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Taken from PrisonActivist (July 12, 2000)

"Educate Don't Incarcerate" at Dolores Park

911-2000 September 16, 2000

by Eli Rosenblatt

Michael Franti and Spearhead to headline free outdoor San Francisco Festival to raise awareness of abuses in our criminal justice system and to abolish the death penalty

San Francisco- Michael Franti and his soul hip-hop band, Spearhead top the list of musicians, poets, speakers, and other socially conscious artists who will perform for free at the second annual open-air festival to raise public awareness of abuses and injustices in America's criminal justice system.

Dubbed 911.2000, the free concert and festival will take place Saturday, September 16, 2000 at Dolores Park, a 13 acre park bordering San Francisco's Mission and Castro Districts. With last years inaugural event attracting a crowd of 6,000, organizers hope to double that number this year. Besides Spearhead, last year's festival included music by Digital Underground and The Coup and a keynote address by prison industrial complex activist Angela Davis.

This year, the grassroot's festival's focus will be on achieving a moratorium on the death penalty and on reining in the country'sgrowing prison industrial complex, which spends millions of taxpayer dollars to incarcerate rather than educate citizens of this country. It will also address the racial, social and economic inequities that pervade the criminal justice system while seeking an end to the developing for-profit prison industry.

Says Franti, "I remember when AIDS first started and at first you heard of a friend of a friend who had it, pretty soon it was a friend of yours. Its the same way with prisons. It used to be that you knew a friend of a friend who was in prison, and then it was a friend. And now a lot of us have friends who are locked up for a long time, all because of the America's misguided, expensive, and ineffective war on drugs and its mandatory minimum sentencing policy."

With even mainstream America taking a renewed look at the death penalty, resuling in moratoriums now in effect in several states across the country, Franti feels the time is right to bring about change. "So many people have been executed on sketchy "evidence" in death-penalty cases that it makes us ask the question not who should die, but who has the right to kill?" says Franti.

Franti's reputation as a socially conscious musician and activist has grown steadily since the late 1980's as leader of the Beatnigs, The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, and, currently, the soulful hip-hop collective Spearhead, which will release its third album, Stay Human, in September.

In addition to Spearhead, 911.2000's live music will be provided by the jazz/funk/hip-hop group Legend of Phoenix, led by Tre, formerly of The Pharcyde, and other performers to be announced.

A DJ tent will keep the music pumping, featuring Lorin of 13 moontribe/amorphous musik collective, a worldwide groups of DJ's and promoters, Polywog, perhaps best known for her recent star turn in the movie Groove; and The Peace Force Sound System, which provided the soundtract for the World Trade Organization protests in Seattle early this year.

Speakers scheduled so far include Pam Africa of Philadelphia's MOVE organization and Ramona Africa, MOVE's minister of communication.

911.2000 will also include an art tower, a meditation tent, artwork by world renowned artist, Rigo, graffiti artists exhibiting their skills live, and booths representing more than 50 organizations. Also on hand will be the "Wall of Stolen Lives," a Vietnam Memorial-type tribute sponsored by The October 22 Coalition that lists people killed by law enforcement.

"This will be a day of awareness and a call to action to educate the masses about the prison industrial complex," says event organizer Catherine Enny, who also manages Spearhead. "We want to touch people to get them involved in helping others who have been unjustly imprisoned--and to realize how easily it could happen to them."

Although the event is free and open to the public, donations will be accepted and given to organizations fighting for social justice.

Michael Franti of Spearhead and Tre' of Legend of Phoenix are available for interviews. For more info or promo materials, call Catherine Enny at 415 865-2170 Ext 1.

Look for updates and more complete information in coming weeks.

some of the endorsers for this are: resource center for non-violence, prison activist resource center, art and revolution, the sf mobe to free MAJ, the S. cruz coalition to free MAJ and all PP, Frank Little Club, Peace and Freedom Party-Santa Cruz, QTV-santa cruz, revolution books and the RCP, D2KLA, Earth First!, Jericho Amnesty Movement, October 22nd Coalition/Stolen Lives Project, Homeless United for Friendship and Freedom, Diversity Center-Santa Cruz, Big Mountain Alliance, UHURU!, CALPIRG, Homes Not jails, Police Watch, Free Radio-Santa Cruz, Barrios Unidos, Critical Resistance, ACLU, Third Eye, Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network and the GLBT Resouce Center-Santa Cruz

+++ Resources for Organizers, Educators, Activists +++

Prison Activist Resource Center


PO Box 339 Berkeley CA 94701

ph: 510-893-4648 // fx: 510-893-4607



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