LOS ANGELES (Nov. 5, 2014) — Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles (Advancing Justice – LA) celebrates the passage of Proposition 47, which passed with the support of 58.5 % of voters in yesterday’s election.
The proposition reduces sentencing from felonies to misdemeanors for some nonviolent offenses, such as petty theft and writing a bad check, and re-directs hundreds of millions of dollars in annual savings to mental health and drug treatment, victim services, and K-12 programs for at-risk students. Currently, California spends over $60,000 per prison inmate, and only about $9,000 per K-12 student.
“California leads the way nationally with the passage of Proposition 47,” said President and Executive Director Stewart Kwoh. “By prioritizing services for those at-risk over increasing criminalization and incarceration, California is creating a pipeline to education instead of a pipeline to prison.”
Advancing Justice – LA’s work in support of Proposition 47 was coordinated in collaboration with its partners in the Equal Voice for Southern California Families Alliance (EVSCFA), a multi-racial, multi-issue alliance of 17 community organizations committed to advancing the interests of low-income families. Through EVSCFA, Advancing Justice – LA worked closely with Equal Voice partners to outreach to and educate communities of color, including Asian American communities, through trainings, social media and a rally and press conference earlier this week on Monday, November 3, 2014.
“With the passage of Proposition 47, California is making a crucial investment in community health and access to opportunity for generations to come. As Proposition 47’s sentencing reforms take hold, hundreds of millions of dollars will shift from incarceration to education and mental health services each year–a shift that will benefit all of our communities,” said Diana Aquino Price, program coordinator for Advancing Justice – LA.
Advancing Justice – LA also engaged its youth leaders in an education campaign that included:
Canvassing and training community members in Chinatown, San Gabriel Valley, East Los Angeles, and Central Los Angeles;
Outreaching to peers at six local college campuses: Los Angeles Trade Technical College, East LA Community College, Santa Monica College, California State University-Los Angeles, UCLA, and USC; and
Using social media and video.
“I strongly believe that Proposition 47 is one of the many necessary steps to dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline and funneling more money into education instead of incarceration,” said Minh-Triet Dao, a 21-year old youth leader who has organized with Advancing Justice – LA for over five years.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles is the nation’s largest Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) legal and civil rights organization and serves more than 15,000 individuals and organizations every year. Founded in 1983 as the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, Advancing Justice – LA’s mission is to advocate for civil rights, provide legal services and education, and build coalitions to positively influence and impact Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and to create a more equitable and harmonious society. Through direct legal services, impact litigation, policy analysis and advocacy, leadership development and capacity building, Advancing Justice – LA seeks to serve the most vulnerable members of the AANHPI community while also building a strong AANHPI voice for civil rights and social justice.