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Justice & Advocacy

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Resources – February 2016

Thursday, February 18th, 2016

Prison Justice Resources

  • Sunday, Mar. 20, 6 pm: LEPOCO Potluck & Politics with Sheila Clever speaking on “Pipeline to Prison Learning Tour: A Report,” at LEPOCO 313 W. 4th St., (south) Bethlehem. In September 2015, Sheila Clever was one of 16 participants who spent six days visiting prisons and prison-related facilities in Pennsylvania. Sheila will report on what she learned about the impact of mass incarceration in our state. Please bring some food to share for the potluck dinner at 6 pm; presentation will begin shortly after 6:30 pm. (Rescheduled from Jan. 24)
  • End Mass Incarceration is the focus of Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) spring lobby event, Mar. 12-15, 2016 in Washington, DC. The event website fcnl.org/events/slw includes resources on mass incarceration legislative issues.

Pennsylvania Legislation: (bad bills)

  • HB1091 – Mandatory Sentences for Felons Possessing Firearms. For details about this bill, see DecarceratePA.
  • Other bad bills: ( See decarceratepa.info/stopbadbills )
    All three of these bills have been approved by PA House and are awaiting Senate Judiciary action.

    • HB1089 – to deduct 25% of a prisoner’s wages (which are as low as 19 cents/hr) and 50% of all money sent to them by family and friends, and direct that money towards any fees and costs that person owes. (approved by PA House, awaiting Senate action.)
    • HB758 – to garnish up to 25% of the wages of people who get jobs on their release from prison, with that money going to costs, fines, and restitution.
    • HB123 – requires cash bail that would normally be returned to a defendant to be diverted to pay any outstanding costs, fines, and restitution owed by the defendant for any other case.

Climate Change Resources

Climate Change Impacts and Solutions for Pennsylvania:

Homeless Sheltering in Allentown

Resources – January 2016

Thursday, January 14th, 2016

Prison Justice Resources

  • “Million Dollar Blocks” (Radio Times, January 8, 2016) Marty Moss-Coaine with Clarence Smith, Christopher Moraff, and Eric Cadora (Philadelphia). “Million-Dollar Blocks” are areas where more than $1 million is being spent each year to incarcerate the residents of a single census block.
    Life on a Million-Dollar Block in North Philadelphia (nextcity.org).
    There are several “million-dollar blocks in the Lehigh Valley. For details, see justicatlas.org, a project of the Justice Mapping Center.
  • Sunday, Jan. 24, 6 pm: LEPOCO Potluck & Politics with Sheila Clever speaking on “Pipeline to Prison Learning Tour: A Report,” at LEPOCO 313 W. 4th St., (south) Bethlehem. In September 2015, Sheila Clever was one of 16 participants who spent six days visiting prisons and prison-related facilities in Pennsylvania. Sheila will report on what she learned about the impact of mass incarceration in our state. Please bring some food to share for the potluck dinner at 6 pm; presentation will begin shortly after 6:30 pm.

Immigration / Refugees

  • Clergy Sign-On Letter to stop ICE immigration raids (organized by New Sanctuary Movement, PICC, and other groups). With any questions or concerns, please contact Nicole Kligerman at Nicole@sanctuaryphiladelphia.org or phone at (215) 279-7060.
  • ICE Raids – “Know Your Rights” – Jan. 21, 2016, 6pm – St. Luke’s Evangelical Lutheran Church; 417 N 7th St., Allentown (484-664-3518). In light of recent ICE raids occurring across the nation since January 2, 2016, organizations in Pennsylvania are hosting Know Your Rights information sessions for undocumented immigrants – how to prepare for a possible raid, how to interact with law enforcement, and how to practice your rights. For more information and other meeting locations, see www.paimmigrant.org/paisready.
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day events: See Morning Call listing of Lehigh Valley events.
  • Muhlenberg College: The Institute for Jewish-Christian Understanding’s “Journeys to Justice” program will begin with an opening forum on Jan. 20, 2016and close with a second forum on March 29. See Morning Call story.
  • Christian Unity Worship Service with Rev. James Forbes: “Called to Proclaim the Mighty Acts of the Lord” Jan. 24, 2016, 4-5pm at Dubbs Community Center.
  • Pennsylvania Budget Summit – March 3, in Harrisburg after Gov. Wolf’s February budget address. See pennbpc.org/2016budgetsummit.
  • Ecumenical Advocacy Days April 15-18, 2016 (Fri. evening – Mon.) Washington, DC area “Lift Every Voice! – Racism, Class & Power.” Workshops on U.S. domestic issues, ecojustice, Latin America, Jubilee economics, Africa, Asia-Pacific, and the Middle East, co-sponsored by MCC Washington Office. See www.advocacydays.org

