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Community Safety Beyond Policing

Join our webinar series to explore how communities across the U.S. are working toward a future where we rely less on police—and ensure community safety for all.

Communities across the country are calling for reduced spending on policing and reinvestment of those funds into social services and community programs such as housing, community counseling, healthcare, jobs, schools, and alternatives to 911.

In the United States, we spend over $100 billion per year on policing, while crucial social and human needs—like health care and housing—go unfunded. Lethally armed police respond to social and health issues such as mental illness, domestic violence, drug use, school discipline, fear of Black people, and unhoused people—and often that response from law enforcement is violent. Communities of color and poor communities are policed as if under occupation, facing militarized tactics and equipment paid for by the federal government and local budgets. As schools are militarized, more young people are pulled into the school-to-prison pipeline, instead of receiving the education and care all kids deserve.

How can we shift this paradigm and divest from policing that harms many communities—especially people of color—while investing in health care, schools, mental health, services, transformative and restorative justice, and other things our communities really need?  

How can we work toward a world where all people are safe because we have the resources we need to thrive and the tools we need to protect each other?

In this webinar series, we will try to answer these questions together in an interactive format with speakers from communities across the country. Please join us!

Watch videos of past webinars:

Policing and the War on Terror (October 14, 2021)

The post 9/11 war on terror framework further legitimized the targeting and criminalization of Muslim, immigrant and Black communities and produced techniques, agencies, and concepts of policing that are increasingly being used on all communities of color and protesters. We will look at militarized policing, the development of ICE, fusion centers, "pre-crime," the use of community leaders and social service organizations in surveillance, and what local communities are doing to push back.

Speakers: Dr. Maha Hilal (Justice for Muslims Collective - DC, and author of the forthcoming Innocent Until Proven Muslim), Fatema Ahmad (Executive Director of the Muslim Justice League - Boston), and Pedro Rios from AFSC's US/Mexico Border Program in San Diego. Moderated by Mary Zerkel from AFSC's Chicago Peacbuilding program.

Policing Behind the Walls

As we mark the 50th anniversary of the Attica Prison Uprising, we take a moment to reflect upon the ways that policing exists within prisons, the impact, and how conditions can be addressed. 

Policing Behind the Walls resource guide

Policing poverty (August 12, 2021)

How do policing and the criminal legal system reflect and uphold our inequitable economic system and punish poor people?  We’ll get an overview of the situation and hear from organizers on the ground about how they are resisting.

Policing Poverty Resource Guide

Policing and White Supremacy (June 8, 2021)

A look at the ways that white supremacy and policing have been intertwined since the days of slave patrols, the impact of this connection, and what can be done about it.  Confirmed speakers:  Aislinn Pulley (Co-Executive Director of Chicago Torture Justice Center and co-founder of Black Lives Matter Chicago), Dylan Rodriguez (author and Professor at University of California, Riverside), Yazan Zahzah (co-author of "Why Treating White Supremacy as Domestic Terrorism Won't Work and How Not to Fall For It," and staff at Vigilant Love).

Policing and White Supremacy Resource Guide

Stopping Police Militarization (June 2021)

Communities of color and poor communities are policed as if under occupation using militarized tactics and equipment underwritten by the federal government and local budgets.  View our community conversation to hear how local communities are addressing police militarization.

Stopping Police Militarization resource guide

Federal Policing Legislation (May 2021)

View our discussion about various federal legislation around policing, and ways that you can get involved.

Federal Policing Legislation resource guide

Webinar: Policing and Surveillance

Policing and Surveillance (April 2021)

Hear from local communities about the ways communities are criminalized and surveilled, the impact, and how community members have organized to push back. 

Policing and Surveillance resource guide.

Webinar: Creating Police Free Schools

Creating police-free schools: A community conversation (November 2020)

Policing in schools has increased exponentially, and Black and brown students are disproportionately targeted, criminalized, and negatively impacted.  Those conditions have led to robust campaigns across the country for police-free schools. Hear from youth organizers about campaigns in St. Louis (Ma’Kayla Machari), Chicago (J. Nava and Lil’ Tree), and Fremont, CA (Annie Koruga), as well as Dr. Kimberly King and Alycia Raya from Peralta Community Colleges in the Bay Area, as well as AFSC’s Fatimeh Kahn, Jonathan Pulphus, John Lindsay-Poland, and Sarah Nash.

Creating police-free schools: A resource guide

ToT for Building Community Safety without Policing

How to talk about safety beyond policing (December 2020)

While many of us know that we need to reduce our reliance on policing and invest in social programs that help communities thrive, we also understand that not everyone is on the same page. We want everyone in our communities to feel safe—and be treated with the dignity and respect that we all deserve. But how can we make that happen?  Learn how to effectively talk about the need to defund policing and invest in community needs with friends, neighbors, and community members—whether one on one or as a facilitated conversation.  AFSC’s Laura Boyce, Lucy Duncan, Sarah Nash, Lewis Webb, and Mary Zerkel share conversation prompts, facilitation tips, and AFSC research.

Building community safety without policing: A resource guide

Alternatives to 911

What to do instead of calling 911 (January 2021)

Lethally armed police respond to many calls to 911 that could be resolved with the use of unarmed community workers, and often with violent results.  Hear from organizers across the country about the uses and abuses of 911, and ways that communities can respond to events and emergencies without involving police.  Speakers include Gabe Henry from the Black Philly Radical Collective, Imani Henry from Equality for Flatbush (NY), and Vinnie Cervantes from DASHR (Denver).  Maria Moore also shares the tragic story of her sister, Kayla Moore, who was murdered by police when they responded to a 911 call to address a mental health breakdown. AFSC’s Laura Boyce and John Lindsay-Poland facilitate. 

Responding to emergencies without dialing 911: A resource guide

Restorative Justice: A community conversation about accountability and healing

Restorative Justice: A community conversation about accountability and healing (March 2021)

As we work toward a future in which we rely less on police and incarceration, many have lifted up the Indigenous healing model of restorative justice as one path forward. In this webinar, we will discuss what restorative justice looks like, how it has been implemented in various communities to address harms, and what role it can play in creating community safety for all. 

Restorative Justice: A resource guide

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