Defund the Police and Invest in Communities

Over the past few weeks, protests have taken place in cities across the country in response to police brutality and the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McCade, and too many others. As a result, the rallying cry “defund the police” has captured the public’s attention and has sparked much debate over the role of police in our communities. PolicyLink stands with efforts to defund the police and divert much needed resources to alternatives to policing and investing in our communities. We hope you will join us in imagining a better way to keep our communities safe and address the root causes of our challenges. As always, check out the resources below and let us know how we can partner with you.

Defund the Police

As many folks begin to research the concept of defunding the police, we wanted to share the following resources from our work:

  • Essence: In a recent piece for Essence titled, “The Abolitionist Project: Building Alternatives To Policing,” PolicyLink staffer Tracey Ross highlights the work of Cat Brooks, a longtime organizer and abolitionist in the Bay Area, who co-founded the Anti Police-Terror Project (APTP) in 2014, a coalition that seeks to build models to end police violence and support impacted families and communities.
  • Fines and Fees: Last month, we announced the selection of 10 cities to join the Cities & Counties for Fine and Fee Justice network to pursue bold, innovative solutions to reform unjust fines and fees. Our guide, “The Roadmap to Equitable Fine and Fee Reform,” is a distillation of the curriculum, and shares insights and direction for anyone interested in fine and fee reform, particularly leaders in cities and counties who are eager to address the widespread challenges presented by excessive fines and fees in their jurisdictions.
  • Radical Imagination Podcast: Last fall, PolicyLink Founder in Residence Angela Glover Blackwell explored police abolition with humanitarian hip-hop artist Jessica Disu, a.k.a. FM Supreme. She also spoke with Rachel Herzing, co-director of the Center for Political Education in Oakland, California, about the racialized history of policing and innovative community-driven alternatives for public safety.

Housing Justice Narrative Webinar Series

Long before the COVID-19 pandemic laid bare the human cost of housing injustice in the United States, access to housing has been one of the dominant drivers of race and gender inequity in this country. While there has been a deep and rich history of housing organizing and policy advocacy, this moment demands that we join together to employ new tools to frame the debate and win meaningful change. Community ChangePolicyLink, and Race Forward are working with local, state, and national advocates to advance a housing justice narrative intended to achieve our goals of racial justice and homes for all.

We have launched a Housing Justice Narrative webinar series to share our findings and help partners advance effective messages and tools. If you missed the first webinar, “Findings from Focus Groups and a Dial Survey on Housing in the United States,” you can access the recording here. To participate in the remaining webinars, register here. Webinar topics include:

  • June 24: Narrative Strategy 202
  • July 8: What’s Race Got to Do with It?
  • July 29: Cultural Strategy
  • Aug 19: Driving Narrative with Legislative Proposals and Policy Fights

UNUM Fellows Program for Elected Leaders in the South

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, E Pluribus Unum (EPU) has relaunched the application for the UNUM Fellows program. The program is a unique, non-partisan fellowship that aims to ensure local elected leaders in the South can act on racial and economic equity – driving sustainable change in their communities. Support for local elected officials is more critical than ever before as they navigate the COVID-19 recovery process and work to ensure greater equity and resilience in their communities moving forward.

The UNUM Fellows program will push leaders towards these issues and support them in generating an ambitious project with the tools to effectively work towards equity in their communities through sustainable change and collaboration. Cohort members will receive project funding of up to $75,000, along with ongoing technical support to implement their resulting projects.

Over the past couple years, we have had the opportunity to support EPU as they work to bring people together across the American South around the issues of race, equity, and economic opportunity. We are excited to partner with them on this new program. Visit the Unum fellows website to learn more about the eligibility requirements and the application process. The deadline is July 31, 2020 at 11:59 pm EST.