Widespread harassment and unconstitutional treatment of people of color pervades all aspects of our communities. We are unable to gather in public areas, including on our own porches, for fear of harassment. Our community members are physically injured and mentally and emotionally battered. In October of 2006, a Safe Streets survey of over 500 community members found that 71% of African Americans live in daily fear that police will harm them or a loved one. If arrested, regardless of innocence or guilt, we lose our jobs because our family members do not have the money to bail us out and our employers will not wait out the two months of “D.A. Time” for us to return to work. Near constant degradation at the hands of law enforcement hinders our ability to build strong families and vibrant communities. For decades, our city officials have prioritized punitive and brutal systems, instead of quality services for children and families, often because it helped them build and maintain political power. These priorities have clearly failed to keep anyone safe and the impact on African American communities, particularly on our young people, has been devastating. Over 80% of those incarcerated or detained in Orleans Parish Prison are African American and African Americans are far more frequently the victims of violent crime in New Orleans. Only the complete overhaul of this system will provide any notion of justice for our community.
Our Efforts to Transform These Systems Include:
Safe Streets/Strong Communities also works to transform the New Orleans Criminal Justice System through three major campaigns: