4/4 – Today is the 50th anniversary of the murder of Martin Luther King.

 

Do something in his memory.

(from the Atlantic) “Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested 30 times. In 1963, His most famous arrest,  11 days for demonstrating in violation of a court injunction in Birminham, Alabama, resulted in the creation of his famous “Letter From Birmingham Jail.”

A. G. Gaston, a black millionaire businessman posted the $5,000 bail for King and his colleague Ralph Abernathy. King is said to have wanted to continue his political statement by remaining confined. But Gaston, fearing that the civil-rights movement would suffer if left without King’s leadership for too long, persuaded him to accept the assistance.

Having people get arrested and sent to jail was a foundational strategy of the civil-rights movement, meant to illuminate the injustice and immorality of racial inequality. Since 1963, however, the number of people sitting in jail has skyrocketed. Of the approximately 630,000 people held in more than 3,000 local jails across the United States, 70 percent are awaiting trial and therefore are legally innocent, according to the Prison Policy Initiative. The Vera Institute of Justice reports that black Americans are jailed at nearly four times the rate of white Americans.

There is a growing belief that using money to make sure a defendant will show up in court is inherently unfair to the poor. (vox)(wapo) Research suggests that spending as few as two days in jail can damage a person’s physical and economic well-being and increase the likelihood of cycling back into the criminal-justice system. Advocates of ending the “money-bail system” would prefer to have a judge assess the risk that defendants might flee before deciding whether to release them pending a trial, rather than automatically relying on money as a guarantee.”

It only took 50 years…

In January, California took a big step towards correcting this injustice by when the First District Court of Appeal  declared our current bail setting practices unconstitutional.Let’s finish this fight for him by voicing our opposition to our profoundly counter-productive bail system and urge our state legislators to vote “YES”  on SB 10 – the “California Money Bail Reform” Act. This bill has already passed the California Senate and is now in the Assembly.

Minimal Script: I’m calling from [___] to ask Assemblymember [___] to actively support SB-10, the “California Money Bail Reform” Act..

Contact Information:

State Assemblymember Monique Limón: (CA-37): SAC (916) 319-2037, SB (805) 564-1649, VTA (805) 641-3700, email

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