Stop jailing Black people for being poor !
Tell Harris County DA Devon Anderson : Resign immediately !
I write to you with tears in my eyes to after the world has lost a Mother of the Movement, Venida Browder. She literally died from a broken heart. Her son, Kalief Browder, committed suicide just 16 months ago due to the emotional and physical trauma he endured after being falsely accused of a crime at 16-years-old. His family could not afford to pay the $3,000 bail needed to buy Kalief’s freedom which caused him to undergo three years of beatings and 400 days in isolation at Rikers Island Jail.1 Sadly, Kalief’s story is a common narrative across the country - especially in places like Houston, TX where Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson is using bail as a death sentence.
Although we live in the 21st century, Harris County’s bail system mimics our country’s gross and oppressive history of falsely accusing Black people for crimes and then torturing and often killing them unless they are able to buy their freedom. Harris County Jail’s heinous conditions have caused over 200 deaths in 10 years.2 Yet, DA Anderson continues to exercise “guilty until able to pay for innocence” practices and throw away unconvicted Black and poor people into a jail system that is known to be hell on earth.
Will you stand with us to end Devon’s reign of terror and torture on Black people and call for her to resign?
Similar to the late Venida Browder, mothers like Esperanza Rodriguez in Houston have spent many long days advocating and long nights grieving over their child’s fate while incarcerated. Ms. Rodriguez’s son’s bail is thousands of dollars and he hasn’t even been convicted of a crime yet. But during his time in Harris County Jail, he has been sexually assaulted—an act of violence which will forever change his life all because he is just too poor to get out.
DA Anderson has shown no mercy for Black or poor people in Houston. Earlier this year she even thought it was logical to jail an innocent rape survivor to compel her to show up in court, and she ended up getting assaulted again while in custody.3 Vicious people like DA Anderson have no place in our criminal justice system.
Just last week we stood with Texas Organizing Project, Black Lives Matter - Houston and members of Color Of Change to deliver over 40,000 petitions demanding for Harris Co to end it’s barbaric and outdated bail practices and call for DA Devon Anderson to resign. Unsurprisingly, we were met with hostility from her staff, but we will not end our advocacy until she no longer has the power to enforce the slave-like tool of money bail to punish Black and poor people.4
Will you help ensure not one more poor or Black person gets killed by the Harris County's broken bail system?
Until justice is real,
- "Mom dies of 'broken heart' after son Kalief Browder killed himself last year" Daily News 10.16.2016http://act.colorofchange.org/go/7009?t=7&akid=6496.1942551.FZ1Jqn
- "Nearly 200 People Have Died In Harris County Sheriff's Office Custody In 10 Years" Houston Press 08.01.2016http://act.colorofchange.org/go/7010?t=9&akid=6496.1942551.FZ1Jqn
- "Woman's jail death under investigation, Harris county sheriff," The Houston Chronicle, 06-02-2016 http://act.colorofchange.org/go/6580?t=11&akid=6496.1942551.FZ1Jqn
- "Texas' Largest Jail Accused of Jailing Poor People Because They Don't Have Money," ThinkProgress, 05-23-2016 https://act.colorofchange.org/go/7011?t=13&akid=6496.1942551.FZ1Jqn