Our meeting dates for July are as follows:
Monday July 10th 6:30pm and
Monday July 24th 6:30pm
Our meeting dates for July are as follows:
Despite the heat, BPNJ had so much fun tabling at today’s Juneteenth Celebration in Douglass Park.
Check out this followup to today’s event put on by the Speak Truth Collective and look for our summer meeting schedule to be posted soon.
You can always check our Meetings and Actions page for upcoming meetings but these spring general meetings will explicitly follow up with exploring action items that were created at our community event, “Challenging State Violence”.
All meetings are at the Independent Media Center located at 202 S. Broadway Ave. in Urbana. Ramp accessibility is located at the back of the building. If you have an questions or concerns about further accessibility please do not hesitate to contact us or the IMC staff. All meetings are always family/caregiver/child/nursing-parent friendly.
As the tide of alt-right repression is on the rise, the new political landscape calls for those of us involved with social justice movements to come together. But what does it mean to build sustainable and intersectional solidarity across a wide spectrum of community groups? As an organization that focuses on state violence and criminalization, Build Programs Not Jails would like to invite the many communities and organizations we work with to join together for a critical discussion about the future of criminalization in the U.S.
What will a Trump presidency mean for various communities and how they are criminalized? How do we begin to build the kind of solidarity that can help us fight back sustain our resistance beyond the age of Trump?
This event will examine how education, surveillance, incarceration, borders, and alternatives to incarceration are increasingly impacted by heightened criminalization and state violence. We will hear briefly from individuals working on the ground in CU who are dealing with ICE raids as well as from Muslim community members reaching out ins solidarity. Several community organizations will be present to showcase their own work and to help us get plugged in to resistance already in action.
In addition to critical discussion and strategizing, this event will include performances by DJ Pelmore, Trey King, and Patricia Bradford.
Refreshments will be served.
Together, we will identify some concrete next steps in addressing this repression locally and nationally.
Check out the Facebook event.
Event Planning Committee
Monday, March 6th at 6pm at the IMC
Monday, March 13th at 6:30pm at the IMC
Our next open general meeting is Monday, February 13th at 6:30pm at the IMC (202 S. Broadway Ave. Urbana).
Would you like to be added to our mailing list? Email us at email@example.com
Build Programs Not Jails has issued a statement in opposition to a proposal made by the Champaign County Housing Authority (CCHA) to the Urbana School Board on November 1, 2016. In the proposal, Ed Bland, the executive director of the CCHA, proposed a data sharing agreement between Urbana District 116 schools and the county housing authority. Bland stated that he would use attendance data as a requirement for pubic housing eligibility.
Build Programs Not Jails will deliver the following statement at the USD116 school board meeting tonight, November 15th 2016.
15 November 2016
TO: Urbana School District 116 Board
The mission of Build Programs Not Jails is to promote alternatives to incarceration in Champaign County, Illinois. We believe that every member of our community deserves to be treated with dignity and we envision a safe and thriving community for everyone.
It has come to our attention that on Tuesday, November 1, 2016, the Urbana School Board heard a recommendation by Champaign County Housing Authority executive director, Ed Bland, to collaborate on data collection, specifically that attendance records would be shared between USD 116 and CCHA. During Bland’s presentation he stated,
“…We want to make that a requirement for our families, for the head of the household, that for them to receive housing assistance, they must make sure that the kids are going to school. So that’s why I’m here tonight… to see if we can do an inter-government agreement to monitor the attendance of the kids. I think by doing that we will find that the kids will perform better in school because we will be making that mandatory on the parents for the kids to come to school.”
As an organization that closely follows the complexities of incarceration both in Champaign County as well as across the nation, this proposal seriously concerns us. When asked by a board member what the data would be used for, Bland answered that it would indeed be used against the family from being eligible for public housing should the child in the home not meet attendance requirements.
While many towns have done data sharing to try to combat truancy, a serious consequence of such a collaboration could end in eviction for many families in need. Children who are living in poverty are already at a higher risk of encountering the criminal justice system and eventually being incarcerated. The rates only go up for those individuals who are homeless.
Another serious consequence of such a proposal is that this could turn us towards the criminalization of truancy. In Texas, tens of thousands of students are charged with truancy if they miss 12 days of school or more. These misdemeanor charges end in piles of fines, fees, criminal records, and even sometimes incarceration for youth or their families.
We believe that such a collaboration, the way it was presented on November 1st, would strengthen the school-to-prison pipeline in our county.
Additionally, we need to keep in mind that our friends, family and community members returning from prison are frequently banned from public housing which makes it incredibly difficult for them to reenter society. Formerly incarcerated individuals – many who experienced poverty or homelessness before entering prison – are now faced with it again.
We in no way support the continuation of this cycle of poverty and incarceration that starts at such a young age. We strongly believe that as a community we need to shift the focus away from punitive measures that deepen mistrust and increase rates of incarceration. Instead, we hope that a more compassionate and effective strategy for combating poverty as a systemic problem for the county’s children be made a priority.
Build Programs Not Jails
Our county overwhelmingly voted NO against this referendum!
We would also like to say a special, “Thank You!” to everyone who dove into this campaign against the sales tax referendum and volunteered their time and energy handing out flyers, distributing and displaying yard signs, attending meetings, building relationships with collaborating organizations, making phone calls, sending emails, hosting films and discussions, using social media, and so much more. Champaign-Urbana continues to prove that it cares about these issues and that people will show up for their community.
Lastly we would like to invite you to attend our upcoming meeting on Monday, November 14th at 6:30pm at the IMC (202 S. Broadway, Urbana). Let’s start this post-election season together and not just to defend against jail construction but to actually build real-life alternatives to mass incarceration.
The BPNJ Coordinating Committee
November 8, 2016
The vision that Build Programs Not Jails holds for the future of Champaign County is a just and thriving community where everyone is valued and has equal opportunity. In coalition with the Graduate Employees’ Organization, Black Lives Matter – Champaign-Urbana, and the North End Breakfast Club we have opposed the so-called public facilities sales tax referendum because it would make it too easy for the County Board to spend millions of taxpayer dollars on jail construction that would move the county further from this vision.
We thank the voters of Champaign County for taking this issue seriously and defeating the referendum, and we pledge to continue to fight for alternatives to incarceration.
We now call on the County Board to shift directions: to prioritize decreasing the jail population through investing in diversion, prevention, re-entry, and basic needs. We encourage the new board to take a leadership role in advancing criminal justice reform and in addressing issues of poverty, racism, and inequality in this county. This includes urgently moving forward on the following key steps to achieving our vision of a fair and thriving community:
Build Programs, Not Jails can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, October 29th at 1pm in Douglass Park in Champaign, BLM-CU will be hosting a community rally against the sales tax and against anti-Black racism in C-U.