The Buddhist Justice Collective (BJC) consists of Louisville-area Buddhist and mindfulness practitioners (and friends) who believe that Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color especially suffer on account of White supremacy, economic exploitation and violence. BJC holds that these systemic factors are impermanent, and we can transform them.
BJC took shape during the Uprisings of 2020-2021, and attracted organizers from various Buddhist and mindfulness traditions in Louisville. BJC offers activist support and conducts vigils for racial justice and public safety reform. All are welcome.
Buddhist Justice Collective and Veterans For Peace Chapter 168 co-hosted an hourlong vigil for a ceasefire in Waterfront Park on Sunday, Feb. 18, 2024. Please click for a report and various action steps.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 5, 2023
The Buddhist Justice Collective Denounces the Prosecution of Organizers Working for Public Safety for All, Calls for Public Support for: Life-Saving Bail Funds, Ending Cash Bail, and the Immediate Provision of Adequate Health Care Within Our Louisville Jail
Louisville, KY- As part of a drastic escalation in Georgia—targeting protestors and organizers working for police reform, police accountability, criminal justice reform and genuine public safety for all— three members of the Atlanta Solidarity Fund have been charged with alleged financial offenses carrying penalties of up to 20 years in prison and up to $500 thousand dollars in fines.
These arrests come in the wake of a wave of arrests targeting protestors attempting to stop the construction of a massive police training center near Atlanta. The Solidarity Fund has bailed out some of the 42 people, who were typically charged with trespass or property damage under Georgia’s expansive 2017 domestic terrorism law.
These three individuals, taken into custody in a guns-out SWAT-style raid, face up to 35 years in prison if convicted. Laptops, cellphones, a diary and documents were seized in a raid on the bail fund’s offices, impacting the ability of the Atlanta Solidarity Fund to pay bails for poor people who suffer incarceration while wealthier citizens walk free.
We at BJC denounce the targeting of the Atlanta Solidarity Fund for this raid. We denounce this transparently baseless harassment and prosecution for “financial offenses,” and the use of draconian domestic terrorism charges against protestors.
We denounce any effort to expand the prosecution dragnet to target the other protest support infrastructure and community organizations working to provide genuine community safety for all—in Georgia, in Kentucky, and wherever people of good will gather to address fundamental causes of human suffering.
We call on Atlanta and Georgia public officials to drop all charges and cease all proceedings against #StopCopCity protesters, release them immediately, and expunge their arrest records.
We call on Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens and the Atlanta City Council to vote NO to funding #CopCity and cancel the lease for construction of Cop City.
Closer to home, BJC enjoins Louisvillians of good will to demand our elected officials work to end cash bail. In the meantime, work and donate to support our existing bail funds, and create more of them.
Our Kentucky Constitution guarantees bail for all crimes except capital offenses. Since that bail need not be affordable, and what is affordable for one family is insurmountable for another, people languish in our jails (including for victimless crimes, and what can only be termed administrative and bureaucratic mishaps). Their mental and physical health deteriorate, they lose their jobs, and their families and communities experience harm as the impacts of these losses ripple out. This is how we lose lives in LMDC.
We ask all Louisvillians of good will to amplify the demand to have a physician on site in our jail seven days a week, at all hours.
Our most recent and completely preventable death occurred on the weekend. LMDC does not have a doctor on the weekend.
A young man arrested and detained in jail on 5/28 for a $500 full cash bond took his own life. His life-threatening distress was not only not identified or cared for by available jail staff, but amplified through the circumstances of his incarceration.
Nobody acting in good faith can comfortably call upon community safety resources in Louisville, because our criminal and judicial systems function so as to kill our community members in crisis.
When LMDC fails to provide care to people who are not free to seek medical help and comfort for their distress from their families, communities and caregivers, the deaths are not just tragic but engineered. Wellpath, the provider of healthcare in our jail, declines to provide life-saving care when it’s truly needed. This has been considered acceptable. It is not acceptable, but horrifying.
To know that a loved one is suffering a medical and/or psychiatric emergency, and to be able to do nothing for them, is a terrifying situation. It would relieve suffering throughout Louisville to know when our loved ones are in crisis while detained at LMDC, they have at least a chance to get timely, life-saving mental and physical care.
We urgently need to replace Wellpath. We must solicit community-based health care proposals and replace Wellpath to provide high quality healthcare services onsite and around the clock. At a minimum, we need a physician and fully licensed mental health professional on site 24/7, routine and emergency physical and mental assessments and care, established referral options for community care, 24/7 safety monitoring, and independent review and supervision of all mental health services.
That this poor state of care in our jail has been accepted as the ordinary and inevitable course of things suggests thoroughgoing callousness, indifference, or hatred for other human beings. Our criminal justice system detains desperate and despondent people in conditions that have driven people with no history of suicide attempts to take their own lives. We must continue to ask people what the current conditions in the jail are like, and we must demand that those conditions get better.
People of goodwill must wake to this situation of preventable death and suffering in our criminal justice situation, and oppose all moves to criminalize our organizers, protestors and people of good will who participate in the movement to create public safety for all. We who are free and able must do better for people who are detained and thereby rendered powerless to seek help in preservation of their own lives. We must do better for our families and communities, who quite rightfully fear to access community safety resources for people in crisis situations.
The Buddhist Justice Collective (BJC) consists of Louisville-area Buddhist and mindfulness practitioners (and friends) who believe that Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color especially suffer on account of White supremacy, economic exploitation and violence. BJC holds that these systemic factors are impermanent, and we can transform them. BJC offers activist support and conducts vigils for racial justice and public safety reform. All are welcome.
about BJC vigils
Dress for the weather. Bring a cushion or chair to sit on if you prefer, but you can participate without it. Organizers bring chairs as they are able, and try to make use of whatever seating is available at the location. Some people do sit right on the ground.
BJC vigils usually last approximately an hour, with readings, speakers, open mic and walking in between rounds of silent seated meditation. Transitions are marked by bell-ringing. Be invited to bring a bell if you have one. (Sound your bell in response, whenever you hear a bell.)
Instructions are given at the beginning. No meditation experience is required.
Masking and social distancing are supported in spirit and practice by the outdoor vigil seating arrangements.
where to get stuff with that BJC logo on it
Our logo was designed by Phil Lloyd-Sidle, and you can get stuff with that logo on it here; be especially invited to wear it to the vigils. Note that on the shirts, you can choose not only from many styles but you can also decide to print the logo on the back or the front of the shirt. Quality was spotty during the worst of the pandemic supply chain issues, but people have been pleased with more recent items.
to stay in touch with BJC
sign up for our newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/hTg0wn
join our Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/buddhistjusticecollective
follow our Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/buddhistjusticecollective
to email an actual BJC organizer: email@example.com