Policy research: Study impact of human rights crisis on the life chances of Berkeley residents. Project long-term outcomes of economic/ecological trends, and develop prudent policy options to positively transform Berkeley and the Bay Area. Work with government staff, academic leaders, non-profits, and policy institutes.
Action research: Interview people affected by human rights abuses. Produce anecdotal testimony illuminating effect of anti-poor legislation and racial profiling. Help develop community plans to advance human rights.
Community organizing: Network with community-based organizations and progressive leaders from local governments and academia. Assist city commissioners to develop integrated, inter-disciplinary solutions to social problems.
Specific priorities for 2020-2021:
I. Participate in a citywide community engagement process, initiated by the city council in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, to re-envision public safety and police for people in Berkeley.
Our participation will include a holistic look at the meaning of both safety and health, diving into the social determinants of health, with urgency driven by both the racial/criminal justice emergency and the Covid-19 pandemic. These crises in 2020 reveal massive disparities and and injustice both nationally and locally. In this moment we need to develop transformational solutions rather than simply band-aid solutions. The Commission's enabling statute mandates it to advise City Council and staff on issues of peace and social justice. Activities include:
* Extensive research and policy development. * Writing
* Community organizing. .
II. Regional human rights website. This site will focus on exposure and mobilization against human rights violations across the nine Bay Area counties, including civil, political, social, economic, and cultural rights, and affecting all classes of oppressed and marginalized people. The objective is to create a go-to site for human rights information regionally, a premier news source for social justice, with stories supplied by a mix of local folks and professional writers, and a mobilizing force for social change. Activities include:
* Web development and maintenance. In particular we need people with experience in the web development tool "WIX."
* Monitoring news sources for relevant stories to highlight.
* Original journalism.
* Community organizing to develop a network of content contributors and activists across the region.
* Fund-raising. .
III. Police accountability. This area includes multiple initiatives, including a two-year campaign to place a charter amendment for a strong Berkeley police commission onto the November 2020 ballot. Also, a drive to address documented stark racial disparities in stops, searches, and use of force. Activities include:
* In-depth analysis of trends in policing and accountability.
* Study of positive initiatives in other jurisdictions. * Review and critique of proposed programs and technologies by local agencies.
* Networking with regional police reform advocates.
. IV. Development of an alternative news source on local government policy and political matters, particularly in Berkeley. Community reporters are sought to provide journalist-quality reportage on local events and government processes. The model is not pure opinion but reporting based on a progressive perspective. Activities include:
* Community reporters who will make an extended commitment to a particular issue or an elected or appointed governing body.
* Community organizing to develop writing talent, readership, and funding.
. V. Participation in city commissions. Berkeley residents are needed to serve on the Peace and Justice Commission and other city commissions. Activities include:
* Attendance at regular evening meetings (for most commissions, a minimum of one monthly, plus subcommittees as appropriate)