  • Resources – November 2015

    Monday, November 30th, 2015

    Prison Justice Resources

    Pennsylvania Budget Updates

    Immigration / Refugees

    Resources – October 2015

    Monday, October 19th, 2015

    Prison Justice Resources

    Immigration / Refugees

    Allentown Homeless Shelter

    Pennsylvania Budget

    Resources – September 2015

    Monday, September 14th, 2015

    Prison Justice Resources

    • Study Guide from Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference for Michelle Alexander’s book “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.” The 2011 version of the Study Guide is available HERE in PDF format (free); or an updated Study Guide (2014 – with additional charts and tables) is available in print ($14) HERE.
    • “Just Mercy” by Bryan Stevenson, about the experience of African Americans in the criminal justice system has been proposed for an LCC-sponsored book study (cf. bryanstevenson.com)

    Resources – August 2015

    Thursday, August 20th, 2015

    Prison Justice Resources

    • Thursday, October 22, 2015, 8:30am – 3:00pm, (lunch provided), Bloomsburg University
      Coming Home: Connecting Returning Citizens with a Place to Call Home
      Communities are safer when people leaving the justice system – returning citizens – have homes they can afford, supports guidance and supervision. People released from prison with a stable home are 2 1/2 times less likely to be rearrested. Communities are safer, taxpayers save money, and people get a second chance.

      • Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency
      • Pennsylvania Department of Human Services – Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services
      • Bloomsburg University
      • Columbia Montour County Homeless Task Force

      [Details to be announced]

    • October 23-26, 2015 – Breaking the Chains of Mass Incarceration
      This event, sponsored by the Pennsylvania Council of Churches, will be held at the Red Lion Hotel and Conference Center in Harrisburg beginning the evening of Friday, October 23 and running through Sunday, October 25. The event will be followed on Monday, October 26 with a day of action at the Capitol. Plenary speakers for the event include Dr. Harold Dean Trulear, Glenn E. Martin, and Dr. Geert Dhondt.
      For details and registration, see this announcement.

    Events sponsored by Muhlenberg College – Center for Ethics

    (For more information about these events, check the events calendar at www.muhlenberg.edu/main/aboutus/cfe/)

    • Monday, Sept. 14, 2015Visit to Eastern State Penitentiary: Eastern State is (in)famous for its Quaker-inspired theory that complete isolation – and silence – would lead to rehabilitation of inmates.
    • Tuesday, Sept 15, 2015, 7:00 PM, Trumbower Lecture Hall Screening of Dawn Porter Documentary, Gideon’s Army.
    • Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015, 6:45 PM, Miller Forum, Moyer Hall. Dawn Porter: “Defending America in the Age of Mass Incarceration.” Former lawyer turned documentarian, she is currently working with Michelle Alexander on a film version of “The New Jim Crow.”
    • Monday, Sept. 21, 2015, 6:45 PM, Event Space in Seegers’ Union. Daryl Johnson: “Domestic Extremism: Radical Subcultures in America.” Johnson was an HSA agent who was driven out of the agency by politicians alarmed at his report on right-wing domestic terror groups. Johnson now heads a consulting firm specializing in security issues and recently took part in a New York Times Room for Debate discussion of ‘the rea;’ threats to our security.
    • Wednesday, Sept. 30 2015, 6:45 PM, Miller Forum, Moyer Hall. Robert Entman: “The Political Communication of Threat and the Tolerance of Inequality.” Professor of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University. He has done extensive research into news framing, particularly with reference to questions of race and power. He will explore why the U.S. has experienced the sharpest increase in economic inequality among all advanced Western democracies, and how inequality has threatened and created insecurity in the lives of many if not most American families.
    • Tuesday, October 20, 2015, 6:45 PM, Miller Forum, Moyer Hall. Roseanne Scotti: “Does the War on Drugs Make Us Safe?” Drug Policy Alliance, State Director for New Jersey. Scotti brings the statistics and facts to help us understand the conflicting claims surrounding the War on Drugs.

