After nearly 8 months of consistent and enduring advocacy efforts our statewide community of FilAm organizers, advocates, educators, students and families breathed a collective sigh of relief.
Our relief is not rooted in finality, but an acknowledgement that we have reached a point in our state’s legislative process that not many do.
Getting AB 490 to the Governor’s desk is consequential to our shared efforts but more so, paramount to the larger fight for real and accountable police reform in a politically-splintering California. Governor Newsom has 30 days to sign Angelo’s bill.
Since February, we’ve coordinated direct advocacy efforts across our local, regional, and state networks to push AB 490, The Justice for Angelo Quinto Act of 2021 through California’s politically fraught legislative process. We uplifted this critical work in the name of seeking Justice for Angelo and all that we have lost to police violence – we did this work directly with Angelo’s family: Tita Cassandra, Tito Robert, Sister Bella, Brother Andre, Auntie Dianna, and the many individuals that have become our family throughout the past year.
These activities at times required immediate letter submissions, speaking with legislative staff, mid-day committee hearings and waiting in phone queues of hundreds of Californians, Justice for Angelo Quinto! Justice for All! Coalition meetings until the wee hours, rapid text messaging planning with the FIERCE Coalition, and more efforts that made all the difference along the way.
We learned critical lessons throughout this legislative cycle. When we needed partners to step up and help retool our strategy, they showed up and applied local pressure, made direct contact, and one-on-one phone calls to legislators and their staff. These various touch points and a coordinated approach to our statewide advocacy platform required all of our voices and it truly shaped the impact of getting AB 490 to the Governor’s desk. Here is a recap of important legislative actions that we were a part of throughout the 2021 legislative session:
TIMELINE OF COMMUNITY & LEGISLATIVE ACTIONS
February 2021: We sign onto the letter of 130+ FilAm organizations and nonprofit partners in denouncing the Antioch Police Department; the Justice for Angelo Quinto! Justice for All! Coalition is formed and establishes its membership.
March 2021: Angelo’s Birthday Memorial is held in Antioch, California; the virtual Filipinx Policy Symposium is held with guest speakers Attorney General Rob Bonta, Assemblymember Alex Lee, and many statewide community leaders to address Police Accountability and specifically call for the support of AB 490, The Justice for Angelo Quinto Act; AB 988, The Miles Hall Lifeline Act; and SB 2, Police Decertification.
April 2021: We produce the Filipinx Advocacy Day and bring a statewide assembly of 30 FilAm organizations to meet directly with state legislators to advocate for AB 490, SB 2, AB 988 and Ethnic Studies. Read about our policy platform and Advocacy Day here.
May 2021: We follow AB 490 through the Assembly Public Safety Committee and organize testimonies.
June 2021: We coordinate phone calls to the Assembly Appropriations Committee Members and send direct letters to the Chair to remove AB 490 from the Appropriations Suspense file; we gather 40+ speakers to testify during the Assembly Appropriations Committee to speak in support of Angelo’s bill.
The community supports the family’s End the Cover Up event at Antioch Police Department, marking six months without knowing Angelo’s official cause of death.
July 2021: We gather 100+ signatures in support of AB 490 as it enters the Senate and is first heard in the Senate Public Safety Committee. View the letter here.
August 2021: We organize a Southern California-focused call campaign directed toward Senator Portantino and urging him to advance AB 490 through the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Angelo’s family also announces their action of filing a Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit with counselor John Burris on August 9, 2021.
The Justice for Angelo Quinto! Justice for All! issues a statement denouncing the retirement of Jim Perkinson, the Antioch Police Officer that killed Angelo, statement here.
September 2021: On September 13th, AB 490, The Justice for Angelo Quinto Act is enrolled for Governor Newsom’s signature or veto.
We write this short piece to give credence and love to the grassroots partners and organizations that pushed Angelo’s bill through the legislative process.
Policy advocacy isn’t for the faint of heart and one that that resounded through our work was ensuring that Angelo’s family knew that they weren’t alone in their horrific tragedy, and that a community across California stood for – and with – them.
Thank you to everyone that we’ve had the privilege to work with throughout this legislative session. We’re learning each day and couldn’t find better kasamas to build and break barriers with!