Building Resilience Archives - Dignity and Power Now

Witnessing Wellness

Witnessing is a word that gets used a lot these days in social justice circles. Like many of our words that come into fashion, it can be easy for them to lose their meaning and or it can be hard to really figure out what that word looks like in action.

Institutions like jails, prisons, and detention centers are made to hide away and prevent witnessing.

So it felt very powerful to set up outside Lynwood Jail on February 10th and bear witness to the very regular trials, tribulations, and heartbreak that people experience visiting their loved ones inside. It felt very powerful to be able to offer support in the form of food, water, and gifts that support health. We gave out 30 DPN wellness kits with a Rest Easy Tea and a Cleansing Body Scrub. We listened to people talk about their families and what their incarcerated loved ones are going through.

This month we were a small group and without tables to boot. But we were able to connect with a lot of people who are interested in building people power and resistance to caging people.

Most of the folks we spoke to had family inside who were dealing with mental health problems. It was heartbreaking to hear how often that was the case. All the more motivation and fire to fuel the jail fight. LA County’s plan to use billions of dollars to make a jail for mentally ill people are blueprints for tragedy, further heartbreak, and injustice.

Let’s take care of ourselves and each other so that we can keep up the fight.

NOW HIRING: Is It Your Dream Career to Abolish the Jail System?

As the movement to end mass incarceration progresses and grows, so does our staff! Dignity and Power Now is expanding and over the next 6 months we will be posting open positions. At this point we’re excited to announce that we’re hiring for 3 full-time positions: Director of Campaigns and Organizing, Managing Director, and Deputy Director of Health and Wellness!

We are an abolitionist organization working for the dignity and power of all incarcerated people, their families, and communities and we strive to build the leadership of formerly incarcerated Black and Brown people. The ideal candidates will be strategic thinkers, storytellers, sociable, passionate about prison abolition, and will have a basic understanding of the Los Angeles County jail system. Formerly incarcerated people are encourage to apply!

applicant_2Director of Campaigns and Organizing

The Director of Campaigns and Organizing plays a key role in developing and guiding our political strategy. She or he is expected to be knowledgeable of the political landscape and be a respected movement leader who can speak to elected leaders, organizers, and members with ease and conviction. The Director of Campaigns and Organizing is charged with ensuring that the campaign plans have the potential to lead to a victory in the current political landscape according to a proscribed timeline.

Do you like talking to people about jail issues?
Are you receptive to trauma and mental health issues?
Do you have 5 years experience in grassroots organizing?
Are you passionate about civilian oversight and stopping jail construction?
Are you ready to join a badass team of abolitionists?


applicant_1Managing Director

The Managing Director plays a key role in overseeing our ongoing operations and procedures. The Managing Director is specifically charged with ensuring that the team is developing and implementing a plan that advances campaign goals, making sure that sufficient funds are being developed to meet the budget adopted by the Board of Directors, maintaining fiscal controls consistent with the financial policies and procedures adopted by the Board of Directors, and that the entire staff is being accountable to their work plans.

Do you get psyched about developing plans and organizing teams?
Do you like developing funds for revolutionary budgets?
Are you ready oversee radical operations and procedures?
Are you looking forward to presenting your hard work to our Board?
Are you ready to join a badass team of abolitionists?


applicant_2Deputy Director of Health and Wellness

The Deputy Director of Health and Wellness is responsible for day-to-day management of our wellness programming and supporting integration of wellness programming into campaign strategy.

Do you consider yourself a movement healer?
Are you receptive to trauma and mental health issues?
Do you have 2 years experience in healing practice?
Are you excited to develop a healing justice structure?
Are you ready to join a badass team of abolitionists?


The Whittier Police Killing: Criticizing Reforms as the Cause of Violence

Every time someone loses their life in the ongoing struggle for real public safety it’s a tragedy. Period. After the shooting in Whittier yesterday, it’s really important that we hold that truth while keeping in mind what we know.

At the press conference Whittier Police Chief Piper made an important point. It is true that laws, propositions, and other reforms are being passed at the ballot box overwhelmingly by the people of California, including Black and Brown folks who want something different than laws that have used prisons and jails to tear our families apart for decades. In the case of AB 109, the bill was signed into effect by the governor. It is also true that in moments like these it is very easy to criticize reforms as the cause of the violence. That is also harmful. Reforms like AB 109 have the real potential to reduce harm in our communities by lowering recidivism, however, they are not being implemented with that goal in mind. In fact, just the opposite is happening.

What we know is that the purpose of AB 109 was not only to fix a deplorably overcrowded prison system in California, but to ensure that our loved ones who are coming out of the system never return.

What we know is that if you’re going to stop “the revolving door” of incarceration, you won’t get there by investing in the people who operate the door.

What we know is that Assembly Bill 109 was designed to give hundreds of millions of dollars a year to reentry services including substance abuse, mental health services, and housing to reduce recidivism. However, of the $1.4 billion that Los Angeles County has received in AB 109 funding, 76% of it has gone to the sheriff’s department and to probation. Reentry service providers, community based treatment programs, housing, job training, and many other vital services that have been proven to reduce recidivism have been de-prioritized.

What we know is that our folks who have lived inside the Los Angeles County jail system are experts and leaders in the Reimagine 109 campaign calling for LA County to put at least 50% of AB 109 funds where they belong. This includes in the hands of formerly incarcerated Black and Brown leaders who are running real programs and have concrete proposals for how to reduce harm in our communities. None of those needs include pouring over a billion dollars into law enforcement.

In this moment it easy to criticize reforms that are being set up to fail. What we know though is that if we are going to achieve real public safety for our communities, we’re going to have to fight for every single dollar to make it happen.

Unplug, Breathe, and Plug-In

Here at DPN we have been busy organizing ourselves to respond to all that is happening in our own families, communities, and world. I’d like to share with you a few things you can to do to dig deeper into your paths as movement makers and creators.

1. Unplug

It is too easy to keep our eyes on bright screens right now. So many of us are worried about our lives, our partners, families, neighbors. Unplug from the screen to make moments for yourself, to connect with your loved ones in person if possible, and reconnect to your higher being and mother nature.

2. Take Deeper Breaths

Breath is your own personal refresh button. Refresh, refresh, refresh, restart. Every moment is an opportunity to connect with yourself and what most matters to you. If breath is hard to find these days, remember that you have tools that can help you. Crystals, sage, incense, flowers, and other plants are all waiting for you to help you breathe deeper into your self and your truth.

3. Plug-in to Meaningful Movement Work!

Listen to your heart, your gut instinct. What is it saying you want to fight for, or fight louder for? Choose your issue, look for organizations and groups doing the frontline work and get involved. Unplugging and breathing can help connect you to the work that has been waiting for you to pick up! Now more than ever we need folks on all the front lines. Front lines are at home, in our neighborhood, our city, county, country, and beyond!

Sending prayers of light, love, and deep joy from the DPN office.
Come by or call if you need support or wish to get involved!