July 19 2016

For too long, California has been overspending on prisons and jails under the mistaken idea that punishing people is what prevents crime.

It doesn’t. It has devastated families and neighborhoods, especially communities of color, and it is taking opportunity away from our young people.

We believe it’s time for a new vision for community safety centered on education, health, healing and investing in our youth.   That’s why we’re proud to support the 2016 #SchoolsNotPrisons music and arts tour that will travel to 11 California communities to highlight what we need to invest in for truly safe and healthy communities.

And we’ll be promoting the importance of voting, especially for youth, as an essential strategy for creating a California where education and health come first.

For me and perhaps many of you, public education was the gateway to a successful future.  When you graduate from high school and college, many studies show you’re much more likely to have a healthy and successful life.  But due to the prison-building boom that has lasted for decades, schools aren’t getting the resources they need help students succeed.

Since 1980, California has built 22 prisons, but just one UC campus.  Spending on prisons and jails has increased three times faster than spending on K-12 schools in California, according to a new U.S. Department of Education report.

“We are surrounded by prisons, especially here in the Central Valley,” said Crystal Rivera, 22. “And when you just see prisons, you already imagine yourself in prison instead of a college or university.”

Crystal and all of California’s young people deserve better, and the #SchoolsNotPrisons tour will shine a light on what we need to do to create health and justice for all.

The 11-stop tour kicks off August 6 in Sacramento, and will continue to San Bernardino, Oakland, Fresno, Coachella, Oxnard, San Diego and Stockton.  The tour also will include performances inside three adult and youth correctional facilities.

Through the tour, we’ll be supporting local campaigns against the overuse of punishment and incarceration, including issues such as harsh school discipline, immigrant and refugee detention, the high cost of youth prisons, the lack of services for the formerly incarcerated, and the impact of incarceration on families.

Artists are always at the forefront of social change, and we’re proud to be joined by a growing number of socially conscious artists who share our priorities, including Ty Dolla $ign, Ceci Bastida, John Forte, Gallant, La Santa Cecilia, Kimya Dawson, Los Rakas and others to be announced. Local artists will join the headliners at each of the concerts.

So go to www.SchoolsNotPrisons.vote to check out the exciting lineup and learn more about ideas for real safety in our communities.   And make sure you’re registered to vote!

Hope to see you August 6 in Sacramento as we kick off the 2016 #SchoolsNotPrisons tour.

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