:34

They might have decided that they’re gonna break ground,

04:39

but we know that we’re going to fight back.

04:42

I think we can build the fire up again.

04:46

It’s just gonna take a lot of work.

04:48

This is like, a different type of campaign

04:52

We’ve gotta figure out some other ways.

04:54

The next phase of this is taking it

04:55

to the state of California.

04:56

Only way they can really and truly build this jail

05:00

is if they have money from the state.

05:02

So we have to take this to the state of California,

05:04

and to our state legislators.

05:06

We also wanna take this to voters.

05:09

We wanna really move on our next steps

05:12

and bring this to LA County for voters to vote on it.

05:16

– I like the more aggressive approach.

05:21

You know, just getting in their face,

05:23

you know, like actually, I want you to walk outside,

05:26

and I want there to be a jail bed

05:29

Because that’s what you’re doing to our houses,

05:31

you’re putting jail beds in our backyards.

05:33

– It’s hard to be optimistic

05:35

about the County Board of Supervisors.

05:37

I’m optimistic about what we’re gonna be doing

05:42

We have plenty more up our sleeves.

05:45

For me, it’s a call to action.

05:47

We’re not gonna stop this fight.

05:50

This setback is just the reason

05:52

to build the movement even bigger.

05:55

This is a little graph of how many people

05:57

are locked up in the United States.

05:59

1.3 million are in state prisons for drugs,

06:02

burglaries, awaiting trial.

06:04

Almost half a million people are just in jail

06:08

An organization is only a group of people

06:11

with one goal, one mission.

06:15

it was three of us getting together at a coffee shop.

06:18

Organizing is a natural response

06:21

to an unnatural situation.

06:26

we talk about Malcolm X, Assata…

06:31

And the best kind of organizing comes from the streets.

06:36

– To organize people, it’s a lot of hard work.

06:39

But despite all of those different challenges,

06:41

people do still come together.

06:44

We have the power to make a difference in our country,

06:49

This starts with one person, and another person,

06:53

working together until the momentum builds

06:58

– The jail fight took so much out of us,

07:02

That just made me that much stronger.

07:04

We operate off of three pillars:

07:06

abolition, transformative justice

07:09

I did six years in prison,

07:11

I joined the organization as a volunteer,

07:14

and then a member, then staff, then director.

07:17

So I like to say that I’m the perfect model

07:19

of transformative justice. (all laughing)

07:20

There were so many barriers placed up against me.

07:23

I wanna set a strong foundation

07:25

for the next group of organizers who are coming in

07:28

(crowd chanting): UTLA! UTLA!

07:35

(cheering, chanting continues)

07:41

– Hi, I’m a student with “Student Deserve”

07:43

and there are some things I am confused about.

07:46

I wanna know why there are at least three police officers

07:48

a day on my campus, but only one nurse that comes

07:51

I wanna know why California spends seven times

07:53

more per prisoners a year than per student?

07:57

Tell me why LA is tearing down the biggest jail in America

08:03

for a budget of 3.5 billion dollars?

08:05

Yet our after school programs,

08:07

teachers, and benefits for teachers

08:09

continue to be under attack.

08:11

Fighting takes a lot of forms, and…

08:13

this is like, a very therapeutic form of that.

08:15

‘Cause it’s a way to stand together with everybody and say:

08:18

“Yeah, we’re right, we’re here,

08:20

“and we’re gonna keep fighting.”

08:22

(woman): No justice, no peace!

08:24

(crowd): No justice, no peace!

08:31

– I’m not just here for John Horton my son,

08:33

I’m not just here for everybody else that lost their babies,

08:37

I’m here for y’all, the generations after these,

08:40

’cause if we don’t stop it now, it’s gonna keep going,

08:46

I’m just a mother that grew up in Watts…

08:50

and had a tragedy happen to me,

08:53

had my son murdered by the Sheriff’s Department.

08:55

And out of his death, it made me an activist.

09:00

And I’ll be an activist for the rest of my life

09:03

to help other people’s kids.

09:06

– I’m never gonna give up. I can’t give up.

09:08

I can’t give up because I’ve been there.

09:10

I’ve been to prison, I know what it’s like,

09:13

I know what’s happening with people.

09:15

And I couldn’t see myself doing anything else, because…

09:20

I have to be the voice for the voiceless.

09:26

– If it really means something to you,

09:28

if you’re impacted by it,

09:30

you’re not gonna give up.

09:32

And that’s who we need in this fight.

09:35

People that are not going to give up

09:36

so we can have the next generation of people

09:40

like, read it in a history book and say,

09:43

“Oh my God, that was so awful, I’m so glad we’re out of that.”

09:46

That’s what I wanna see.

09:50

– Those of us who believe in social justice,

09:53

it’s important to continue

09:54

to hold our elected officials accountable

09:56

to really invest in what people need.

10:02

– Tune in to your communities, and tune in to your neighbors,

10:05

and listen to their stories. Everybody has a story.

10:08

Educate yourself about what’s going on around you

10:15

– The system’s foundation is corrupt,

10:21

And the only way to deal with something that’s rotten

10:25

And you start all over again.

10:27

You plant new seeds. That’s what Justice LA is doing.

10:30

We are literally uprooting what is rotten,

10:34

and we’re planting new seeds.

10:40

It is our duty to fight for our freedom.

10:43

(crowd): It is our duty to fight for our freedom.

10:46

– It is our duty to win! – It is our duty to win!

10:49

– We must love and respect one another!

10:51

– We must love and respect one another!

10:54

– We have nothing to lose but our chains.

10:56

– We have nothing to lose but our chains.

10:59

– This is not a moment to give up,

11:01

this is a moment to clarify our goal

11:03

and to say, “We will figure this out.”

11:06

We will put our bodies on the line

11:08

if they try to build that jail. We will show up,

11:10

in front of the jail, we will show up

11:12

in front of the crane, and we will make sure

11:14

that that shit doesn’t get built.

Politicians Betrayed Us

This post was previously published on YouTube.


Photo credit: Screenshot from video

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