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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Young Radical

It's close to the end of the year. At the end of the year, for the first time, we will cut open the tinfoil-wrapped tzedakah box which sits on the windowsill next to a line of piggy banks.

Aviva got her piggy bank when she started to get an allowance. She has happily divvied up the money each week between the piggy bank and the tzedakah box, which is a box of justice, a box for "making things fair".

(There's a line of piggy banks because the first thing Aviva saved up her money for was to buy her brother a piggy bank. The second thing, or thereabouts, she saved her money for was to buy her mother a piggy bank. And the third thing, or thereabouts, she saved up her money for was, you guessed it, to buy me a piggy bank. So we all have piggy banks. They are the same model, but different colors.)

So I asked her yesterday what she wanted to give the tzedakah money to; we'd talked about various forms of social justice and other good works in the past.

"I want to get the people out of prison who are in prison," she said.

"Great," I thought, thinking of the ACLU or the CCR or the SPLC. "So you want to give the money to make things easier for the people who are in prison?"

"No," she said, "I want to get them out."

"Right," I said, "like the money will pay for lawyers who will help show the judge if the person didn't do anything bad, so the judge will let them out."

"No," said Aviva. "I don't want to pay for lawyers. I don't care if they did anything bad. I want to use the money to break open the prisons and let everyone out."

Apparently Aviva feels about imprisonment the way I feel about the dealth penalty.

So... can anyone recommend any organizations accepting contributions for busting open prisons and freeing all the inmates?

Posted by benrosen at December 20, 2006 05:08 PM | Up to blog

Here's a place to start:


Posted by: David Moles at December 21, 2006 04:53 AM

Is it the loss of liberty itself, restriction of movement and all that, or is it the conditions in the prisons? Because there are places that make it nicer (less awful, really) for those people who are in prison, while they are waiting for the chance to get out.

We bust open our pishke at Rosh Hashanah time, count it out and then write a check (or, this year, donate on-line). I then traditionally leave the wrapped coins around my desk for several months. Perhaps it would be good to adopt a Solar New Year Tradition of taking the damned things to the bank already, so my Perfect Non-Reader doesn't keep asking how the charities can get the money without our sending it.


Posted by: Vardibidian at December 21, 2006 11:02 AM

How about the Innocence Project: www.innocenceproject.org?

The Innocence Project at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University is a non-profit legal clinic and criminal justice resource center. They work to exonerate the wrongfully convicted through postconviction DNA testing and to develop and implement reforms to prevent wrongful convictions.

Of course, she may be turned off by their focus on freeing only those who are wrongly convicted, but perhaps it's a start...?

Posted by: Cecilia at December 27, 2006 04:00 PM

Tell Aviva she is well on her way to becoming youfish. Good one, Aviva!


PS The problem with opening all the prisons is that then, as well as your own young radical, there will be a HUGE number of free radicals wandering around out there.


Posted by: Matt Hulan at December 27, 2006 04:38 PM

Also, this might be going out on a limb, but is that the kind of thing that Amnesty International is into?


Posted by: Matt Hulan at December 27, 2006 10:30 PM

Aviva has been following the suggestions avidly. She was very excited at Mr. Moles's suggestion (not least that it was from him), but her interest flagged while reading the wikipedia links, since the various projects seemed mostly engaged in convincing everyone that prisons were a bad idea, a project she greeted with perhaps merited suspicion as to its efficacy, as opposed to just going and knocking down prisons.

She wanted to wait and see if anyone had a suggestion to that effect, but after a little more discussion about what that would entail (i.e. there are police officers whose job would be to shoot at people trying to bulldoze the prisons, and that ultimately this sort of thing can start a war), she began to cool on the idea. "Well, I don't want to start a war," she said.

Therefore I believe the Innocence Project is the current front-runner.

Posted by: Benjamin Rosenbaum at December 29, 2006 09:13 AM

Be careful of posting these things on the Internet. I don't want my god daughter on some terrorist watch list.

I'm only half kidding

Posted by: Jamey at April 16, 2007 02:41 PM

Attention DHS: My daughter may mellow with age.

Posted by: Benjamin Rosenbaum at April 16, 2007 02:43 PM
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