Eddy Zheng needs your support now!
After serving over 20 years behind bars for a robbery he committed at age 16, Chinese American community leader Eddy Zheng now faces deportation to China, a huge loss to the Bay Area community. Released from prison in 2007, Eddy has dedicated his life to preventing youth violence and delinquency through his work at the Community Youth Center, Community Response Network, and many other SF Bay Area programs and organizations. Flawed immigration laws make Eddy deportable to China, although Eddy has already served his sentence and was found suitable to re-enter society by Governor Schwarzenegger himself.
Eddy Zheng has submitted an application for clemency with Governor Schwarzenegger. Please tell the Governor to grant Eddy a pardon, which may prevent Eddy’s deportation to China.
Why is this an important time to take action?
Governor Schwarzenegger will be termed out when the new Governor takes office on January 3, 2011. Many governors have historically granted pardons before they leave office. We want to take advantage of this opportunity by making a strong PUSH for Eddy's pardon during the governor’s last week in office.
What can you do?!
Sign the Change.org petition to show that there is community support for Eddy!
Pass it along and ask your friends to sign too. This is a different petition from one that was recently circulated on Change.org, so even if you think you've signed it double check and sign again.
Why does Eddy deserve a pardon?
After being convicted as an adult for a crime he committed when he was 16 years old, Eddy served over 20 years behind bars where he transformed himself into a renowned prisoner rights advocate, youth mentor, poet, and author. In 2005, Eddy won his parole only by demonstrating to the parole board and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger that he was a model inmate who acknowledged his mistakes, expressed remorse for his crime, and did everything he could to improve himself. At his parole hearing Eddy had letters of support from the judge who originally sentenced him, the Assistant District Attorney who prosecuted him, a former director of the California Department of Corrections, and dozens of state legislators, local politicians, and community leaders.
Today, as a Program Manager for youth outreach programs in the San Francisco Bay Area, Eddy is an asset to the community. Eddy’s immigrant teenage years in Oakland and his incarceration experience have enabled him to conduct effective outreach and intervention strategies for youth, many of whom who are at-risk for entering the criminal justice system.
Eddy has already served his time for his crime. It is unfair for him to be punished twice for the same crime. Keep Eddy at home with his family and his community!
Background info on Eddy Zheng:
Hyphen Magazine: http://www.hyphenmagazine.com/magazine/issue-14-spaces/inside-men
Eddy's blog: http://eddyzheng.blogspot.com/
List of Awards and Committees:
- 2009 Department of Children Youth and their Families Roots Fellow
- 2008 “Outstanding Leadership Award” from the Bay Area Asian Pacific American Law Students Association
- 2007 “Community Hero Award” from the Chinese language newspaper World Journal
- Mayor appointed council member of the San Francisco Safe Community Reentry Council
- Member of the San Francisco central police station Citizen Advisory Board
- National Advisory board member of Asian American Law Journal
- Co-Chair of Asian Prisoners’ Support Committee based in Oakland
- Co-Author of “Other: An Asian and Pacific Islander Prisoners’ Anthology”
Partial List of Supporters for Eddy’s release from prison and immigration detention:
• San Francisco Board of Supervisors
• San Francisco Youth Commission
• Michael Honda, US Congressman
• Barbara Lee, US Congresswoman
• Mark Leno, CA State Senator
• Leland Yee, CA State Senator
• Loni Hancock, CA State Senator
• Carol Liu, CA State Senator
• Gloria Romero, CA State Senator
• Don Perata, former CA Senate President Pro Tem
• John Burton, former CA Senate President Pro Tem
• Sheila Kuehl, former CA State Senator
• Byron Sher, former CA State Senator
• John Vasconcellos, former CA State Senator
• Judy Chu, U.S. Congresswoman
• Phil Ting, SF Assessor-Recorder
• Jane Kim, SF Board of Education
• Eric Mar, SF Board of Supervisors
• Alice Lai-Bitker, Alameda County Supervisor
• Wilma Chan, Alameda County Supervisor
• Jerry Enomoto, former Director, CA Dept of Corrections
• Chris Nedeau, former SF District Attorney who prosecuted Eddy Zheng
• Rev. Norman Fong, SF Chinatown Presbyterian Church
• Dale Minami, Minami Tamaki LLP
• Victor Hwang, SF Assistant District Attorney
• Yuri Kochiyama, Community Activist
• Isami Arifuku, National Council on Crime and Delinquency
* organizations listed for ID purposes only
- California Governor
As a concerned citizen and a staunch supporter of the youth in our community, I am writing to strongly urge your timely pardon for Mr. Eddy Zheng, an Oakland community resident and leader who has committed his life’s work to youth violence prevention – including mentoring youth while in prison and now mediating conflicts between high need and at-risk youth in the Bay Area. Eddy is at immediate risk for deportation to China, a country where he has not been since 1982 and where he has no family or community support. For many reasons, his deportation will have a huge impact on the San Francisco Bay Area community, and especially in the Asian American community where in the three years since he has been out of prison, he has built a reputation as a one who deeply and genuinely cares about the youth and the future of the next generation.
When he was only 16 years old, Eddy was sent to prison. As a result of language barriers and a lack of understanding about his rights and the criminal justice system, he served over 20 years before being released in February 2007. While in prison, Eddy was a leader for prisoner rehabilitation, worked with at-risk youth, and published writings about his personal transformation. After his release, Eddy immediately jumped into leading youth empowerment projects and gang mediations through his job at Community Youth Center in San Francisco. In addition to his full-time job, Eddy has also made time to conduct over 100 anti-violence presentations, workshops, and speeches at public schools and community events since his release in 2007. He has also garnered a number of awards from various community groups and agencies.
To prevent his deportation, Eddy and his supporters are seeking the support and willingness of a Governor's Pardon, which may stop Immigration Custom Enforcement (ICE)’s efforts to deport Eddy and allow him to continue his mission to protect, nurture and motivate our community’s most valuable asset – our youth.
Eddy’s extraordinary personal transformation makes him an invaluable mentor. His ability to connect with at risk youth at their level and share his experiences and knowledge have inspired and motivated many to want to make positive changes in their lives. The contributions he has made and his message to the youth has earmarked him as a highly effective grassroots community leader who will leave a lasting legacy in the community. For these, and many more reasons, Eddy is an ideal candidate for a Governor's Pardon that will grant him permanent residence in the U.S. As an immigrant to the U.S. when he was only 12-years old, Eddy has spent more than half of his life in the United States and identifies as being a Chinese American. After more than two decades behind bars, Eddy’s future is here in the U.S., in the San Francisco Bay Area, and in Oakland with his family and friends, where he can continue to guide underserved youth to make positive decision in their lives and become productive citizens in our community and our country.
Thank you for considering this request. I look forward to celebrating Eddy’s permanent residency with you in the near future.
[Your name here]
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