Monday, July 22, 2013

"Bringing Down the New Jim Crow" campaign materials

from the "Chico Peace and Justice Center (CPJC)":
This program represents CPJC's contribution to the national movement to end the racialized system of mass incarceration. This includes production, promotion, and distribution of the Bringing Down the New Jim Crow radio documentary series (, distribution of The New Jim Crow Study Guide and Call to Action ( to classrooms, faith communities, book groups, and re-entry centers throughout the United States, and collaboration with key movement leaders and organizations across the nation. []
Order the study guide (pdf copies only) here []

"Trayvon Martin: Our Emmett Till"
message from "Chico Peace and Justice Center (CPJC)":
"It is the Zimmerman mindset that must be found guilty – far more than the man himself. It is a mindset that views black men and boys as nothing but a threat, good for nothing, up to no good no matter who they are or what they are doing. It is the Zimmerman mindset that has birthed a penal system unprecedented in world history, and relegated millions to a permanent undercaste." -Michelle Alexander
The ruthless murder of Emmett Till in August 1955, and the acquittal of his killers – who only months later, in a magazine interview, openly admitted to and described the murder – is viewed as one of those most pivotal events catalyzing the African-American Freedom Movement. That movement, that community of committed changemakers, responded to the Emmett Till nightmare and all that it symbolized by demanding that our nation turn to face itself.
The acquittal of George Zimmerman in the killing of 17-year old Trayvon Martin challenges us to consider whether we as changemakers today are committed enough and prepared enough to respond in like manner. Are we ready to do our part to demand again that our nation face into the cancerous racism which infects our collective heart? Are we ready to do our part to dismantle the twisted psychology and utterly broken systems that perpetuate this racism?
Up from the usual 2 or 3 daily requests, since the Zimmerman verdict, CPJC has been receiving an average of 10-15 daily requests for the New Jim Crow Study Guide and Call to Action. These requests are coming in from every corner of the nation. As We the People wrestle with the meaning of the death of Trayvon Martin and of the Zimmerman acquittal, Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow will continue to hold its place at the center of our work. We are deeply grateful to be the distributor of the companion guide to Alexander's historic book, and to know that it is being used by book groups, congregations, re-entry centers, and organizations across the country.
The deep consideration and study of The New Jim Crow is far from a heady, academic undertaking; it takes us into the heart of the matter before us, the nature of the “Zimmerman mindset” - a mindset that did not only kill an innocent boy, but which gave rise to the most punitive, most racist criminal justice system the world has ever known. The groups that are diving in to this work are laying the groundwork for national mobilization to end mass incarceration. The transformation we usually call the Civil Rights Movement is the legacy of the Emmett Till tragedy; if we rise to the challenge that this moment presents, the dismantling of mass incarceration will be the legacy of the Trayvon Martin tragedy.
May it be so.
[signed] Chris Moore-Backman

And please consider joining CPJC's first New Jim Crow study circle, called together now in honor of Trayvon Martin and all whom he represents. The study circle will be convened in late September – for an initial series of four sessions. We will be using of The New Jim Crow Study Guide and Call to Action as a springboard for deciding what we are called to do in service to the movement to end mass incarceration. If interested please contact CPJC at 530 893 9078 or

Please also read this excerpt from a New York Times op-ed by Charles Blow
“As a parent, particularly a parent of black teenage boys, I am left with the question, 'Now, what do I tell my boys?'
We used to say not to run in public because that might be seen as suspicious, like they’d stolen something. But according to Zimmerman, Martin drew his suspicion at least in part because he was walking too slowly.
So what do I tell my boys now? At what precise pace should a black man walk to avoid suspicion? And can they ever stop walking away, or running away, and simply stand their ground? Can they become righteously indignant without being fatally wounded? Is there any place safe enough, or any cargo innocent enough, for a black man in this country?”

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