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California

Jobs Not Jails! No on Proposition 21

by Carlos Montes and David Gonzalez |
December 11, 2000

East Los Angeles, CA - December 11, 60 young people, activists and organizers, met at the kick-off conference against Proposition 21. The purpose was to plan the strategy and actions against the racist, anti-youth ballot initiative called the Gang Violence and Juvenile Crime Prevention Act (Proposition 21). Californians will vote on the measure March 7.

The kick-off conference was spirited and energetic. During lunch, La Paz rapped, and Yaotz from Aztlan Underground shared spoken word. In a moving speech, a veteran activist, who visits youth serving life terms, said these young people would never experience life or love.

Participants were students from high schools and colleges, teachers, and organizers from the East LA community. Everyone participated in group discussions led by the young people.

The main action plans coming out of the conference include: a mass march to unite the Black and Chicano community, a vigil at juvenile hall, youth teach-ins, and a cultural concert against Proposition 21. All this with the purpose of building a big mass movement to defeat the proposition.

The New Raza Left-LA co-sponsored the event with other groups that formed the ELA Coalition Against Proposition 21. The conference was one of the many events and actions taking place through out California to fight the racist attacks.

Proposition 21 is sponsored by California's former Republican Governor, Pete Wilson, and his racist gang. Youth of color are incarcerated at a higher rate than white youth. The Juvenile Crime Initiative will allow for the prosecution of teens, as young as 14 years old, to be tried in adult courts. It would remove the "confidentiality rule," which restricts access to juvenile court records.

Proposition 21 is another attack against Black and Chicano people, specifically our youth. The high spirit, energy, and plans of the conference will help to organize and mobilize the thousands of people needed to defeat Proposition 21. We know that only by organizing our community, can we defeat the proposition. The unity of new young activists and our veteran fighters will assure the continuation of our fight for Self-Determination for the Chicano People in Aztlan!

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