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Book in Common

The California Racial Justice Act: Coalition Members Speak Up

April 8, 4-5:00 PM


Cecilia Chavez and Charisse Domingo of Silicon Valley De-Bug, and Derick Morgan of the Ella Baker Center will share their experience and wisdom as policy advocates and members of the California Racial Justice Act's implementation working group, a coalition of attorneys, community activists, and political lobbyists seeking to fully implement the mandate of the new statute to "prohibit the state from seeking or obtaining a criminal conviction, or from imposing a sentence, based upon race, ethnicity or national origin."

Silicon Valley De-Bug is a community organizing, storytelling, and advocacy organization based in San Jose, California. For almost 20 years, the organization has been a platform for the least heard of Silicon Valley – youth, immigrants, low-income workers, the incarcerated – to impact the political, cultural, and social landscape of the region.

Through De-Bug’s criminal justice community organizing program called the Albert Cobarrubias Justice Project, they created “participatory defense” a methodology for families whose loved ones are facing the criminal court system to impact the outcome of the case of their loved one and change the landscape of power in the courts. De-Bug has incubated participatory defense hubs across the country and is building a national participatory defense network of community organizations to make ground up systemic change in the courts. There are now 45 Participatory Defense hubs around the United States and have collectively saved over 10,000 years from incarceration as of January 2020.

The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights was founded in 1996 by Van Jones and Diana Frappier. Throughout our history, we have engaged in campaigns related to civic engagement, violence prevention, the green jobs movement, juvenile justice, and police brutality.

Derick Morgan is the Policy Associate for the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. As part of the Ella Baker Center’s legislative arm, he provides leadership on campaigns to expand principles of truth and reinvestment at the state level. Derick provides analysis of policy and helps the Ella Baker Center collaborate with different groups.

Charisse Domingo and Cecilia Chavez are Participatory Defense National Network Coordinators and organizers/ trainers at Silicon Valley De-Bug. They work directly with families through their weekly family meetings, not only in their individual cases, but to make systemic changes in the criminal justice system.