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PODER Responds to Courthouse Arrest
updated: May 07, 2014, 8:30 AM

By PODER Santa Barbara

We are a not-for-profit collective in the City of Santa Barbara that organizes to create a space, place, and time to build community empowerment through education, self-awareness, and activism. We stand in solidarity with any and all youth and familie...s facing the risk of criminalization so that we may contribute to the creation of a better city with and for them. We operate from 3 basic values: compassion, understanding, and a responsibility towards each other.

The actions of Brian Ruiz do not reflect the intentions or sentiments of PODER. We would hope to recognize that the appropriate place to adjudicate this matter is in a court room by ones peers, not in the court of public opinion. We will monitor the case to ensure that the Santa Barbara Police Department and the Santa Barbara County Sheriffs will provide him with the proper care and attention towards his legal rights.

We want to clarify once again that we are not pro-violence. We recognize any community member who takes steps to change their life and improve conditions as law abiding productive citizens. Statements that claim we are pro-violence or pro-gangs are deliberated distortions of our goal, which has always been to focus on community based solutions to reduce violence in our neighborhood. We believe that our youth need opportunities to learn about nonviolent conflict resolution skills, and have stood by the belief that the gang injunction will perpetuate the problem as oppose to develop a meaningful solution.

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