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Life After Incarceration in the Age of Covid

Originally aired Tuesday, June 22, 2021. Watch the full presentation below.

An engaging presentation by three men formerly incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison. This was an opportunity to find out what these men’s lives were like while inside San Quentin before and after Covid 19 ravaged the prison, and what they have been doing since being released.

Dwight is 66 years young, grew up in Hollywood California, raised as an only child until later in life when his sister was born during his father’s second marriage. Poor decisions and poor life choices led Dwight to prison at the age of 47. 17.5 years later he was found suitable for parole, with his last 10 years spent at San Quentin.  

Gino was sentenced under California’s 3 strike law in 1997.  He paroled from prison late January, 2021.Raised on the east coast, he endured an abusive childhood and sought healing at an early age.  It wasn’t until he came to prison that he was able to confront his inner demons, and through extensive programming, learned how to transform darkness into light. 

Frederick is 67 years old and was raised in Los Angeles, California where he was a long haul truck driver and the father of two sons. He was released from San Quentin in November of 2019. He has successfully reconnected with his family and now works in the mental health field for the company Building Lives as a case manager. 

 

Social Action   at Shomrei Torah

 

Social Action Committee Accomplishments in 2020 – We still did a lot even with a pandemic!

  • January   Organize and Mobilize (with the congregation).
  • February   Bruce Berkowitz and Judy Kay went to Arizona with Swing Left and Indivisible canvassing door to door to register voters.
  • February   Committee members did door to door canvassing with NBOP
  • February    Presented Padi Selwyn, The End of the American Dream? (live event)
  • April -June     Several committee members working with The Religious Action Center of California met with various elected officials individually.  Jim Wood, Mike Maguire, Marc Levine, Cecelia Aguiar-Curry, and Bill Dodd talked with us about specific issues, answered questions, and all welcomed us to come back.
  • June     Sent letters of outrage to various organizations and politicians with regard to the mismanagement of the Covid Crisis at San Quentin.
  • August    We presented Dr. John Mihalik, M.D. on the Climate Crisis
  • July -August     Entire committee worked with Reclaim the Vote and Ner Shalom on postcard, phone banking, and texting campaigns prior to the November election. We made calls to almost everyone in our congregation.
  • September    Forum with Senator Mike Maguire on current topic
  • October    Proposition Forum prior to the November election.
  • December     Winter Clothing Drive for clients of Elisha’s Pantry.​​​​​​​

Ongoing and Annual SAC Projects

Elisha’s Pantry

We partner with Christ United Methodist Church and Bethlehem Lutheran Church to distribute food every Thursday afternoon to residents in need from the local area.  The pantry which is at 1717 Yulupa Avenue is open on Thursday afternoons. To volunteer or learn more please contact Lien Cibulka, liencib@gmail.com.

Yom Hashoah

Every spring, the Social Action Committee hosts an observance of the Holocaust Day of Remembrance and invites the public to attend. A candle lighting ceremony remembers the six million Jews and others (Gypsy/Roma, LGBT, Righteous Gentiles, political prisoners, the disabled) who were killed by the Nazi regime. SAC also remembers victims of genocides in America, Armenia, Cambodia, Rwanda and Darfur, with candle lighters and speakers.

Rabbi Michael Robinson Memorial Lecture

This annual lecture honors CST’s founding rabbi, Michael Robinson. In honor of his inspirational social activism, we present speakers who share Rabbi Michael’s passion for human rights and social justice. 

Other Projects

Our Social Action Committee presents ongoing film events, forums, and panel discussions highlighting current issues. Past programs have addressed criminal justice reform, homelessness, election concerns, gun violence, money bail, immigration issues, the climate crisis and much more. If there is an issue of specific importance to you, please let our group know.

Social Action Resources

The Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism, California is a valuable resource with up-to-date analyses of key social justice topics through a Jewish lens. The RAC also has action guides for urgent social issues specifically within our state. https://rac.org/take-action/rac-your-state/rac-ca.

Wed, August 4 2021 26 Av 5781