National Immigration Policies Increasingly Assault Civil Liberties


The assault on civil liberties intensifies …. The physical threats and verbal intimidation of U.S. Citizens when they are crossing our borders or at a U.S. airport expands under the immigration ban.

Citizens are being forced to hand over their cell phones while being held for long periods of time (some in detention) through an egregious violation of rights. It is being said that the contents of some phones are being copied by Customs and Border Patrol agents.

American Citizens: U.S. Border Agents Can Search Your Cell Phone

Contra Costa County Racial Justice Coalition (CCCRJC) Community Forum


Saturday, March 11th, 2017, 10am-2pm, the First Christian Church of Concord, California hosted a comprehensive Contra Costa County Racial Justice Coalition (CCCRJC) Community Forum on the Criminal Justice Reform, Affordable Housing, Mental Health & Substance Abuse Facilities, and Civic Participation issues which characterize the Coalition platform. The Forum Agenda stated:

“Our collective concern about our criminal justice system and lack of public investment in our community resulted in the formation of the Contra Costa County Racial Justice Coalition. For a long time, the institutions that should be supporting us have prioritized and profited from shackles, walls, and jails in communities of color. Reinvestment means rejecting these priorities and advancing solutions that create opportunity. Too often, the people who have been most harmed by disinvestment, criminalization, and incarceration do not have the opportunity to shape the policies and realities of their lives, which is why increased civic participation is a critical goal of our coalition….”

Reverend Russ Peterson, Pastor of the First Christian Church, welcomed those in attendance, followed by an Introduction by Tamisha Walker, of the Safe Return Project. Supervisor John Gioia, District 1, honored the gathering as Keynote Speaker.

John Gioia1

Claudia Jimenez, of CCCRJC, provided an in depth commentary on the justice, housing, mental health, and community programs which the Coalition actively promotes, stressing the need these programs provide in strengthening justice, promoting psychological wellbeing, increasing quality of living for local residents, and civically engaging communities.

Attendees were asked to speak personally on viable solutions and their effects upon individuals and communities, as well as encouraged to consider available resources for community involvement and strategies for improvement. Participants expressed concerns about needs in K-12 education, re-entry into society for former inmates, liaison activities with neighboring communities, aligning with multiple communities on similar issues, and aligning with the State for support on common issues.

A moving performance of “Dying While Black & Brown” by ZACCHO Dance Theatre entertained the forum in rare style, while closing remarks by Claudia Jimenez and Yqueline Valencia of CCCRJC sent attendees on their way with new ideas and renewed inspiration.

Forum Performance

We at El Cerrito Progressives support and appreciate the participation of the Contra Costa County Racial Justice Coalition within County communities.

Contra Costa County Racial Justice Coalition (CCCRJC)

CCCRJC – Facebook



West-County Jail

Please help us at El Cerrito Progressives stop the unnecessary expansion of the West (Contra Costa) County Jail by taking 3 minutes to send a few emails (sample letter below).

  • If you have 10 minutes to spare for justice, please also call the numbers below using the talking points in the sample letter.
  • If you have 20 minutes please write, call and send snail mail letters to the people below. 

Note: The grants for jail construction funds were due on February 28 and the grants are being reviewed now. 

The East Bay Times link below provides an excellent background on the issue. 


John Gioia-Jane Fischberg-Claudia Jimenez Commentary

Contra Costa Needs More Prevention, Not More Jail Cells

Quotes from Public Meeting Attendees

Tempers Flare Over Proposed $95 Million West County Jail Expansion


Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC)
2590 Venture Oaks Way Suite 200
Sacramento, CA 95833

(916) 445-5073  (general email for the department)

Construction Financing Department

Robert Oates
Project Director III (CFC)
(916) 445-5806

Kenneth Fitzpatrick
Project Director II (CFC)
(916) 445-6027

Michael Scott
Project Director II (CFC)
(916) 341-7327

Oscar Villegas
Field Representative (CFC)


Dear BSCC Construction Program,

I am writing as a resident of _________, concerned about the proposed expansion of the West (Contra Costa) County Detention Facility in Richmond, CA.  Please DO NOT grant funds for the expansion of our county detention facility.

We need investments in affordable housing, job training, and youth services to prevent people from being incarcerated. We also need to reform our bail system, expand substance abuse treatment and the Behavioral Health Court. We DO NOT need or want funds for 416 new high security beds.

