EAR HUSTLE BRINGS YOU THE DAILY REALITIES OF LIFE INSIDE PRISON SHARED BY THOSE LIVING IT, AND STORIES FROM THE OUTSIDE, POST-INCARCERATION.
Launched in 2017, Ear Hustle was the first podcast created and produced in prison, featuring stories of the daily realities of life inside California’s San Quentin State Prison, shared by those living it. Co-founded by Bay Area artist Nigel Poor alongside Earlonne Woods and Antwan Williams — who were incarcerated at the time — the podcast now tells stories from both inside prison and from the outside, post-incarceration. In 2019, Rahsaan “New York” Thomas joined Ear Hustle as a co-host inside San Quentin.
In 2020, Ear Hustle was named a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in audio reporting — the first time the category was recognized — for bringing audiences “a consistently surprising and beautifully crafted series on life behind bars.” Ear Hustle has also received honors from the Third Coast International Audio Festival, the Webby Awards, the Moran Center for Youth Advocacy, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and the Society for Professional Journalists, and was named a Peabody Award nominee in 2017 and in 2018.
Click the link below to go to Ear Hustle’s website.
Online videoconference to address widespread interest in renaming Marin road
San Rafael, CA – A public online learning session about Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, one of Marin’s primary thoroughfares, has been rescheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, August 17. The planned August 5 session was postponed because of scheduling conflicts with several other videoconferences pertaining to similar civil rights topics.
The educational videoconference was prompted by a grassroots effort to have Sir Francis Drake Boulevard renamed because of its namesake’s documented history as a 16th century slave trader. The Marin County Free Library, which is hosting the session, has just created a history resource webpage on the subject.
The session will be moderated by Chantel Walker, the library’s assistant director. The session will start at 6 p.m. and will be closed captioned, offer Spanish interpretation and ASL/CDI interpretation (available via Zoom webinar ID: 924 8372 9278; Password: 798119). Viewers may watch the webcast live on the County’s main Facebook page and the Community Media Center of Marin’s Education Channel. Comcast TV subscribers may watch on Channel 30 or AT&T 99. Video of the session will later be placed on the library’s website.
Marin County Supervisors Katie Rice and Dennis Rodoni co-hosted an online listening session June 26 about one of the most important transportation arteries in Marin. More than 300 people participated in the videoconference. Rice, from District 2, and Rodoni, from District 4, represent the residents who live along the Drake Boulevard corridor that connects San Francisco Bay and the Pacific coast. Public feedback was both in favor of and opposed to renaming the road, and there was interest in learning more about its history, Sir Francis Drake, and Marin’s indigenous inhabitants through the centuries.
The August 17 learning session will feature current and historic perspectives from:
- Tribal Vice Chair Lorelle Ross, Cultural Resources Specialist Matthew Johnson, and Tribal Heritage Preservation Officer Buffy McQuillen, all of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria (Coast Miwok and Southern Pomo);
- Dr. Jordan Lieser, Dominican University of California, and;
- Author and Historian Dewey Livingston, who has spent 35 years researching and telling stories of Marin’s past.
After the presentations, the panelists will answer questions. Email questions by 5 p.m. August 16 or use the Q&A feature during the Zoom session August 17.
Thousands of people have signed an online petition in recent weeks in support of renaming the road. The County of Marin’s Department of Public Works (DPW) maintains 35.3 miles of the boulevard’s 42.9 miles of pavement. Drake Boulevard runs through the municipalities of Larkspur, Ross, San Anselmo, and Fairfax, plus the unincorporated areas of Greenbrae, Kentfield, Woodacre, San Geronimo, Forest Knolls, Lagunitas, Olema, Inverness Park and Inverness.
Drake, an English explorer, is believed to have anchored his ship off Marin’s Pacific Coast and made landfall in 1579. According to History.com, Drake participated in some of the earliest English slaving voyages to Africa starting in 1567, and he earned a reputation for his piracy against Spanish ships and possessions.
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If you are a person with a disability and require an accommodation, requests may be made by calling (415) 473-4381 (Voice), Dial 711 for CA Relay, or by email at least five business days in advance of the event. The County will do its best to fulfill requests received with less than five business days’ notice. Copies of documents are available in alternative formats upon request.
