Promoting a New Vision of Public Safety, Association & Belonging
THE NATIONAL NETWORK
In July, 2021, the Decriminalizing Neighborhoods hosted an online conference that brought together advocates, community organizers, academics, practicing lawyers, community leaders, and others to discuss the policing and criminalization of neighborhoods. On the third day of the conference, a plenary strategy session was held on the topic of "Building a National Network," facilitated by author and sociology professor Alex Vitale. Dozens of individuals and organization representatives from across the United States and Canada attended the session.
At the conclusion of the session, the group reached consensus that each of the participants could be more effective if they were part of a national network of organizations with the shared goals of increasing public safety, while simultaneously decreasing state violence, the racial disproportions of the criminal justice system, and the dehumanization of gang-involved people. The conference organizers were tasked with meeting to create this national network.
That Fall, the conference organizers met to map out the purpose, scope, leadership, and logistics of creating a national network. They created a new committee that represented geographic diversity, as well as diversity of backgrounds and skills. The National Network Committee is now meeting to develop organizing principles, identify the services that local organizations need from the network, and raise the money needed to fully realize the network as an effective tool for change.