Identifying Lessons, Catalyzing Change:
A National Convening on Police Accountability
Click play to view a photo slideshow by Claudio Papapietro.
On September 11-12, 2014, Communities United for Police Reform, the Center for Popular Democracy and Local Progress hosted a two-day national convening with over 80 community organizers, policy/legal advocates, academics, and funders to share lessons and strategies for bringing justice, accountability and transparency to policing in the United States. Participants hailed from over a dozen cities, including New York, Ferguson/St.Louis, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Chicago, Providence, Cincinnati, Seattle, Baltimore, Durham, Newark, Minneapolis and Milwaukee.
The recent police killings of unarmed civilians, including Eric Garner, Michael Brown, John Crawford and others provided a powerful sense of national urgency. Occurring in the wake of heightened national attention on police brutality and the vital need to change discriminatory police policies and practices across the country, the convening provided a unique opportunity to explore and strengthen policy reform and community-based change efforts—from litigation to legislation, data collection to copwatch, to a broad host of models and solutions.
Convening plenaries and breakout sessions focused on building shared understandings of national and local problems of abusive policing and developing strategies that center the perspectives and leadership of communities of color most impacted by the issues, including Black and Latina/o, youth, immigrants, LGBTQ communities, people who are homeless, and Muslim, Arab and South Asian (MASA) communities who are often disproportionately impacted by discriminatory policing practices. The convening included keynotes by NYC Councilmember Jumaane Williams, lead sponsor of the historic Community Safety Act in NYC, and Constance Malcolm, the mother of Ramarley Graham, an unarmed Black teen shot and killed in his home by NYPD officers in 2012.
The convening was supported by Atlantic Philanthropies, Needmor Foundation, North Star Fund, and Open Society Foundations. In the coming months, CPR will be working with the Center for Popular Democracy and Local Progress to release a report detailing convening highlights and sharing some of the critical work of those present.
With the urgency of the current moment, CPR looks forward to continuing our work with partners in NYC and nationally to translate the current national moment into a broad and lasting movement to end discriminatory and abusive policing.