About Silicon Valley De-Bug

SV De-Bug Featured on ABC's "Profiles in Excellence"
KQED SV De-Bug : The Power of Community Journalism

Silicon Valley De-Bug is a media, community organizing, and entrepreneurial collective based out of San Jose, California. Started in the Spring of 2001, De-Bug has become a nationally recognized organization while also establishing itself as a trusted local platform for communities in the South Bay region.

De-Bug Media produces an award-winning bi-lingual (English/Spanish) magazine. De-Bug’s media program also assists and develops communication platforms for organizations and communities across the country.

De-Bug Organizing has initiated and lead successful social justice campaigns to advance the rights of youth, workers, immigrants and those impacted by the criminal justice system. Through De-Bug’s organizing model, the organization also launched the Albert Cobarrubias Justice Project, an innovative program to enable families to have an impact on their local criminal justice system.

De-Bug’s Entrepreneurial efforts houses and incubates enterprises developed and lead by De-Bug members. After Dark Prints is a design and printing company that serves small business and community organizations with their graphic needs. The Darkroom at De-Bug, which is the only community darkroom in the region, supports the professional growth of film photographers. Young Ghost Studios provides recording and audio engineering for artists. Over the years, De-Bug has been a collaborative space where members have developed their entrepreneurial ambitions which have gone on to become imaginative, self-sustaining works in various fields such as Shorty Fatz (graphic design house), Open-WorldTV (television show), Spoonful of Sugar (catering company), the Guided Meditation Workshop (therapy), and others.

De-Bug operates a center in San Jose for its small businesses, media training facilities, and provides a home base for its community organizing projects.

Read the New York Times profile of Silicon Valley De-Bug, entitled: Silicon ValleyGroup Gives Voice to Voiceless.

Over the years, De-Bug’s work has received numerous awards including:

  • “Best Youth Media Award” from the Independent Press Association
  • “Immigrant Advocate of the Year Award” from the Services for Immigrant Rights and Education Network
  • “Building a Better Community Award” from the Silicon Valley NAACP
  • “Sundiata Acoli Freedom Award” from Youth United for Community Action
  • “Justice Ally Award” from Students for Justice
  • “Community Leadership Award” from the Human Agenda
  • “Patriot Award” by the Bill of Rights Defense Committee
  • “"Silver Heart Award" from the Society of Professional Journalists "for giving voice to the voiceless"
  • "Cutting Edge Champion of Change" from Working Parterships

De-Bug has been the recipient of several legislative honors including special recognitions from:

  • United States Congressmember Michael Honda
  • United States Congressmember Anna Eshoo
  • California State Assemblymember Paul Fong
  • California State Assemblymember Luis Alejo
  • United States Congressmember Zoe Lofgren
  • California State Assemblymember Robert Wieckowski



Arts and Culture:


Location and Contact Information

701 Lenzen Ave., San Jose, CA 95126
Phone: (408) 971-4965
E-mail: svdebug@newamericamedia.org
Hours: Monday-Friday 10am-6pm
Facebook: SV Debug
Twitter: SV Debug

Media Production & Training

Media Production & Training

Since its inception, De-Bug has produced award winning media, in particular by highlighting unheard voices such as youth, immigrants, and other often isolated communities. By carving out a space in the media landscape for new experiences to be included in the larger public discourse, De-Bug has informed policy and civic decision-making, while also allowing a talented new generation of artists, story-tellers, and journalists to develop and display their craft.

De-Bug Magazine

Silicon Valley De-Bug

The longest standing media project, De-Bug magazine is a bi-lingual publication (English/Spanish) that is published quarterly. To order individual copies, or class sets, please contact us at svdebug@newamericamedia.org.

De-Bug TV

De-Bug TV

Taking the print magazine to the television, De-Bug TV airs every Saturday at 11pm on Channel 15 in San Jose. For further inquiries or submissions contact Fernando Perez at: tulantl@gmail.com.

Block 2 Block Radio

Block2Block Radio

Block 2 Block is a discussion based and classic oldies radio show that airs on KKUP 91.5fm every Wednesday morning at 9am, hosted by David Madrid. For listen to segments, and for more information, go to: http://block2blockradio.podomatic.com/ or email David Madrid at: sanjosoul1@yahoo.com.

