W.E. Rising Project holds rally in City Hall Plaza to bring awareness to SB 2309

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Jason White

W.E.Rising Project speaker in front of rally attendees

Ivana Venema-Nunez , Reporter

On Thursday night, a rally planned by W.E. Rising Project at City Hall Plaza on Washington St. called for the Phoenix City Council to implement direct action for a crisis assistance programs the 2021 budget.

Neighborhood-Organized Crisis Assistance Program (NOCAP) is being brought up in public city council meetings by the project in hopes that communities will become better equipped for wellness checks and non-violent calls to help exclude police department as  first responders.

“There is a real big issue with the police departments that are running unchecked in these communities in our country. I don’t know why it’s taken, just as a society, to decide at this very moment that we need something as an alternative, something that leads with the standpoint of humanitarianism, not authoritarianism” a speaker from W.E. Rising Project said.

The project was involved in last years’ protests that erupted after the deaths of Deion Johnson and George Floyd.

Many of last summer’s protests were declared “unlawful assemblies” by the Phoenix Police Department and Arizona Republican  legislators have introduced a bill to harshen penalties and mandate a six-month jail sentence if arrested.

Northeast Valley News spoke with a constant attendee who expressed their concern with the recent Arizona legislature bill SB 2309 making certain misdemeanors a class 6 felony.

“They’re trying to stop us from having a voice, that’s not right,” Julian said. “They are trying to push us down as much as they can”

According to the Arizona Republic, the bill advanced in the Military Affairs and Public Safety Committee and waits to be passed.

The bill’s primary sponsor, Rep. Bret Roberts, R-Maricopa, told The Arizona Republic the purpose of the bill was to incentivize activists to not turn to violence when protesting.

A date for when the bill will land on the Rules Committee has not yet been announced, but Roberts said it depends on how quickly they could get the floor amendment posted.