December 2016

You're Funding Planting Justice's Vision for Vibrant Communities

"The US prison system is the most violent, racist system that may have ever existed in human history. That sounds hyperbolic, but we are really talking about a machine that eats people and tears families apart, and then sells us a very incorrect idea of what safety is. I don’t believe that keeping people in cages keeps us safe. We are so busy investing in that false hope for safety that we aren’t investing in the things that would actually make our communities safe: affordable housing, education, good jobs, healthcare.


Our role as people of conscience in the United States is to push for a dramatic shift from a system that eats people to a system that nourishes people."


- Nicole Deane, Planting Justice Communications  Coordinator

Watch this update on Planting Justice's work and their vision for food justice

Meet the December Artists

Heshima Denham

"The election of Donald Trump is only one of the more recent examples of U.S. institutions functioning as they were designed to function. The systems of violence they manufactured, like the Prison Industrial Slave Complex, cannot be reformed, they must be transformed. This is my purpose: to understand our duties to end the oppression of man and women, by man and women. A goal I will not see in this life, but a goal I have committed my lifetime to. This is why it’s called the struggle."

Joka Heshima Jinsai is an artist, artist, and author who’s had multiple articles, initiatives, and art pieces published in progressive publications such as the San Francisco Bayview, Prison Focus, MotherJones, Turning the Tide, 4 Struggle Magazine, and others. He is currently serving as Executive Director of the Amend the 13th: Abolish Legal Slavery. He is also co-founder of the State Raised Foundation and Co-author of the Ten Objectives for Social Progress and Transformation. He was previously part of the Sustainable Agricultural Commune and Youth Committee Action Program. In prison since 1993, he spent 18 years and 8 months in solitary confinement. He has been a tireless advocate for black self-determination; revolutionary concepts of socialism; community development; prisoner’s human rights; social equality; and abolition of indefinite solitary confinement, mass incarceration, and legal slavery in America.

Meet the Movement Leaders

Blue Heart Feature Interview. We had the chance to sit down with three Planting Justice staff to understand how they are building a vision for a world without jails and with affordable, healthy food.
In the wake of the election, Planting Justice is building the same resistance and creating the same alternative food systems that were needed before. As Bilal Coleman says "As a formerly incarcerated person, I can’t vote. New president, no president--whatever happens won’t stop me from doing my work. And if it slips into some type of dictatorship, well then everything we are doing is even more relevant. Get your shovels, plant some food, prepare for the bad."

December Action Opportunities

Take your support even further this month with these recommended actions.


Drew Cameron

Drew in his studio with the Planting Justice paper

Drew Cameron is a second-generation hand papermaker, trained forester, and former Army soldier. The hand-made paper of your print is created from a combination of prison uniforms, military uniforms, money, and the American flag - what Drew calls the “four pillars of U.S. power.”

Drew founded Combat Paper in 2007 and has been facilitating workshops with veterans and communities in which they transform military uniforms into handmade paper, prints, and books. Through over 150 workshops, he has reached thousands of people in 30 states. His work is held in 34 public collections and has been shown numerous times including at the Brooklyn Museum, Corcoran Gallery, Courtauld Institute, Library of Congress, Museum of Contemporary Craft, Museum of Craft and Design and the Craft and Folk Art Museum among others. Combat Paper is now operating in four locations: New York, New Jersey, Nevada and California with open and ongoing programming. You can stop by the Shotwell Paper Mill in San Francisco (17th and Shotwell) to see Drew in action.


Recommended readings and resources for Blue Heart members, curated by Planting Justice staff

My Four Months as a Private Prison Guard

Long Read

This award-winning Shane Bauer spent four months as a prison guard in a private prison to uncover the mismanagement, violence, and dehumanization of inmates and led to the Justice Department announcing that the federal government would not renew its contracts with private prison operators. If you have not read this piece yet, it is a must.

The Story of Kalief Browder

Long Video or Short Read

Kalief Browder was falsely accused of theft and spent three years at Rikers under constant abuse and harassment. He committed suicide a few years after his release. His story reveals the deepest injustices in our prison system: systemic racism, structures to pressure admission of guilt and produce revenue for the state, and horrendous treatment of those incarcerated. Kalief’s story is tragic, and all too representative of this broken system.

The School to Prison Pipeline

Short Video


The trauma that pervades black and brown communities due to mass incarceration starts in our education system. Watch this super quick video that explains the School to Prison Pipeline and how black students are disproportionately affected.

Documentary: Our Prison's Racial History


13th is a deeply provoking documentary about the history, law, and present political context for the violence, slavery, and dehumanization riddling our prison industrial complex. With the greatest thinkers and change makers on mass incarceration peppering your journey with insight and perspective, you will finish this movie profoundly saddened by and motivated to resist our prison industry.

The New Jim Crow


In this seminal read, Michelle Alexander rips the cover off of the prison industrial complex. This one book changed the course of history by popularizing the 90s’ ‘war on crime’ as a racist plot to lock up black and brown communities. Although it’s chock full of data, it’s a page-turner and it will transform your understanding of mass incarceration in the U.S.

Putting Your Dollars to Work

Each month, $10 of your subscription goes to the featured organization.


In October the Blue Heart community sent $610 to Movement Generation and this month we're giving $1,050 to Planting Justice. Let's keep this community growing! 


By choosing to invest in Blue Heart you are investing in social change not supported by traditional philanthropy. We believe that model is broken. Billions have been spent, but we are losing ground on most social issues. Responding to the root causes of injustice requires building the self-determination of the communities most marginalized by our dominant, extractive economy. And this means funding the small, scrappy, movement-building organizations on the front lines. Your ‘return on investment’ may not be thousands of acres protected or the number of jobs directly created, but rather stories of how the programmatic work of these organizations is transforming how their constituencies are resourced to reclaim dignity and identity. By voting with your dollar, you believe this type of transformation is possible.

Every three months we will feature a grassroots organization that is doing critical and timely work beyond the Bay Area. 


In January 2017, we will be supporting the water protectors and artists of the Standing Rock resistance, as a powerful movement that deserves national attention and funding.

Upcoming at Blue Heart...