Media Trainings

Media Trainings

De-Bug assists organizations and schools to develop their own media and communications projects — such as magazines, radio shows, online hubs. De-Bug also conducts regular writing, art and discussion sessions for high schools and community organizations. We can create a series or individual sessions based on the interests of the youth. We have done programs in which we work with the youth over a 3 month period, a week, or down to one two hour session. To have De-Bug come out to your organization, just call or e-mail us. For further inquiries, contact Jean Melesaine at: gmelesaine@gmail.com.

Community and Advocacy

De-Bug initiates and leads community based campaigns and projects related to the issues and policies impacting our communities — immigrant rights, criminal justice reform, labor rights, and others.


The Albert Cobarrubias Justice Project (ACJP) — comprised of a network of families, organizers, advocates and lawyers — is De-Bug’s community organizing model aimed at equipping impacted communities with the tools and information needed to meaningfully impact their local criminal justice system. The principal means of accomplishing this goal is by bringing a community organizing ethic to the court process; encouraging the active engagement of families and communities in the defense of a loved one who has had contact with the criminal justice system; holding the public agencies that make up the criminal justice system accountable; and bringing a community presence to what is usually an isolating court process. The ACJP is program of Silicon Valley De-Bug. To learn more about ACJP programs and trainings, go to the blog: acjusticeproject.org.

This ACJP blog is an extension of this effort to allow those facing charges, as well as their families and communities, to be participatory agents in their own defense. Our premise is that an informed and involved public can dramatically transform the outcomes of their own cases, as well as the landscape of power in the criminal justice system. We are proudly named after one of our founding members Albert Cobarrubias, who defined integrity and the spirit of this work. ACJP offers trainings to organizations, centers, faith-based institutions, and other community hubs who would like to learn how to effectively engage and impact the criminal court system. To set up a training, or for other questions or comments, contact us at: svdebug@newamericamedia.org.


De-Bug’s campaigns and coalition work has also resulted in the freedom of the wrongfully arrested, the stopping of deportations, the winning of civil suits against police agencies and unlawful employers, reforms of local and federal institutions, and the implementation of meaningful policies that impact communities such as:

  • the implementation of the most progressive immigrant detainer policy in the nation. In concert with the Santa Clara County Forum for Immigrant Rights (FIRE) De-Bug helped bring about the strongest county policy protections for immigrants in the nation. Two years ago, in response to a highly controversial Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) program that swept through counties and states called Secure Communities (SCOMM), Santa Clara become a pioneer in protecting immigrants and the integrity of local criminal justice systems by taking a stand against the program. SCOMM erodes the wall of separation from local jails and federal immigrant enforcement agencies by automatically sending biometric information of those fingerprinted upon arrest to ICE. The program wreaked havoc in counties, particularly in immigrant communities who consequently became less trusting of working and communicating with local law enforcement as a result.

    Santa Clara County was one of the first counties in the country that attempted to “opt-out” of the program, an option initially offered by ICE, which stated the program was voluntary. After being tested by Santa Clara County’s decision, ICE backtracked on its original statement, and then claimed that counties could not opt out of the program. In October of 2011, Santa Clara County took matters into its own hands, and created an immigration detainer policy that in effect stopped the county jail from responding to ICE detainer requests.

  • the successful reform of San Jose policing practices. In 2009, San Jose police were arresting people for public intoxication at a higher rate than any other California city, and was also doing so in a racially disproportionate clip. De-Bug investigated the stories beneath the data and found that people were being arrested without probable cause, and were being arrested for their “attitude” rather the legal requirements of a public intoxication charge. De-Bug was selected to be part of a city taskforce chosen by the San Jose City Council to examine the arrest practices. After a two-year advocacy campaign, De-Bug and their partners were able to change the arresting practice, dramatically bringing down the number of people arrested for public intoxication. Changes include offering a breathalyzer to those approached by police, having a sergeant review of cases, and most significantly the new “6 in 12” rule – which means that a charge would only become an arrest after the sixth charge of an individual in a single year. Through De-Bug’s works in the courts, they successfully pushed for public defender representation in misdemeanor arraignment courts – where most public intoxication cases end up.

