I began this blog in May 2009 following the death of Marcia Powell at Perryville State Prison in Goodyear, Arizona. It is not intended to prescribe the path that leads to freedom from the prison industrial complex.

Rather, these are just my observations in arguably the most racist, fascist, militaristic state in the nation at a critical time in history for a number of intersecting liberation movements. From Indigenous resistance to genocidal practices, to the fight over laws like SB1070 and the ban on Ethnic Studies, Arizona is at the center of many battles for human rights, and thus the struggle for prison abolition as well - for none are free until all are. I retired the blog in APRIL 2013.

Visit me now at Arizona Prison Watch or Survivors of Prison Violence-AZ

Monday, December 7, 2009

Budget Education not Incarceration!


December 10: International Human Rights Day
December 15: Fifth Special Legislative Session Begins
December 17: International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers (Tucson Memorial Service).
December 18: SWOP-Tucson Demonstration at the Arizona Department of Corrections, Phoenix.
I must say that the Arizona State legislature we've put up with the past few years has to be the most mean-spirited body of lawmakers in the country - and boy, have they been vicious going after the teachers and the unions...This is about the School Board association taking up more of an advocacy role, which is great because it embraces a broad spectrum of people with interests in the schools. 

I'm still impressed at how the AEA came out fighting this year - good organizing, way to keep us all posted, smart strategy of finding common ground with other groups and building alliances. We're going to need all the organizing you've done to get those selfish, racist right-wing extremists out of power, now. They'd sooner build more prisons than pay for all-day K...that's troubling.


Budget cuts inspiring advocacy for schools 

by Emily Gersema - Dec. 6, 2009 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

School-boards group offers class on legislative process

Frustration has simmered among school supporters this year since state lawmakers began slashing the K-12 budget, most recently cutting $144 million from a fund that pays for desks and other classroom needs to offset a state revenue shortfall that tops $2 billion.

The pre-Thanksgiving budget cut was one of several rounds this year that have inspired parents to attend the Arizona School Boards Association's new statewide workshops on grass-roots advocacy.

ASBA spokeswoman Tracey Benson said the organization, a non-profit representing school boards across the state, has held nine workshops on advocacy so far this year in all but a few Arizona counties.

It's the first time the organization has led such an effort, and it taps into the emotional fight over school funding.

ASBA workshops have attracted huge turnouts "even in areas you wouldn't expect," Benson said.

About 45 people came to the workshop this fall in Safford, said Beth Sauer, the ASBA government-relations analyst who leads the workshops.

At other workshops, "we average about 20 to 25 people," she said.

Sauer said the idea for the workshops came up last year when association President Bob Rice suggested at a retreat that the organization start forums to inspire a grass-roots effort.

The goal is to teach community members to start putting pressure on state legislators or members of Congress to protect or promote certain issues, such as K-12 school funding.

As the workshop presenter, Sauer offers attendees basic tools for either advocating alone or forming coalitions. She also explains to community members the process of bill drafting and legislation, describes several efforts that can be made to fill in legislators on the potential impact of new bills as they move through the process, and gives tips for approaching and contacting legislators who could help their cause.

Sauer noted 2010 is an election year - an opportune time to meet with legislators.

The ASBA is a non-partisan organization that does not take positions on how supporters should vote. Its workshops have attracted parents who have cited budget cuts as the main reason they are interested in taking a stand for their districts... (continued back at the Republic)

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