If you have ever wanted to participate in social justice advocacy, now is the time to join the Greenspon Center! Our three advocacy groups, which organize around the topics of affordable housing, criminal justice, and the repealing of 287g, have made tangible progress towards our advocacy goals! Read a quick synopsis of what we’ve been doing during the month of February:
The affordable housing group is continuing their efforts focused on City spending, advocating for expanding rental subsidies and for targeting housing bonds to preserve NOAH (naturally occuring affordable housing). They have decided to create a petition similar to the one created last year by Pomona College for college presidents to call for the US to uphold DACA. The petition will be displayed on the website and will be available for individuals and organizations to sign on in support. In addition, the group made a plan for setting up appointments with our next four Council members — Winston, Ajmera, Bokhari and Harlow. We will send out dates as they are set so that you can join us at one or more of these next meetings. By the end of March, this group will have visited seven out of eleven City Council members. Go team!
In collaboration with the Fair Punishment Project, the criminal justice committee is organizing a series of teach-ins intended to inform the public about the expungement process and eligibility, and the roles of both the sheriff and the district attorney. Members of our group are exploring strategic ways of lobbying and advocating for the Bail Fairness Act of 2018, which is designed to encourage the state to replace unfair and arbitrary money-bail procedures with diversion programs in the case of first-time, nonviolent, and low-level offenders. Additionally, we are coordinating a voter registration and awareness campaign with a specific focus on the restoration of voting rights.
This past month the Greenspon Center supported grassroots groups focused on Immigrant rights and advocacy by signing in support of a letter presented to the Mecklenburg County Sheriff, which details the reasons why 287g does not serve the area population. Members of our group are trying to do a deep dive into the data regarding 287g in Mecklenburg County. Check out a recent blogpost by guest author Barbara Randolph:
We are also partnering with the Black Presbyterian Clergy of the Charlotte, ReEntry Partners of Mecklenburg, Faith and Public Life, and the Charlotte Clergy Coalition for Justice to sponsor a Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Forum with the three candidates running for Sheriff: Sheriff Irwin Carmichael, Garry McFadden, and Antoine Ensley. Please mark your calendars for this event which will be April 22nd, from 4-6pm at Johnson C. Smith – Biddle Auditorium.
Finally, on April 21 from 12pm – 8pm the Greenspon Center will be hosting our first annual arts and advocacy conference. Join us for informative presentations and sessions highlighting the use of the arts to advocate for immigrants. From slam poetry to storytelling, film to photography, and dance to music, experts will be on hand to share their knowledge and tools. The event will culminate in a dramatic reading, followed by live music and food trucks, all celebrating the gifts our immigrant neighbors continue to bring to our community. A pre-conference interfaith service will also be held.