Greetings from APSC!
Sending you our thoughts and prayers to you and your loved ones for the New Year. It has been an eventful 2013 for us—here is a brief recap:
In August, we started the ROOTS (Restoring Our Original True Selves) program at San Quentin state prison. After many years of planning, our dream of implementing a program that addressed the needs of Asian and Pacific Islander (API) prisoners became a reality. ROOTS is comprised of 30 men, the vast majority of whom are APIs serving life sentences with the possibility of parole. The weekly ROOTS class is modeled after an Asian American Studies/Ethnic Studies curriculum, where guest speakers provide workshops about immigrant/refugee experiences, intergenerational trauma, and cultural healing practices. ROOTS also includes workshops about preparing for the parole board and planning for reentry back into our communities. The men in the program lead many class activities including facilitating group discussions, leading meditations/breathing exercises, and sharing personal experiences with their peers.
Big salute to all of the men in the ROOTS program for your commitment, wisdom, and leadership AND a huge thanks to all of the community members who took a day off from work to guest lecture for the ROOTS classes!
APSC continued to support the Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander spiritual program at CSP-Solano, and supported prisoners and their families affected by the transfers to Valley State and Avenal state prisons, where a deadly outbreak of Valley Fever has taken the lives of over 60 prisoners in California. Unfortunately, a number of API prisoners we work with were transferred to Valley State and Avenal prisons, despite research from the Center for Disease Control and other studies showing that people of African, Asian, and Pacific Islander descent have a higher risk of contracting the deadly disease. The issues of valley fever, prison overcrowding, and solitary confinement continue to highlight the massive human rights abuses throughout the California prison system—and the need to move away from mass incarceration and towards restorative justice and prevention models.
APSC was recently awarded a grant through the Alameda County Innovations in Reentry Program to implement a support group for formerly incarcerated API men in Oakland, CA. Harrison Seuga, a former lifer, will lead the weekly groups that will include support around employment preparation, access to social services, and reintegration into the community.
If you would like to get involved, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are able to make a monetary donation towards the ROOTS and reentry programs, you can do so through our Crowdrise campaign.
Asian Prisoner Support Committee