DISTRICT 4 OFFICE :
Supervisor Dennis Rodoni
Phone: (415) 473-7331
Phone: (415) 473-3092
Phone: (415) 473-3246
| — The COVID-19 outbreak at San Quentin State Prison (San Quentin) is the worst prison health screw-up in state history. The botched transfer of COVID-19 positive inmates from the California Institution for Men in Chino to San Quentin has led to nearly 1,400 inmates and over 180 employees at the prison testing positive for the coronavirus. To date, at least six San Quentin inmates have died from COVID-19 while in state custody. All of this would have been preventable if the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and San Quentin leadership had listened to public health and infectious disease experts, developed prison specific plans, and taken appropriate actions to prevent and contain the spread of COVID-19. It isn’t like they weren’t warned. In April, after hearing the concerns of Marin County’s Public Health Officer, Dr. Matt Willis, I spoke with CDCR and San Quentin officials about a potential COVID-19 outbreak and called on them to develop site-specific plans for each of its facilities to ensure that incarcerated people and staff can be protected and local hospitals would not be overwhelmed by a surge of infections. In early May, I asked again for CDCR and San Quentin to develop site-specific plans to address a COVID-19 infection surge at the prison and ensure that limited hospital capacity in the North Bay would be able to safely accommodate civilian and prisoner patients. You can read more about my request and view my letter to CDCR Secretary Diaz here. On May 26, for the first time in over 25 years, the State Assembly met as a Committee of the Whole to discuss the state budget and to have representatives of Governor Newsom’s administration answer questions about a range of budget issues. Among my questions, I again asked the administration for site-specific plans to prevent a COVID-19 outbreak at state prisons. You can view my statement here. Click the image above to see Assemblymember Levine’s statement before the State Assembly’s Committee of the Whole. On May 30, a series of poorly managed actions directed by federal receiver J. Clark Kelso and carried out by CDCR staff led to the transfer of 121 inmates from the California Institution for Men in Chino to San Quentin. The prisoners were not tested for COVID-19 immediately prior to the transfer. The inmate bus transfer itself exposed inmates to the virus and upon arrival at San Quentin, transferred inmates were thoughtlessly blended with the existing inmate population, endangering thousands of inmates and staff at the prison. Transferred inmates were housed at upper levels of the Badger Unit prison block which has open air, barred doors, making it easier for any inmate vapor to fall upon other inmates below. Chino inmates were also transferred to other CDCR facilities across the state, creating a spike of COVID-19 infections throughout the prison system. On June 11, following reports that sixteen inmates at San Quentin tested positive for COVID-19, I renewed my call for CDCR and San Quentin to develop site-specific plans to address a COVID-19 infection surge at the prison and ensure that limited hospital capacity in the North Bay could safely accommodate civilian and prisoner patients. You can read more about this here. By June 18, inmate infections grew to 47 and CDCR still did not have a plan. On June 25, Assembly Budget Chair Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), Assembly Budget Sub-Chair on Public Safety Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) and I met with federal prison receiver J. Clark Kelso to discuss the crisis at San Quentin. At the beginning of the meeting, Receiver Kelso acknowledged that his decision to transfer inmates from Chino to San Quentin was done “too quickly”, was a “self-inflicted wound” and a “big mistake”. It was a stunning admission, but it was an admission that lacked the appropriate urgency or follow up necessary to limit further spread of the virus. His decision put thousands of inmates, staff and the community at risk. I had no choice but to call for the U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar to remove Receiver Kelso from his position and replace him with a competent receiver who can provide better safeguards for all the incarcerated and staff. You can read more about my call to remove Kelso here. Kelso has since replaced a member of his staff. While Judge Tigar has yet to replace Kelso with a new federal receiver, Kelso did remove Dr. R. Steven Tharratt as the prison system’s statewide medical director this week. You can read more about Dr. Tharratt’s removal here. As of June 26, 545 inmates and 73 staff had tested positive for the coronavirus. Statewide, over 4,200 inmates had tested positive for the coronavirus. On July 1, I participated in a Senate Public Safety Committee hearing on the botched transfer of inmates and the expanding COVID-19 crisis at San Quentin. Lawmakers from across the state assailed the decisions of CDCR leadership and Receiver Kelso who offered too little action too late to protect inmates, staff and the public. You can see my opening statement at this hearing here. Click the image above to see Assemblymember Levine’s statement before the Senate Public Safety Committee. Our efforts are working. We have begun to see action. Governor Newsom, CDCR staff, Department of Public Health staff and the Director of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) have established an incident command center at San Quentin to limit, treat and curtail further infections from COVID-19. CalOES also began the establishment of a 160 bed alternative care site for non-Intensive Care Unit patients at the prison and a regional hospitalization plan to accommodate additional inmate hospitalization needs, including possible ICU hospitalization that will not overburden local hospitals. Over the 4th of July weekend, infections at San Quentin continued to rise, including the death of three condemned inmates from coronavirus related causes. As of this week, nearly 1,400 inmates and over 180 staff at San Quentin have tested positive for COVID-19. Enough. While deployment of an incident command at San Quentin is underway, COVID-19 infections continue to spike across California. I had hoped that my warnings since April would have motivated CDCR leadership to take more decisive and preventative action. Unfortunately, those warnings were not heeded in time. My hope is that the delayed actions will force CalOES and CDCR leadership to listen to local public health officials and infectious disease experts to appropriately care for and prevent further COVID-19 infections at San Quentin and in the community. One of the most important roles of the Legislature is providing public oversight of state government agencies. As long as this pandemic continues to threaten the lives of residents in the North Bay and across California, I will continue to hold public agencies accountable and ensure that we take all steps necessary to protect public health. What else do you think needs to be done to protect San Quentin prisoners, staff and the surrounding community from the spread of COVID-19? I welcome your feedback and suggestions. Please connect with me on social media @AsmMarcLevine or send me an email at Assemblymember.email@example.com. Sincerely, |
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PO Box 150084, San Rafael, CA 94915-0084, United States