    Other Topics

    Pennsylvania Budget Debate 2015

    Resources – July 2015

    Monday, July 6th, 2015

    Prison Justice Resources

    Other Topics

    • Friday, July 17, 2015 (1:00 pm – 2:30 pm) – free webinar
      “Investing in Young Men of Color as Community Assets: The Role of Public Policy, Youth Voice, and Solution-Centered Strategies”
      This annual forum, sponsored by The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), will feature a panel of speakers discussing how to close gaps in education, employment, and health for boys and young men of color. See details and webinar registration HERE.
    • Larry Pickens: Charleston again becomes pivotal city for U.S. history (Morning Call: July 4, 2015)
    • Local Groups Target Hunger in Whitehall, Coplay (July 2, 2015: Robin Eberhardt, Whitehall-Coplay Press)
      Whitehall-Coplay School District (WCSD) has begun working on three priority issues identified by a student survey in conjunction with the Communities that Care (CTC) program. Those issues are:

      1. parents who think it’s OK to host underage drinking parties
      2. student drug use (marijuana and synthetic drugs), but also hard drugs that have led to at least one fatality
      3. hunger – high percentage of students eligible for subsidized school lunches, and students reporting they are chronically hungry

    Allentown School District

    Resources – June 2015

    Thursday, June 11th, 2015

    Prison Justice Resources

    • PA House Bill 222: Tell PA Lawmakers Not to Punish Women in Recovery by Withholding Food
      House Bill 222, which is up for second consideration the week of June 15, punishes people in recovery from addiction by withholding food from their families by imposing a lifetime ban on benefits for people convicted of felony drug crimes. The ban is not just immoral, it’s ineffective as a deterrent. Prosecutors say refusing to give people in recovery the support to get back on their feet-and in many cases, the ability to support their children while doing so–increases the likelihood of criminal behavior.
      Go here to take action;it will generate emails urging Majority Leader Dave Reed, your state representative, and Governor Wolf to oppose HB 222.
    • States Try to Remove Barriers for Ex-Offenders (Pew Charitable Trusts, June 2015)
    • Allies Against Slavery (based in Austin, TX) – resources on Human Trafficking
    • A Place at the Table” – Tuesday, June 23rd, 11:00 am in Whitehall, PA
      The movie will be shown, followed by panel discussion at Fellowship Community, Zentz Community Center, Whitehall, PA
      (check ja.ppjr.org for updates).
    • Pennsylvania Budget Updates (www.pennbpc.org)
      (property tax relief, Marcellus shale tax policy, public school funding)

      • Pennsylvania Budget Fact Sheets (Gov. Wolf’s proposed budget impact for each legislative district – increase in school funding, reduction in property tax)
    • Federal Budget Updates (www.chn.org)
      See June 9th webinar (when recording and slides are posted in mid-June).

    • Community Forum: Changing Our Schools for a New Age
      June 24 from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Sacred Heart Hospital Conference Center, 421 W. Chew St. in Allentown. The forum is hosted by the Allentown’s Center City Initiative, an effort launched last year and supported by the city, corporate investors and the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley.

    Resources – May 2015

    Thursday, May 21st, 2015
    • Healing Communities Training:
      There have been several Healing Communities training sessions scheduled this spring in eastern Pennsylvania specifically for people who want to be engaged in prison-related ministries. Next scheduled training is June 6 in Lancaster.
      (See ja.ppjr.org for details.)
    • Bread for the World – job opening for Pennsylvania Field Organizer
      The job posting for Larry Hollar’s successor is now available and can be shared with anyone you may know who would be interested:
      Job Posting.
      The person would be based in the Philadelphia area but continue to work with people around the
      northeastern US. Applications received by Friday, May 29 get top priority.
    • PICO / POWER NE (formerly CUNA) – changes in staffing and program focus in progress this spring, working closely with Campaign for Change, re: Allentown School District / structural racism issues.
    • Campaign for Change events ( facebook.com/allentownc4c )
      • Public Testimony at Allentown School Board meetings (next: May 28, 7pm)
      • Steering Comm. is preparing summary report on ASD issues
    • Sojourners: Elevating the Issues: Mass Incarceration
      “Elevating the Issues” is a study guide series designed as a complement to videos from The Summit 2014 and features articles from Sojourners magazine and blog. Elevating the Issues: Mass Incarceration
    • “Homes within reach conference”Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania
      November 16-18, 2015, at the Harrisburg Hilton
    • Immigration: June 9-July 12, 2015:
      See “34 days to end the 34,000 immigrant detention quota” (endthequota.org)


