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Join Third Place Books on Friday, March 13 as we welcome Zach Norris, author of We Keep Us Safe: Building Secure, Just, and Inclusive Communities. He will be joined in conversation with Carmen Rojas, the President and CEO of the Marguerite Casey Foundation.
We Keep Us Safe is a new vision of a care-based strategy for public safety that overturns more than 200 years of fear-based discrimination, othering, and punishment.
Despite the United States’ long-standing tradition of aggressive policing and imprisonment, we still don’t feel safe. It’s clear that our current approaches to justice aren’t working. They blame our problems on a subset of scapegoats and marginalized Others we’ve been indoctrinated to perceive as criminals, decreasing our societal capacity to hold powerful institutions and individuals accountable. Community leader and lawyer Zach Norris lays out a radical way to shift the conversation about public safety away from fear and punishment toward growth and support systems for our families and communities. In order to truly be safe, we are going to have to dismantle our mentality of Us vs. Them. By bridging the divides and building relationships with each other, we can dedicate ourselves to strategic, smart investments—meaning resources directed towards our stability and well-being, like healthcare and housing, education and living-wage jobs. This is where real safety begins.
We Keep Us Safe is a blueprint of how to hold people accountable while still holding them in community. The result reinstates full humanity and agency for everyone who has been dehumanized and traumatized so they can participate fully in life, in society, and in the fabric of our democracy.
Zach Norris is the executive director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, which creates campaigns related to civic engagement, violence prevention, juvenile justice, and police brutality, with a goal of shifting economic resources away from prisons and punishment and towards economic opportunity. He is also the cofounder of Restore Oakland and Justice for Families, both of which focus on the power of community action. He graduated from Harvard and took his law degree from New York University. Connect with him at zachnorris.com and on Twitter (@ZachWNorris).