We define Community Safety as action and event security, office and organizational safety, verbal de-escalation, physical de-escalation, personal safety, transformative justice processes, community safety neighborhood strategies, bystander intervention, and cop watch.
Through the We Keep Us Safe Initiative, we are building the capacity and confidence of our communities to address conflicts and instances of harm without involving the state. We believe in the capacity of people to meet their neighbors in conflict and crisis with respect, and that, given tools and training, we can dramatically reduce our need and desire to rely on police, thereby reducing harm, risk of arrest, institutionalization, and violence for community members; particularly at risk community members.
Abolitionist approaches to addressing interpersonal harm within movement organizations
Safety protocols for police and federal law enforcement surveillance of movement groups and leaders, and
Security plans for events, demonstrations, and gatherings.
Expand the capacity for community defense and safety that removes the need for police.
Develop a set of skills and resources accessible to community members most impacted by violence who would like to engage in community defense and security without the involvement of police.
Test a de-escalation framework that focuses on healing intergenerational trauma within communities most impacted by violence.
The work of defunding police and even discussions of abolition have catapulted to the forefront of racial justice politics in ways some of our organizations could only hope for in 2019. That said, our work remains controversial and often dangerous in Phoenix. With increased visibility and success, we have seen the local police union collude with the Phoenix Police Department and other city officials to undermine, illegally target, and in some cases, outright threaten our organizations and our leadership. Safety and security continues to be at the forefront of our movement organizing here in Phoenix.
For two years, we have built a network, developed training and resources, as well as shared principles and protocols for how we approach community safety without involving the state. Our initial work focused on establishing the highly skilled teams and systems to provide de-escalation and defense for direct actions and targeted organizers. This year we hope to expand our work to include direct education and training of people throughout our communities on how to de-escalate and defend themselves and others in everyday situations with the purpose of reducing the reliance of the policing system currently in place.
Who and How can people engage with you?:
This is one of our multiracial programs. We are looking for security-minded people who want to use their skills to serve the community and support the building of a security network that reduces reliance on police and its counterparts.
The safety and security of the organization and the community is a high priority, and therefore the process of getting involved in this work is slightly different than our other programs. However, if you are interested, please reach out to our security lead at (email below)