From All Of Us Or None:
All of Us or None is a national organizing initiative started by formerly-incarcerated people to fight against discrimination faced after release and to fight for the human rights of prisoners. We are determined to win full restoration of our civil and human rights after release from prison. Our goal is to build political power in the communities most affected by mass incarceration and the growth of the Prison Industrial Complex.
Circles of Redemption Go ‘Round and ‘Round
The emergence of All of Us or None is a concrete manifestation of the people most affected by an issue building a movement to combat it. Because the membership of All of Us or None is predominantly people of color, our emergence as a leading organization in the white-dominated criminal justice/anti-prison movement has a concrete impact on this movement.
We’re committed to organizing formerly-incarcerated people to build a movement in Oakland, by working in coalition with other community groups and organizing campaigns, such as Ban the Box and Clean Slate. We have been very visible in both campaigns in Oakland, doing public education about the
issue through circulating petitions, public speakouts, and involving the community in making demands of the Mayor and City government. We have expanded the original Safer Oakland coalition by organizing other endorsers and activist sponsors.
We are also focusing on implementation of other parts of the Plan, such as opposing immigration raids and the expansion of the Oakland police force. Because we are comprised of people who have been in prison, our voice in the criminal justice and anti-prison movement is essential and respected. Our active participation in the Oakland One Table and comprehensive reentry planning, has been essential to highlighting the real needs of people coming back to Oakland and Alameda County after prison.
Beyond Oakland, we’re working in communities statewide and nationally. We use our coherent program as a tool to organize other criminal justice advocacy groups to support our campaigns. We are actively building a national network of formerly-incarcerated activists and organizers, with a goal of creating consensus on some national campaigns that we can move forward collectively.
The implications for effective mobilization in this area are tremendous. There are disenfranchised communities all over the United States, from Wyandanch, Strong Island (home of Rakim Allah) to Honolulu where human beings have lost the right to political redemption after paying a cost for spiritual and social redemption. How much is enough?
The overall benefits to impoverished communities of welcoming in a body of educated, organized and active new voters could be ground breaking. Is that sufficient? What about the victims and survivors of crimes committed by felons? How do we do justice to the victims of crimes who continue to live and grapple with the implications of our inhumanity to one another — long after a sentence has been served? Is our decision to lock away the keys to political engagement a viable solution? Are we made whole by this ostracism from the body politic? Should things remain just as they are? Should these questions be decided on a case by case basis?
Why? Why not?