From the commentary by John Gioia, Jane Fischberg and Claudia Jimenez in the East Bay Times 2/14/17:

The Prison Law Office, a well-respected nonprofit public interest law firm specializing in jail system reform, wrote to the Board of Supervisors that “The county would better serve its population by expanding efforts to reduce the jail population instead of expanding the capacity of its jails.”

“Also, the sheriff can create capacity in the West County jail instead of building new cells. Nearly 200 individuals are being held for possible deportation at the West County jail under a sheriff’s contract with the U.S. Department of Justice to house ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) detainees. That’s 20 percent of the jail’s capacity that could be used to meet the county’s needs, not the federal government’s.

Contra Costa is the only Bay Area county with such a contract. This cooperation with ICE should end. It erodes our hard-working immigrant community’s trust in local law enforcement and county government.”

Thank you very much for your consideration.


Churches Extend Relief as Sanctuaries for Vulnerable Immigrants

In these times of mass deportations throughout the nation, churches are stepping up to become sanctuaries for vulnerable undocumented immigrants. Across the nation, churches are offering sanctuary to those who fear being forcibly detained and delivered across U.S. borders.


See how a coalition of interfaith communities is helping their immigrant neighbors in local communities: More US Churches Become Sanctuaries for At-Risk Immigrants

Health Care in El Cerrito and Contra Costa County

El Cerrito residents are health oriented. However since the closing of Doctors Hospital, hospital services in El Cerrito and West Contra Costa County are sorely lacking.


Kaiser Permanente Richmond Medical Center is a prime membership hospital. But membership is costly for a significant number of El Cerrito residents.

The West County Health Center, while not a full hospital, provides a routine and preventive health care service that focuses on many health needs. But health care at the Center does not include emergency care, in-depth care, or surgical/ICU services.


Planned Parenthood at the El Cerrito Health Center, El Cerrito Plaza, provides certain women’s health services, again with no emergency care.

Evidently at this writing, the latter two facilities are the only evidence of publicly available health care in El Cerrito or West Contra Costa County. Alta Bates Medical Center in Oakland appears to be the closest access to full hospital services.

Medical care, mental health care, and emergency dental care are just a few health challenges El Cerrito residents may meet in their lifetimes. Much of our population is aging and therefore in need of hospitals that extensively cover geriatric services. In addition, national statistics show that 75% of healthcare needs stem from diabetes, obesity, heart disease, lung disease, high blood pressure, and cancer. These ailments not only accelerate the need for hospital dietitians, but can require immediate or future hospital-level care.

We at El Cerrito Progressives therefore advocate strongly for a county hospital or medical center that can house and care for emergency and extreme acute care patients, as well as provide dynamic services in disease diagnostics and treatment analysis for a variety of physical conditions.



CA JUSTICE On Your SmartPhone


    OBSERVE       RECORD         REPORT

For iPhone or Android, Mobile Justice CA is an easy way to record and report interactions with law enforcement. All footage and reports submitted through this app will be sent immediately to your local ACLU affiliate.

Mobile Justice CA has three main functions: Record, Report and Witness. After downloading the app:


To start recording, simply hold down the camera button on the outside of your phone, or open the app and hit the red ‘Record’ button and the app will use your phone’s camera to record both audio and video. To stop recording, simply tap the screen. As soon as you stop recording, the video will be automatically sent to the ACLU.

After each recording you will be prompted to fill out a short survey. You can bypass the survey by simply pressing cancel. However, we encourage you to fill it out, so we can learn more about what you witnessed. Required fields in the survey are marked ‘Required.’ If you are unsure of the information asked in the survey, simply mark ‘Unsure.’ Finally, press the ‘Submit Incident Report’ button to send your survey to the ACLU.

You can also test the record function by clicking on ‘Test’. The video captured in test mode will not be submitted to the ACLU.


This feature allows you to know if people around you are getting stopped by the law enforcement. When others in your area use Mobile Justice CA, you will get a message reporting where the encounter is happening. If the dot by this feature is green, it means the ‘Witness’ feature is activated. If the dot is red it means the ‘Witness’ feature is not activated and you will not receive reports on where officer activity is happening. This feature is especially useful for community groups who monitor law enforcement activity.


This feature allows you to keep up-to-date with important local and statewide alerts and events hosted by your local ACLU affiliate. To enable or disable this function, go to the ‘Settings’ tab of this app.

From: Mobile Justice CA – How It Works