  • the unprecedented involvement of impacted communities in the selection process for the San Jose Police Chief. Toward the end of 2010, as the City of San Jose was searching for a new police chief, De-Bug developed a community input process that brought in the participation of thousands of impacted San Jose residents. Through the use of a community driven survey campaign, conducted in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese – De-Bug was able to include the perspectives of over 3,000 residents. The survey campaign was complimented by the “Message to the Next Police Chief” video series – profiling individuals who represented various communities in San Jose, and having them share what characteristics they wanted in the their police chief. The campaign also included community forums, and culminated in a report that not only gave the city clear direction on the criteria set by the community, but also gave policy direction for once the new chief took office. The community involvement was continued once Chief Moore was selected, and selected De-Bug to be a member of the San Jose Police Chief Advisory Board.

  • impactful community involvement in Santa Clara County’s criminal justice realignment plan. In response to California’s Supreme Court mandate to reduce prison overcrowding, De-Bug engaged with County officials to ensure community perspectives on the local plan for what is being called “realignment.” De-Bug’s organizing presense ensured that individuals and communities directly impacted by the criminal justice system was not only helping inform the county plan, but helping shape it as well. Santa Clara County’s progressive realignment plan – which focuses non-custodial sentencing such as out of custody rehabilitation, job and housing placement – has been called a “cutting edge approach” (Link: TKTKTK) by the Mercury News. De-Bug helped incubate the highly received Sisters That Been There (STBT) program, an organization created and lead by De-Bug member Steeda McGruder. STBT is a leadership program for women who recently were released from prison or jail. The program is being supported by the Santa Clara County Probation Department to respond to realignment.

  • successfully defeating Proposition 6 in Santa Clara County. In 2008, in the face of a “tough on crime” bill that would have allowed more youth to be charged as adults, and further the criminalization of youth of color – De-Bug conducted a campaign comprised of youth and families to defeat the bill. The work – which included marches, cultural events, and media – resulted in the Santa Clara County voters rejecting the legislation. The statewide proposition ultimately was rejected California voters.

  • winning one of the first 9/11 backlash labor civil suits in the country against a major retail company for discriminatory practice against Muslim employees. Shortly after September 11, 2001 two Macy's employees Alia Atawneh and Hiam Yassine were fired in the anti-Muslim fervor that had taken over the country. Both Atawneh and Yassine were told they could not wear their hijabs at work, and were questioned by management about their beliefs regarding 9/11, then eventually fired. The Equal Opportunity Employment Commission had found that both Alia and Hiam had not been fired for any action of their own, and Atawneh filed a civil claim in the Santa Clara Superior Court alleging discrimination based on national origin, religion and political beliefs. De-Bug lead a broad-based, cross-ethnic year-long campaign called the "Justice for Alia and Hiam Coalition" which involved a petition drive, regular rallies, marches, media briefings, and other actions to bring awareness to the corporation's practices. The campaign resulted in the largest 9/11 discrimination labor suit settlement in the nation at the time of its victory.

Entrepreneurial Projects

Entrepreneurial Projects

De-Bug’s Entrepreneurial efforts houses and incubates enterprises developed and lead by De-Bug members. After Dark Prints is a design and printing company that serves small business and community organizations with their graphic needs. The Darkroom at De-Bug, which is the only community darkroom in the region, supports the professional growth of film photographers. Young Ghost Studios provides recording and audio engineering for artists. Over the years, De-Bug has been a collaborative space where members have developed their entrepreneurial ambitions which have gone on to become imaginative, self-sustaining works in various fields such as Shorty Fatz (graphic design house), Open-WorldTV (television show), Spoonful of Sugar (catering company), the Guided Meditation Workshop (therapy), and others.

AD Prints

AD Prints

Founded and managed by Adrian Avila, AD Prints offers a host of printing and design needs. Services include T-shirt, business card, banners, CD covers, and other printing demands. For more information, contact Adrian Avila at: adrian@afterdark47.com or go to: afterdark47.com.



The Darkroom@De-Bug provides a comprehensive set of services for film photographers, as well as clients who need their film processed. Intended to cultivate and support the craft of film photography, the Darkroom@De-Bug also provides classes, group gatherings, and galleries. For more information, go to http://darkroomatdebug.com/.

YG Studio

YG Studio

The YG Studio, located at De-Bug headquarters, provides a fully equipped music studio for musicians, sound engineers, and radio production. Instructors are also available for youth interested in learning music production. To reserve time in the studio go to, contact Daniel Zapien at: zapiendaniel@yahoo.com. Visit www.ygstudios.tumblr.com.

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