Resource Information Help for the Disadvantaged

Fighting to reverse the trend of mass incarceration and correcting sentencing bias and injustices that remain uncorrected in Virginia." -- Lillie Branch-Kennedy, Founder/Executive Director Resource Information Help for the Disadvantaged & Disenfranchised (RIHD)

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Virginia Campaign Gearing Up 2012

Jan 4, 2012 | by Nation Inside Team

Resource Information Help for the Disadvantaged update on the Virginia campaign.

Prisoner and Families for Equal Rights and Justice (PAFERJ)

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter”

–Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Who are we?

  1. Resource Information Help for the Disadvantaged (RIHD) a non-partisan, nonprofit, all volunteer, statewide organization partner with the support group, Prisoner and Family for Equal Rights & Justice (PAFERJ) and Mothers on a Mission (MOM) dedicated towards reducing crime and reducing recidivism/re-incarceration.

Believing “CHANGE comes from the People and not the Politicians” we provide self-help informational resource and referral directives to economically disadvantaged citizens residing in high crime communities on how to mobilize and advocate for “fair and commonsense” legislation/laws. Our mission is to restore families and their communities through “EARNED” second chance initiatives.

PAFERJ/Ms. Janet Taylor:  OneRastaQueen@hotmail.com
RIHD, Inc. /Ms. Lillie Branch-Kennedy:  rihd23075@aol.com
RIHD Web site:  www.rihd.org
Yahoo Digest Emails: InMateResource@yahoogroups.com
Telephone:  (804) 426-4426

2. Community Restoration Campaign  is a grassroots co-founded by RIHD, Inc and Advocare, Inc.; an effort by prisoner family members, correction officials, concerned families, artists, media producers, and friends to pass the Earned Second Chance Provision legislation, a step that will begins healing and restoration in our families and communities. Web site:  http://www.kitescampaigns.org/campaign/

3. Virginia People’s Assembly (VPA) progressive activists from around the state for various causes, seeking Jobs, Peace and Justice for all Virginians. “One particular focus is the plight of prisoners. In 1995, Virginia abolished parole. In addition, Virginia is one of the two states in the country that, without action by the governor, permanently denies voting rights and other civil rights to those convicted of a felony, which is a new form of the Jim-Crow-era discrimination laws. Each year the VPA encourages support for bills in the General Assembly being promoted by the prisoner advocacy organizations Resource Information Help for the Disadvantaged (RIHD), Prisoners, and Families for Equal Rights and Justice (PAFERJ). In the same way, the VPA encourages support for ALL struggles raised at the networking conference” – Phil Wilayto, Defenders Editor’s note.

4.  Action Call/HELP/Upcoming Events:
Thursday, January 12, 2012 – 2nd Annual Community Restoration Campaign Advocacy Day. An invitation to all concerned Virginians to join us 9am to 1pm at the General Assembly Building, 910 Capitol Street (the & Broad) Richmond, Virginia 2319 for a brief training session, follow by meeting with your state senators and house delegates, in  support of the below focused criminal justice/prison reform legislation(s). Later to be recognized by the General Assembly. For additional information call RIHD at (804) 426-4426 and/or email rihd23075@aol.com.

Saturday, January 14, 2012 – the 4th Annual Virginia Peoples Assembly (VPA) Networking Conference/Workshops, March on State Capitol and Mass Rally honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr Birthday and legacy for Jobs, Peace and Justice! Event to include the focus on the plight of criminal justice/prison reform in Virginia, hosted by RIHD & PAFERJ. Agenda: Networking Conference: 9:00am 1pm; Workshop: 2pm to 4pm at St. Stephen’s Koinonia Church, 505 N. 33rd Street, Richmond, VA 23223. Followed by the March at 5pm from Monroe Park to the State Capitol. Concluding with a 7pm indoor rally  7pm at St. Stephen’s Koinonia Church. Additional information email:  OneRastaQueen@hotmail.com or call (804) 426-4426, visit web site:  www.rihd.org