    • ACLU resources on Mass Incarceration: aclu.org/massincarceration.
    • Pennsylvania ACLU has a report on incarceration policy that includes three specific recommendations on reducing prison population in Pennsylvania:
      1. Reduce sentences for small amounts of drugs and increase diversion options so small-time user/sellers are not treated like major sellers, and eliminate mandatory minimums for low-quantity drug trafficking.
      2. Increase the theft thresholds to reflect inflation and relative seriousness of the crime. (Dollar amounts have not been changed in many years.)
      3. Restructure burglary sentencing so home burglary when no person is present is a 2nd degree felony (instead of a 1st degree felony, as it is now.)

      The report is Pennsylvania: Getting Smart on Incarceration Policy (2012).

    • Prison Justice: Model Legislation from Andrea James (Massachusetts): Mass. HB1382
    • After Prison, Landing a Job Is Tricky (Wall Street Journal, 5/18/2015)


    • The Lehigh Valley Food Policy Council is moving from ideas to actions in implementing the various ideas from the Assessment Report: Lehigh Valley Local Food Economy.
    • On Friday, May 29, 2015 (noon to 2 p.m.), RenewLV will be meeting for a lunch/discussion at the Fowler Center on Bethlehem’s Southside at 511 East Third Street, Bethlehem to continue the conversation on growing the local food economy: Pre-registration is required: Register Here.


    Resources – April 2015

    Thursday, April 9th, 2015
    • Jubilee Ministry emergency homeless shelter at Zion’s UCC, Allentown until April 30.
      Zion’s Church has become a refuge for the homeless following the sudden closure of the Conference of Churches’ shelter on Good Friday. By Holy Saturday, advocates for the homeless, church members and staff, and community volunteers rallied to provide a warm, safe place for the homeless to get an evening meal and sleep. This is a stopgap ministry to fulfill the promise that had been given to the homeless that they would have a place indoors to sleep through April 30. Our most pressing need is for volunteers to staff the Fellowship Hall as people arrive at 9 p.m. until midnight, when a professional security guard comes on duty, to insure the safety of our guests and our facility (thanks to a grant from The Grand Committee). Food also is needed. Warm entrees and veggies can be re-heated in our kitchen. Fruit and snacks are welcome. Contributions can be dropped off at the church office Mon-Fri 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Call 610-435-2412, or sign up here.
    • Resources from the Pennsylvania Budget Policy Summit (March 25, 2015 in Harrisburg).
      Includes program and presentation slides on the proposed Pennsylvania Budget for FY2015-16 and related issues.
    • SAVE for ALL sign-on letter (PDF) Strengthening America’s Values and Economy for All (updated March 24, 2015)
      Letter to Members of U.S. Congress from the Coalition on Human Needs, signed by many organizations.
    • Interfaith Statement of Opposition to the Death Penalty (PDF).
      Letter to Texas Governor and State Legislature from pastors/religious leaders.
    • Worker Justice: FIGHT FOR $15 ( www.april15.org ) – April 15, 2015
      Rallies in Philadelphia, New York, and other major cities by low wage workers, including fast food cashiers and cooks, retail employees, child care workers, adjunct professors, home care providers, and airport workers who have come together to fight for $15 an hour and the right to form a union without retaliation.
    • Immigration: Faith Leaders’ Open Letter Against Family Detention
      The letter, circulated by the Interfaith Immigration Coalition, is directed to President Obama, and Jeh Johnson, Secretary of Homeland Security. Everyone from local pastors and youth leaders to denominational heads is invited to sign on. Here is the link to read and sign: goo.gl/forms/HRJNMgT0mW. The letter will be delivered in a meeting with the Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships on Monday, May 4th.
    • Campaign for Change events
      • Community Organizing Training (Apr 11 & 18) with POWER NE.
      • #DropTheMic – Teen Open Mic Night – Friday, April 17, 6:30-9:30 pm
        at The Alternative Gallery, 707 North 4th St., Allentown
      • Rev. James Lawson
        • Lecture at Moravian College, Thursday. April 23, 7pm – location TBA
        • Outdoor Civil Rights Lecture: Fri. April 24, 11:30 am, Arts Park
          (North 5th Street and Court Street, Allentown)