personal stories Archives - Page 2 of 2 - Dignity and Power Now

Welcome New DPN Staff!

Carrie Leilam Love
Cultural Arts Coordinator

carrie_staff_photoCarrie Leilam Love is an artist and freedom fighter from Oakland, CA. She writes short stories and poems about love and struggle. Sometimes she does narrative based performance art. She’s been a teaching artist and arts administrator in the Bay Area for 10 years. She is the daughter and sister of formerly incarcerated black men and goes hard to smash the prison industrial complex in their names and in solidarity with incarcerated people world wide.

 

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Chantal Coudoux
Associate Development Director

chantal_profileChantal graduated from Scripps College with a BA in politics with a focus on race theory and social justice. She has volunteered with Dignity and Power Now for the last two years. She focuses on development and programmatic work with Success Stories. Prior to her time at Dignity and Power Now, Chantal worked with a Los Angeles based civil rights organization doing policy advocacy and community organizing. She is a big fan of cats, fútbol, bachata, and The Backstreet Boys.

 

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Salimah Hankins, Esq.
Director of Legislative Advocacy

salimah_profileSalimah Hankins is a human rights activist, community organizer, attorney, creative-writer, dancer, cyclist, street-art-enthusiast, and a traveler. Before starting as the Director of Legislative Advocacy at Dignity and Power Now, she served as the CERD Consultant for the United Nations’ “Race Treaty” (CERD) review for the US Human Rights Network. Salimah has advocated for the rights of low-income clients of color as a civil rights attorney at the ACLU of Maryland and the Fair Housing Justice Center. She has also served as a legislative aide to a Massachusetts state senator, director of human rights for a Brooklyn-based human rights organization, prisoners rights law clerk at a Boston-based civil rights law firm, and a pro bono attorney for a variety of civil rights groups. She has also given lectures, presented her research at conferences, and published in a variety of journals. Salimah is originally from New Orleans and has called Boston, Baltimore, and Brooklyn home. She currently resides in the Bay Area with her husband who teaches literature (with a focus on race and gender) at the college level. Salimah enjoys reading about and fighting for the liberation of oppressed peoples, and snuggling with her cat, Malcolm.

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St. Anne’s Interns Review Working Group Meeting

The women from St Anne’s have been relentlessly making phone calls and attending working group meetings in support of a civilian review board with power. Here they offer their reviews on what it felt like to participate in the working group process.

“My experience was very nervous today because I chose to speak about my oldest brother and why he is doing time. I feel great that they felt my story was a great story and decided not to keep the vote going on with having the nine-member board. What I also liked is that this time they actually seem to be interested in what we were talking about and just listened and didn’t have any bad feedback. Then what I didn’t like is that it was really frustrating that they were on the same vote for an hour and still weren’t satisfied with what they decided on. I also thought that was very confusing.” – Tonisha Jackson

“I just feel that they didn’t care about the community. The community has to be there because they are the ones watching deaths, shootings, and abuse from the sheriff’s department. They are never going to understand the community because they re not in the community’s shoes. On a civilian review board, some people on the working group didn’t pay attention to the title of the discussion today.” – Ana Angeles

“There was a lot of discussion back and forth over two words, ‘and’ and ‘or.’ I also spoke for the first time and I was nervous. My hands were cold after I spoke. There are a lot of options about the nine-member board. It is hard to pay attention because most of the time they ignore what the people say. The community is what matters. The public should be heard because we are affected, not the people up on the board. Because why? White people almost get away with everything. The black and brown community is the one getting affected. The right thing is to stop sheriff violence. Get your voice heard to make sure the violence is stopped.” – Diana Villeda

“I feel they are not really trying to give us what we want as far as the nine-member board. I feel that they’re not trying to let us be involved as far as having to say to pick four members that have been directly impacted. I feel they want all kinds of law enforcement and lawyers. That they all know and keep everything private and away from the people that care. I feel like they spent our time talking about choosing words and fixing grammar when they need to get straight to the point.” – Shaerice Brooks

“Why did they take up so much time deciding on one little word such as ‘and’ or ‘or’? It shouldn’t take rocket science to figure that out. They also want to get the sheriff department involved, why? It’s not about them and what they want shouldn’t matter. I matter. The people that have witnessed and experienced for themselves matter. It’s so stressful to try and make them understand. If it takes to go up there, to call, and to show up to their doorstep, then so be it. I’m a person who knows what I want. We know what we want. We want change. Because at the end of the day, we matter.” – Jasmine Brandon

Female Incarceration at CRDF

Incarceration at Century Regional Detention Facility (CRDF, “Lynwood”, or simply “the women’s jail”) comes in all colors, brown, black and white – but those are not the colors you need to worry about. The color green, the men and women in Los Angeles County Sheriff uniforms, that will scare you.

LASD does not keep track of how many women are incarcerated each year in the facility. Neither does the facility allow an inmate a secured avenue for filing complaints against officers and staff. I personally know this to be fact. While incarcerated for six months at CRDF I was subjected to horrors and criminal acts perpetrated against me and others by LASD. I saw over-medication, inhumane treatment, verbal abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, drugs, (heroin, cocaine, and numerous prescription pills being sold inside), sexual favors, and numerous (too many to count) coverups perpetuated and inflicted by deputies against prisoners, including the mentally disabled. These issues affect every female in that facility. I was kicked out less then eight hours after verbally complaining to LASD about a staff member exposing his penis to me in the medical module during a shoulder x-ray. At 2 a.m. I was cut loose in the dark, no money, no way home.

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CRDF is an institution run for profit, not rehabilitation. The officers that work inside have no accountability for the criminal acts that they commit. I have long stated these facts, filed numerous complaints with the FBI, Governor Schwarzenegger, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Most recently again in October 2014 to Chief David Fender who promised an inquiry and research in a “timely manner”. Neither Chief Fender nor Lieutenant Vic Allende have returned my calls for concern regarding an investigation into the cruelty I was subjected to and the cruelty so many others currently endure.

Where is our liberty and justice for all?  

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