Public Witness

Reimagining Justice

Allison Tanner

April 1, 2022

Justice Jam Speakers: John Jones III, Pastor Allison, Wendy Still, Saabir Lockett, Berthuard Lewis

On March 9 our Justice Jam on Alternatives to Incarceration in Alameda County discussed the need to re-imagine what justice looks like in our communities. I argued that doing this means prioritizing accountability over punishment, compassion over condemnation, restorative justice over retributive justice, and dignity and humanity over criminalization of fellow human beings. It means we provide opportunities for redemption and repair, as well as the resources needed for these to become reality. Failing to do so harms everyone in society. Because justice is relational, the entire community suffers from harm perpetrated, endured or observed. We owe our community better, we can do better and we must do better. If you missed this profound conversation on Alternatives to Incarceration in conversation with public officials and systems impacted people directly involved with reimagining justice for a safer Alameda County, I encourage you to check out the recording.

On March 23, Lakeshore and partner congregations attended a VISION Act Forum to advocate for alternatives to incarceration for immigrants. AB937 (the VISION Act) is a bill that supports immigrants who have received parole or release from jails or prisons. The majority of beds in detention centers are currently filled by immigrants who have been doubly punished through a partnership between Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and California Department or Rehabilitation and Corrections (CDCR) that funnels people without full citizenship from jails or prisons into for profit detention centers. If you have not done so already I encourage you, on behalf of the Sanctuary Working Group, to send an email to Governor Newsom to share your support of this much needed legislation to ensure justice and reduce harm for our immigrant neighbors (sample text below). If you live in Senator Bill Dodd’s District 3 or Senator Steve Glazer’s District 7, we encourage you to reach out to your Senator as well – phone numbers and sample scripts can be found here.

  • Submit comments to Governor Newsom through his website, mark the comment subject as “Legislation Issues/Concerns” and “Pro”

Sample script:

Dear Governor Newsom,

My name is [NAME], a constituent living in [CITY], and am a member of Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church. I urge Governor Newsom to support the VISION Act (AB 937). The VISION Act would stop ICE transfers of immigrant community members who have already served their time in local jails or state prisons. This is important because California must stop assisting ICE who routinely targets Black, Latinx, & AAPI immigrants. I urge the Governor to support the VISION Act, stand up to racism, and keep our immigrant families and communities whole.

[Add your own language and faith grounding as you are led]

Thank you for the many ways you support the work of reimaging justice in Alameda County and throughout California.

Praying for peace, working for justice,

Pastor Allison