Friday, May 22, 2009

Friends of MSARC Campaign

Friends,

We are writing you today about the current staffing and accounting issues at the Memphis Rape Crisis Center "MSARC" and the lack of information made available to the public on this issue. Staffing and management issues are at the heart of this situation and have resulted in a 14 year sexual assault victim being turned away in her time of greatest need. The currently there is a risk of exacerbating the capacity problems with the Rape Crisis Center by the proposed shift of sexual assault examinations for minors to LeBonher. This is not a solution, in fact it may only make the current situation worse by dismantling a once nationally respected center into a confusing and complicating web of overlapping services.There is also the issue of clear accounting and financial impropriety resulting in close to $500,000 in missing state funds.

The time has come to take action to ensure accountability and public safety for women and children within our communities.

The Mid-South Peace and Justice Center is working to build a coalition grassroots effort to inform and activate registered voters within those communities with the highest concentrations of sexual assaults. We will do this via an aggressive phonebanking,canvassing and voter registration campaign. the goal of this effort is to ensure the continued operation of a fully intact rape crisis center, with proper funding, staffing,community oversight and transparency.

We are asking that

1. All funds generated by sexual assault victim exams be allocated to the operation of Rape Crisis Center services.

2. Rape Crisis Center services should remain fully intact and be fully staffed with all shifts covered and that all victim needs are met for examination, collection of evidence, counseling, advocacy and community outreach, by June 30 and that staffing not drop below 90 percent thereafter.

3. A Victim Services Board be established and appointed to advise and support operation of The Rape Crisis Center, its membership to include survivors and its recommendations to go directly to elected officials who appoint it.

4. Sexual assault victim services be transitioned out of City of Memphis jurisdiction to Shelby County government where all other local victim services, criminal justice, health care and most regional service collaborations reside.

HERE IS WHERE YOU COME IN!

We will be hosting weekly canvasses in District 7, EVERY Saturday from 10am-1pm. At these events we will go door to door, giving the people of District 7/Super District 8 information about the current MSARC situation and letting them know how they can make their voices heard.We will also work to register NEW VOTERS in these communitites.

Our First Canvass is Saturday, JUNE 6th, at 10am.

We will begin our phonebanking of Super District 8 REGISTERED VOTERS next Tuesday June 2nd, and continue every Tuesday-Weds-Thurs from 6pm-9pm every week until these concerns are addressed.

To sign up to volunteer as a phonebank or canvass volunteer! Contact Brad@midsouthpeace.org

WE ARE ALL RESPONSIBLE.

Brad Watkins
Organizing Coordinator
Mid-South Peace and Justice Center
901-725-4990-office
901-495-0818-cell

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

JUSTPEACE MEMPHIS COMMUNITY FORUM-TONIGHT!!!!

WHAT-JUSTPEACE MEMPHIS COMMUNITY FORUM
WHEN-WEDS, MAY 20th
TIME-6:30pm-8:30pm
WHERE- First Congo Church, 1000 South Cooper

SPECIAL GUEST SPEAKERS-Shelby County Sheriff Mark Luttrell,
County Commissioner James Harvey
County Commissioner Mike Carpenter
Stephen Bush-Public Defender's office-Jericho Project.

***Other members of the County Commission are expected to confirm attendance soon.
UPDATE JUDGE TIM DWYER-GENERAL SESSIONS DRUG COURT, will also be in attendance.


You are invited to attend a community forum hosted by the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center's JUSTPEACE MEMPHIS campaign for local Criminal Justice reform. For the past three months the JUSTPEACE MEMPHIS campaign has been working to lobby members of our local County Commission to support and provide adequate funding for four programs of vital need within our community. The passage of these four initiatives will improve funding for treatment alternatives for those in the criminal justice system who posses untreated mental illness, as well as provide greater access to drug rehabilitation and educational opportunities for Nonviolent drug offenders. These reforms also seek to promote greater efficiency within our criminal justice system, by expanding the overworked and overwhelmed pre-trial diversion services, and by allowing the same Assistant District Attorney's to follow the same case from start to finish. these reforms seek to shorten the time from arrest to disposition down to six months, where as now, this process can take as long as nine to eleven months.

We will also host a brief viewing of two short documentaries each dealing with one of the programs supported by our campaign. One focuses in on the work of the men and women of the General Sessions Drug Court
We will also host a screening of the mini documentary Voices of Jericho , winner of the BEST DOCUMENTARY award at the Indie Memphis Film Festival. This short film focuses on the work of the Jericho Project a ground breaking local program that works with the courts to provide an individualized treatment program for those with Mental illness and co-occurring substance abuse issues.