Call to Action/Online Support: We are asking EVERY person age 18 and older with a Virginia address to register their individual support for the below focus legislation at the Thousandkites.org Community Restoration Campaign web site.  http://www.kitescampaigns.org/campaign/

FOCUS LEGISLATION
The following proposed focus legislation coordinator Keith DeBlasio, Executive Director Advocare, Inc. and co-founder of  the Community Restoration Campaign. keith@smartoncrimecolutions.org. To receive patron focus legislation/bills & other criminal justice reform sign up at our daily digest InMateResource@yahoogroups.com

  1. Earned Second Chance – The focus on education and rehabilitative programs that include the Earned Second Chance legislation (The prisoner literacy, education, therapeutic, vocational rehabilitation with additional “earned” sentence credit allowance for over 30,000 persons incarcerated/sentenced on/after the January 1, 1995 abolition of parole): the Volunteerism Tax Deduction as well as a Focus on arts in the prison educational environment in order to provide tactile learning for those approximately fifty percent of inmates with specific learning disabilities. While we may not support the use of discretionary and often arbitrary parole, we do support a person’s ability to reduce their sentence through hard work and positive contributions into their community. Fair and consistent parole decisions to prisoners incarcerated prior to January 1995 under the old law.
  2. Ban the Box – Starting with legislation focused on removing barriers to ex‐offender employment, including the ‘Ban the Box’ approach, the campaign will promotes equal opportunity in employment as well as developing healthy relationships with employers. All persons should have the right to support themselves and their families without remaining forever reliant on government and community handouts.
  3. Restoration of Civil Rights – A focus on a complete and automatic restoration of voting rights upon completion of a term of incarceration. While a ballot resolution could not be put forward this year, we should challenge the right of the government to tax a citizen at any time while he is unable to vote under the law. A government should not be able to tax a citizen who is not permitted a stake in his own destiny.
  4. Opt Out of All Bans on Drug Offenders – This focus will include legislation to finally opt out of the TANF ban on formerly incarcerated person with drug offenses. In addition, since drug use and addiction is a medical and mental health issue, the campaign should stand against all bans that preclude former drug offenders from receiving any type of service, particularly when it has negative effects on their families. An ADA challenge might be made here. Government should not be allowed to punish individuals and their families for medical or mental health conditions.
  5. Protecting Our Children – A multifaceted focus on keeping children in the juvenile system and not permitting unprotected transfers to adult court for a greater focus on restorative justice practices for youth. In addition, a focus on mentoring and protecting children from the constant influx of violence needs to be legitimately addressed. Children should be nurtured, and a government should not treat children as adults until they can determine that they are adequately prepared to be instilled with ALL the rights and responsibilities that come along with adulthood.

Individual bills with bill number, patron and committee to be handed out Jan 12 & Jan 14 events; online at RIHD, Advocare, and Thousandkite.org web sites, email to all registered at InMateResource@yahoogroups.com. Mail request: send a self-addressed stamped envelope to RIHD – PO Box 55 – Highland Springs – VA 23075.

Support us: RIHD is a nonprofit, all volunteer organization, depending solely upon private donations. Will you consider donating to our postage and keep the lights on campaign:

Donate pennies and change
Donate postage stamps
Donations $25 or more tax deductible to you per IRS 501(c)3 regulations

We are in need of a license plumber (pro-bono, tax deduction) for one hour to evaluate our center heating system. If you or you know of someone, please contact Lillie at (804) 426-4426 or email rihd23075@aol.com.

Thank you for your continued support,

Sincerely,

Lillie Branch-Kennedy
Executive Director
Resource Information Help for the Disadvantaged (RIHD, Inc.)
PO Box 55 – Highland Springs – Virginia 23075
Web site: www.rihd.org
Telephone: (804) 426-4426

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