CSPA Goes to Washington
From appliedrc@igc.apc.org Thu Feb 23 17:57:38 1995
Date: Wed, 22 Feb 1995 17:33:43 -0800
From: Applied Research Center 
To: newman@garnet.berkeley.edu
Subject: Rapsheet 4

CSPA Goes to Washington

Several grassroots organizations participated in a series of
events to kick off a national campaign for Community Safety and
Police Accountability (CSPA) in Washington, DC. Beginning June 4
and culminating June 6, these groups -- People United for a Better
Oakland (PUEBLO) of Oakland, CA; Sacramento Communities Taking
Action for Neighborhood Dignity (STAND) of Sacramento, CA; Action
for a Better Community (ABC) of Denver, CO; Direct Action for
Rights and Equality (DARE) of Providence, RI; and Tri-County
United Action of Orangeburg, SC -- convened to announce their
RHomerun Strategy,S a response to the recently passed federal
Crime Bill and its notorious RThree Strikes and YouUre OutS
provision.

The Homerun Strategy (see page 5) was the result of over 2,000
hours of research, house meetings, leadership gatherings, and
Issue Study Groups, at which community residents discussed issues
such as community policing, community oversight of the police, use
of force, and alternatives to incarceration. These discussions
produced the policies proposals outlined in the Homerun Strategy.

Why go to Washington?

The objectives of the Community Safety and Police Accountability
campaignUs Washington, DC trip were to:

* Develop new skills for local leaders working on the campaign;

* Broaden the range of campaign allies and supporters;

* Bring press attention to the campaign by giving community
members a voice in the national crime debate; and,

* Secure commitments from Congressional representatives and the
Department of Justice (DOJ) to support the campaignUs legislative
proposals.

The campaign was successful in meeting all of the stated
objectives.  Getting Prepared

Over 50 community leaders met on Saturday and Sunday to learn how
to work with the media, how the legislative process works, and to
refine campaign policy proposals. Participants rehearsed skits for
street theatre and made signs for the Department of Justice
action. Robbie Smith of STAND in Sacramento, CA said, RIt was the
first time that leaders from all five groups worked on planning
and executing an action. It was exciting.S

Announcing the Campaign

Dressed in baseball caps and carrying RHomerun StrategyS bats,
CSPA members officially announced their proposals for community
safety at the National Press Club.

Leading off, Shannon Smith, from Denver, Colorado voiced her
concerns about her neighborhood. She argued that an increase in
the number of police and prisons was not the way to protect her
young child, but that a real solution to community safety depends
on preventive measures such as education, job training and
placement, and substance abuse treatment.

Next up, Ron Hampton, Executive Director of the National Black
Police Association, which represents over 35,000 African American
police of^cers nationwide, gave his support to the campaign. He
noted that the current mode of policing must be evaluated and
reformed with the guidance of community residents.

Flora Berky, also of Denver, Maria Leal of Oakland, CA, Shaquirah
Abdullah of Providence, Robbie Smith, of Sacramento; and Ted
Robinson of Orangeburg, SC, spoke from their experiences about the
need for police accountability and real solutions to crime.
Describing her experience with that cityUs community policing
program, Maria Leal of Oakland noted that while she had
participated actively in the program for several years, she had
yet to meet the community police of^cer for her own neighborhood.
The press conference was covered by representatives from most of
the major networks and wire services.

Meeting the Representatives

Campaign delegates met with their Congressional representatives,
to ask them to support community participation as a requirement
for funding of community policing programs. Although members of
STAND in Sacramento and TCUA in South Carolina had relatively
unproductive meetings with their representatives, ABC, DARE, and
PUEBLO were able to get a variety of concessions. Rep. Patricia
Schroeder (D-Colorado) agreed to lobby members of the
Congressional Conference Committee in support of the proposal, and
to appear at an ABC-sponsored community forum in Denver. DARE met
with an aide from the of^ce of Rep. Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island).
ReedUs of^ce agreed to lobby the Conference Committee for
community participation language and to attend a meeting in
Providence.  Likewise, an aide to Rep. Ron Dellums (Oakland, CA)
said that Dellums will support the legislation if the DOJ
recommends it.

Allies Show Support

Several campaign allies hosted a reception for campaign
participants, the evening of June 6. Groups represented at the
event included: the National Council of La Raza, the United States
Student Association, the National Coalition to Abolish the Death
Penalty, the ACLU, the National Conference of Black Lawyers and
others.

DOJ Day

To encourage the support of the Department of Justice for the
campaignUs proposals, a delegation of ^fteen campaign members met
with Assistant Attorney General Lori Robinson.

Robinson agreed to recommend the campaignUs proposals to Attorney
General Janet Reno. Robinson also agreed to attend or have a
representative attend local hearings held by organizations
participating in the campaign.

Summary

The DC trip allowed the campaign to train and develop local
leaders, strengthen its relationship with allies, gain press
coverage, and win concrete agreements from both Congressional
representatives and the Department of Justice. However the DC trip
was just the first inning. In the words of Francis Calpotura,
coordinator of CSPA, Rthe DC actions put the campaign rubber to
the road. We were able to lay out some demands and get some
responses. Since weUve been back, nine organizations have called
the office asking to join the CSPA campaign. This summer weUre
looking forward to three things. First, our groups will target
local police budgets to fund prevention programs. Second, we will
develop working relationships with allies in cities where the
campaign is already active. Third, weUll work on building the
campaign in a number of new cities.S

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From Issue #4 of RapSheet, July 1994 Trends in Police Work, Law
Enforcement Reform, & Community Control

Prepared by the Applied Research Center for the Campaign for
Community Safety & Police Accountability
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