One year later – in response to the Police Department’s request for $13 million to hire more officers – AJC launched the Better Before More campaign. Under Chas’ leadership, they organized “the hell out of every part of town” – and convinced the city’s residents to defeat the police contract and reinvest additional dollars into the community. Chas will build on the success of the Better Before More campaign during his time as an NCF Fellow.
Over the next 18 months, Chas and the Austin Justice Coalition will provide technical assistance to several cities across the United States in developing and implementing plans for renegotiating police union contracts and reinvesting city dollars in communities.
He will also develop a toolkit for organizers working on police reform to leverage the police union contract process and provide training to community members on city budgeting processes. This work helps moves us towards a future in which cities no longer over-invest in policing and under-invest in communities and instead envisions a world in which social services receive the necessary resources to build strong, healthy and safe communities.”
I wholeheartedly believe that until we address the policies and practices that are intact within our local police departments, we can’t fully expect to adequately and effectively bring about the necessary changes for our criminal justice as a whole…unless we continue to elevate the voices of those individuals who are directly affected by these systems and institutions, we are going to continue to have people with no lived experiences with or within these institutions trying to come up with solutions to problems that they haven’t encountered.