Please direct any questions to Brad Watkins, Organizing Coordinator for the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center. 901-725-4990-office, 901-495-0818-cell

We hope to see you there!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Thank You Rep. Steve Cohen

Dear Friends,

Good news. Representative Cohen was one of the few brave democrats
that voted against the latest round of war funding. We must thank him
and let him know he has our support.

Below is the e-mail I sent to him. Craft one of your own or use mine.
But please let him hear from you.

In Peace,
Sandy Furrh

Steve Cohen:
email: http://cohen.house.gov/ go here and click "email me"
phone 901.544.4131 (memphis) or 202.225.3265 (dc)

Dear Representative Cohen,

Thank you for your vote against more funding for the wars in
Afghanistan and Iraq. That was a brave vote and we applaud you. You
have consistently taken a stand for peace in Iraq and are now doing
the same with Afghanistan.

It is becoming increasingly clear that we must not follow the same
path in Afghanistan that we have taken in Iraq. Bullets and bombs only
feed the monster of extremism, our greatest enemy in the Middle East.
Peace and stability get farther and farther from reach as we create
more enemies rather than working to build alliances rebuild the
countries we have helped to destroy.

Thank you and keep up the good work.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Rape Crisis Center call to action, this TUESDAY!

PLEASE HELP SPREAD THE WORD



RAPE CRISIS CRISIS

You can help repair the Memphis Sexual Assault Resource Center.

Contact your city council member between now and Tuesday.

And on Tuesday COME TO CITY HALL to the meeting of the

Public Services and Neighborhoods Committee, 11 a.m. Council Conf Room 501

WE ARE ASKING THAT:

1. All funds generated by sexual assault victim exams be allocated to the operation of sexual assault victim services.
UPDATE LINK

2. Sexual assault victim services should be fully staffed with all shifts covered and that all victim needs are met for examination, collection of evidence, counseling, advocacy and community outreach, by June 30 and that staffing not drop below 90 percent thereafter.

3. A Victim Services Board be established and appointed to advise and support operation of sexual assault victim services, its membership to include survivors and its recommendations to go directly to elected officials who appoint it.

4. Sexual assault victim services be transitioned out of City of Memphis jurisdiction to Shelby County government where all other local victim services, criminal justice, health care and most regional service collaborations reside.

Go here to see the district map if you need to check on who your council members are:

http://memphistn.gov/framework.aspx?page=692



Go here to click on their faces and find their contact info:

http://memphistn.gov/framework.aspx?page=690



COME TO CITY HALL TUESDAY AT 11 A.M.

NOTE NEW EMAIL ADDRESS!!



Deborah M. Clubb

Executive Director

Memphis Area Women's Council

Project Coordinator

Memphis Women's Economic Security Collaborative

901-378-3866

dclubb@memphiswomen.org

www.memphiswomen.org

www.erasedomesticcrime.org



Convene Collaborate Communicate = Change

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

JUSTPEACE MEMPHIS COMMUNITY FORUM-Weds, May 20th

WHAT-JUSTPEACE MEMPHIS COMMUNITY FORUM
WHEN-WEDS, MAY 20th
TIME-6:30pm-8:30pm
WHERE- First Congo Church, 1000 South Cooper

SPECIAL GUEST SPEAKERS-Shelby County Sheriff Mark Luttrell,
County Commissioner James Harvey
County Commissioner Mike Carpenter
Stephen Bush-Public Defender's office-Jericho Project.

***Other members of the County Commission are expected to confirm attendance soon.
UPDATE JUDGE TIM DWYER-GENERAL SESSIONS DRUG COURT, will also be in attendance.


You are invited to attend a community forum hosted by the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center's JUSTPEACE MEMPHIS campaign for local Criminal Justice reform. For the past three months the JUSTPEACE MEMPHIS campaign has been working to lobby members of our local County Commission to support and provide adequate funding for four programs of vital need within our community. The passage of these four initiatives will improve funding for treatment alternatives for those in the criminal justice system who posses untreated mental illness, as well as provide greater access to drug rehabilitation and educational opportunities for Nonviolent drug offenders. These reforms also seek to promote greater efficiency within our criminal justice system, by expanding the overworked and overwhelmed pre-trial diversion services, and by allowing the same Assistant District Attorney's to follow the same case from start to finish. these reforms seek to shorten the time from arrest to disposition down to six months, where as now, this process can take as long as nine to eleven months.

We will also host a brief viewing of two short documentaries each dealing with one of the programs supported by our campaign. One focuses in on the work of the men and women of the General Sessions Drug Court
We will also host a screening of the mini documentary Voices of Jericho , winner of the BEST DOCUMENTARY award at the Indie Memphis Film Festival. This short film focuses on the work of the Jericho Project a ground breaking local program that works with the courts to provide an individualized treatment program for those with Mental illness and co-occurring substance abuse issues.

