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Public Safety

Do Not Stand Idly By Campaign Pushes Forward, Inspires U.S. Mayors to Act

Metro IAF Leaders Escort New Haven Mayor Toni Harp back to the US Conference of Mayors meeting. Photo Credit: David Choy

BUILD listens to 1,100 Residents, Ratifies Plan to Fight Baltimore Violence

BUILD trains 120 members and leaders on January 13, 2018 to rebuild city of Baltimore
Baltimore’s unprecedented violence last year made national news, and BUILD responded by listening to approximately 1,100 city residents about their experiences with violent crime and what they most 

CONECT Wins Commitments on Police Body Cameras & Teacher Training on Immigration, Hate Speech and Bias-Based Bullying

Rev. Anthony Bennett questions Bridgeport Police Chief A.J. Perez on body cameras for Bridgeport police.
On Nov 6th, 188 people came out to a first local action for CONECT in Norwalk, CT where the organization got commitments from the Mayoral Candidates, the Police Chief, and the Assistant Superintendent of Schools on Do Not Stand Idly By, immigration, and teacher training on hate speech and bias based bullying.
In a school district that is 40% Latino, 30% White and 20% African American, the Director of Operations for Norwalk Public Schools vowed the district would offer a full day of anti-bias cultural awareness training for teachers and staff at the beginning of each school year, starting in August 2018. The school district also committed to creating a one-page fact sheet in multiple languages regarding protocol related to immigration enforcement and agreed to work with other school districts on issues of immigration and discrimination.
On Nov 30th, CONECT had 203 leaders out to a Delegates Assembly themed "We'll Rise" off of the Maya Angelou poem "And Still I Rise" where the Bridgeport Police Chief was pressed for commitments around getting body cameras for the force and around training all officers on de-escalation tactics and on racial / cultural sensitivity and anti-bias training. Chief Perez committed to training 100 veteran officers in de-escalation tactics by May of 2018 and promised to apply for state funding for body cameras for every police officer in the force within one week following the assembly with CONECT.

1,400+ EBC-Metro IAF Leaders Win Commitment on Gun Violence, Recognition from NY Police and Housing Commissioners

More than 1,400 leaders packed St. Paul Community Baptist Church in action with Police and Housing Commissioners 

East Brooklyn Congregations had an incredible assembly and action at the end of July with NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill, Housing Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer and 1,400+ East Brooklyn Congregations-Metro IAF leaders.  The sanctuary at St. Paul Community Baptist Church was standing room only, and there were many more people in the entry way, chapel and in rooms downstairs.

The themes of the night were criminal justice and immigration, affordable housing, and launching EBC’s largest ever action on Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday, October 9th.

EBC had an incredible breakthrough with Commissioner O'Neill who committed publicly to meet with Glock firearms. Leaders Dahlia Romero and Rabbi Joel Mosbacher asked O'Neill to make Glock, who arms the NYPD, choose between the NYPD and places like Arrowhead Pawn Shop in Georgia. Arrowhead is the infamous gun dealer that has supplied weapons to murderers and maniacs in all five boroughs, including the individual who killed two NYPD officers two years ago.  After 4 years of pushing the NYPD, EBC finally got a yes.

Reverend David K. Brawley and Blanche Romey concluded the action with a challenge to EBC leaders to go hold the mayor accountable around EBC-Metro IAF's plan to totally rehabilitate New York City public housing and build 15,000 new units of affordable senior housing. As Reverend Brawley said, "we've waited three years for this mayor to meet. We're tired of waiting. If he won't meet with us then we're going to him."

Pledges were made for at least 4,650 leaders to attend the East Brooklyn Congregations-Metro IAF Assembly at City Hall at 12:00 pm, Monday, October 9th (Columbus Day). That number is likely to grow over the next few weeks. 

EBC leader Rev. David K. Brawley shakes hands with NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill

EBC leaders Rev. David K. Brawley and Linda Boyce on stage with Housing Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer

DuPage United Wins First County-Wide CIT Curriculum Outside Chicago

DuPage United in Illinois successfully organized to establish the state’s first county-wide Crisis Intervention Team Police Training curriculum outside of Chicago. The incarceration of individuals affected by mental health issues in Illinois is a chronic issue, and families with loved ones impacted by the state’s lack of mental health resources continue to fight for solutions. As a result of the organizing work led by those families, police in DuPage County will now have access to two CIT trainings a month compared to an average 4 trainings per year offered by the state.

This win will pave the way for other counties across Illinois to follow suit, dramatically ramping up the number of trained CIT officers. DuPage United will hold the county accountable to their goal of training at least 90 officers per month. Meeting this goal could result in 1,080 newly trained CIT officers in one year's time -- an estimated 800% increase in CIT officers in the Metro Chicago Region and a 75% reduction in CIT training costs to each participating department.

In Boston, GBIO Wins Commitments from Legislators on Criminal Justice

In the past month, GBIO leaders held In-District Meetings with two Massachusetts State Senators and three Representatives, met five additional Representatives in their offices, and made hundreds of phone calls — continuing to build support for four key reforms to the criminal justice system: repealing mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses, pretrial and bail reform, reducing/eliminating fees and fines, and shortening length of time spent in solitary confinement.

On June 5th, at the MA State House, GBIO leaders presented testimony and had a strong showing at the Joint Judiciary Committee Hearing on bills for three of these four reforms.

At the May 18th In-District meeting, at First Parish UU, 40 leaders secured commitment on all four legislative priorities from Sen. Sal DiDomenico and Rep. Marjorie Decker, and on two (pretrial and bail reform, reducing/eliminating fees/fines) from Rep. Boncore.

On June 8th, at Fourth Presbyterian Church, nearly 60 leaders secured commitment for all four legislative priorities from Rep. Holmes, and for at least three of the four, from Rep. Cullinane’s staff. Sen. Forry canceled at the last minute. Fired up by Sen. Forry's cancelation, attendees committed to making an in-office visit, and more than 40 phone calls to her office, on June 9th. They posted to social media that they carried on their meeting without Sen. Forry's attendance.

In addition, leaders met with Reps. Malia, Rushing, Sanchez, and Stanley. Each of these representatives committed to at least two of GBIO’s four legislative priorities.

In the coming months, GBIO’s criminal justice team plans to push legislative action on these issues to other parts of Massachusetts, through denominational relations in the AME, Presbyterian, UU, UCC, Reconstructionist Jewish and Reform Jewish congregations across the state, as well as through friend/family networks of GBIO members.