Please direct any questions to Brad Watkins, Organizing Coordinator for the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center. 901-725-4990-office, 901-495-0818-cell

We hope to see you there!

Monday, May 11, 2009

JUSTPEACE MEMPHIS Campaign.Update Thank You Commissioner Joyce Avery

Today I had the opportunity to speak with County Commissioner Joyce Avery, who has now pledged to support the four funding initiatives sponsored by the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council and supported by this campaign.With Commissioner Joyce Avery's support we now stand at SEVEN pledged votes of support on the Shelby County Commission.
So far this adds Commissioner Avery to a list of supporters that includes fellow Republican Mike Carpenter and Democrats Deidre Malone, Steve Mulroy, James Harvey, Sidney Chism and Matt Kuhn.

Republican Wyatt Bunker also has indicated strong support for these programs, sharing our belief that these are community priorities, but could not as of yet commit to voting in favor of their funding. He is however is interested and very willing to continue this conversation as this campaign rolls on.

I urge all of you out there to write Commissioner Bunker at wyatt.bunker@shelbycountytn.gov or call him at the County Commission offices at (901) 545-4301 and urge him to support the work of the JUSTPEACE Memphis campaign and to support funding for The Jericho initiative, The General Sessions Drug Court, expansion of Pre-Trial diversion services, and Vertical prosecution.

I also wanted to take the time to express our thanks to the the members of the Shelby County Democratic Party's Executive committee for their UNANIMOUS vote to endorse these reforms and this campaign. This week the SCDP EXECOM will also be sending a letter of support to that effect to the Democratic members of the Shelby County Commission.

I also plan on continuing my conversations with Shelby County Republican Party Chairman Lang Wiseman, to see if the Shelby County GOP will also endorse these reforms. It has always been our goal to make this a bi-partisan effort, and to not simply be content with the seven votes needed to pass these reforms, but to work for nothing short of a unanimous 13 yea vote victory for these worthy reforms and programs which combat drug abuse, address mental illness in the criminal justice system, and curb criminal recidivism in our community.

DEMAND CHANGE

Brad Watkins
Organizing Coordinator
Mid-South Peace and Justice Center
901-725-4990-office
901-495-0818-cell

Friday, May 08, 2009

Memphis Rape Crisis Center-TAKE ACTION NOW!!!

Please Take a few moments to take action on this issue. This is an inexcusable situation and there needs to be a FULL inquiry into not only how this problem can be remedied, but also how this situation was ALLOWED TO OCCUR IN THE FIRST PLACE! There needs to be full oversight, and the City Council needs to demonstrate some leadership on this crucial issue, and violation of the public safety and security.

Brad Watkins
Organizing Coordinator
Mid-South Peace and Justice Center
901-725-4990-office
901-495-0818-cell



Friends and colleagues --

Channel 13's report from last night:

http://www.myfoxmemphis.com/dpp/news/local/050709_Rape_Crisis_Center_Announces_New_Hire

We continue to monitor and work strategically as the City of Memphis deals with restaffing and righting the Memphis Sexual Assault Resource Center. See the coverage above.

Phone or email your council member and members of the committee over MSARC to voice your concern that:

1. The new manager is given support and leeway to do what needs to be done to serve victims

2. Nurses qualified and certified to deal with sexual assault evidence are hired

3. All shifts are covered, 24/7, with certified Sexual Assault Nurses

Your voice matters -- make it heard!

The agency is under the Public Services and Neighborhoods Committee -- Joe Brown, chair; Barbara Swearengen Ware, vice chair. Members Boyd, Conrad, Fullilove and Morrison.

Contact them now and often!

Go here to see the district map if you need to check on who your council members are:
http://memphistn.gov/framework.aspx?page=692


Go here to click on their faces and find their contact info:
http://memphistn.gov/framework.aspx?page=690


DO IT TODAY!

Deborah M. Clubb
Executive Director
Memphis Area Women's Council
Project Coordinator
Memphis Women's Economic Security Collaborative
901-378-3866
dclubb@memphis.edu
www.memphiswomen.org
www.erasedomesticcrime.org

Convene Collaborate Communicate = Change

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Thank You Maine... And Commissioner Mulroy.

It's great to hear Maine is joining the list of states that believe in marriage equality. It's also great to see something progressive in regards to equal rights coming from Tennessee for a change.

Give your commissioner a call to encourage them to oppose discrimination.

GOP Thinks Single-Payer Rocks!

I keep coming across comments from Republicans talking about including a government-run health care option that sound like this:

“It’s a big problem,” Senate Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) said. “It’s like putting an elephant in the room with some mice and saying, ‘Okay fellas, compete.’ There wouldn’t be any mice left after a while.”


Is it just me or does this amount to them admitting that a government-run option is the best? After all, if the government plan wins out in a competitive environment it must be best, right?