Advancement Project Calls on America to Move Beyond Police and Prisons: “We Can’t Reform This System” - Advancement Project - Advancement Project

Advancement Project Calls on America to Move Beyond Police and Prisons: “We Can’t Reform This System”

Alex Jordan
[email protected]

“We Can’t Reform This System”—Advancement Project Calls on America to Move Beyond Police and Prisons

A year after George Floyd’s murder, Advancement Project National Office reflects on how to build a #FreeandSafe society for all people of color

WASHINGTON, DC –Tomorrow will mark one year since George Floyd was murdered by Derek Chauvin—a brutal act that highlighted the violence inherent to policing and spurred the largest uprising for racial justice since the Civil Rights era. Advancement Project National Office, a national civil rights and racial justice organization, is dedicating this week to reflecting on George Floyd’s memory and discussing how to build a future where all people are #FreeAndSafe.

“George Floyd deserved life; he deserved to live on as more than a memory to his family and his community. He deserved life—its freedoms and its triumphs,” said Judith Browne Dianis, Executive Director of Advancement Project. “Instead, George Floyd was murdered by a police officer. His death was shocking, and it was also utterly routine. Over the last year, we have added dozens of names to the grim list written on our hearts— David McAtee, Ma’Khia Bryant, Adam Toledo, Rayshard Brooks—all the while, police have targeted, incarcerated, and immiserated countless Black, Brown, and poor people whose names and stories we will never learn. People of color will never be free and safe in America until we move beyond prisons and police.”

Over the last year, Advancement Project has worked with grassroots partners across the country to help win freedom and safety for Black, Brown and poor people being targeted by the criminal legal system: bringing lawsuits against jails in Miami, St. Louis, Detroit, and Baton Rouge over their dangerous, inhumane conditions; winning COVID-19 protections for people who are incarcerated in Oakland County jail, taking on the discriminatory and unconstitutional cash bail system, supporting efforts to Close the Workhouse in St. Louis, and shifting perceptions and understandings of policing and incarceration through the Mapping Injustice and #FreeBlackWomxn campaigns. Advancement Project also helped ensure that power in the streets translated to power at the polls—working in states across the country to preserve access to the ballot during a global pandemic and fighting back against a wave of voter suppression aimed at communities of color.

“When people across America and the world went into the streets to demand racial justice last summer, they were not just crying out for George Floyd—they raised their voices for the generations of Black, Brown, Indigenous, and poor people whose lives and communities have been destroyed by policing,” said Thomas Harvey, Program Director of Advancement Project’s Justice Project. “The oppression of Black, Brown and poor people in this country will not end so long as the institutions built to maintain America’s foundational white supremacy stand.  We can’t reform policing; the only choice is to defund the police on the way to abolishing them and building a world that is free and safe without them.”

This week, Advancement Project will use its social media platforms and website to reflect on the last year of work to build a #FreeAndSafe society for people of color and the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.


The Best Mother’s Day Gift is Freedom

By Ashley Carter, Justice Project Program Deputy Director and Senior Staff Attorney Photo credit: Cyndi Elledge // Photos are a part of the #FreeBlackWomxn series. Visit Thousands of women with children across the United States will spend this Mother’s Day behind bars. The crisis of mass incarceration has fueled a family separation endemic: more than 150,000 children have a parent who is in jail simply because they are too poor to afford their court-imposed cash bail. This year we are working to support the 2021 Black Mama’s Day Bailout organized and led by our community partners…

Read More
Black Mama Bailout: #FreeBlackWomxn

Michigan Liberation and the Advancement Project National Office have launched the #FreeBlackWomxn campaign, a photo and storytelling project that elevates the voices of Black Michigan mothers who have experienced incarceration. We are honored that Kimberly, Machelle, Geneva, Darnita, Dominica, Irene, and Tamika shared their stories with us. Click each woman’s photo below to read their experience with incarceration.

Read More
Photo of the back of a police officer
More Cop Convictions Won’t Stop Racist Police Violence

By Thomas B. Harvey, Justice Project Program Director Last week, as people across America waited for a verdict in Derek Chauvin’s trial, police in Ohio murdered a 16-year-old girl, Ma’Khia Bryant. As Chauvin was found guilty on three counts for murdering George Floyd in Minneapolis, Ma’Khia Bryant lay dead in the street in Columbus. Credit: Fred Moon While we should hope that Chauvin’s conviction brings some peace and healing to George Floyd’s family, friends, and the broader Minneapolis community, Ma’Khia’s murder reinforced a disturbing reality: individual convictions are irrelevant to the movement to end police violence. Cops will continue to…

Read More
Civil Rights and Racial Justice Organizations Applaud Chauvin Verdict: Accountability in the Courtroom One Step in Journey to Justice

This verdict, while unexpected in light of far too many past cases like this, does not bring George Floyd back.

Read More
Advancement Project Welcomes Chauvin Verdict, Implores America to Move Beyond Policing

Today, in response to the conviction of Derek Chauvin for second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter...

Read More
Advancement Project Statement on Murder of Adam Toledo

Today, we join Chicago in grief and outrage at the murder of Adam Toledo, a 13-year-old Latino boy whose life was cruelly taken by Chicago Police. We express our deepest sympathy to Adam’s friends and family; we stand in solidarity with organizers, activists, and the broader Chicago community as they take to the street to express their despair and demand justice.

Read More
Mapping Injustice: Navigating the Criminal Legal System 101

Grassroots organizers are leading the fight to dismantle the incarceration state. In its current form, the criminal legal system criminalizes and incarcerates people of color in the name of “law and order.” In 2021, Advancement Project National Office, along with Michigan Liberation, Close the Workhouse, Neighborhood Defender Service Detroit, Detroit Justice Center, and East Baton Rouge Parish Prison Reform Coalition (EBRPPRC), partnered to present a forum series on the various phases of a criminal case: Policing, Arrest, and Pretrial Trial, Sentencing, and Plea Negotiations Incarceration and Re-Entry During each session, organizers and lawyers mapped the…

Read More
Advancement Project Statement on Daunte Wright’s Murder, Police Claims of Accidental Discharge

“We are heartbroken and outraged at the murder of Daunte Wright. We stand in solidarity with Daunte’s family and the Black and Brown Minnesotans who are sharing their grief, outrage, and disgust after police have taken the life of another Black man in their state.

Read More
Civil Rights, Racial Justice Organizations Applaud Biden’s Executive Order Aimed at Facilitating Voter Registration, Urges Robust Implementation and Tracking

Media Contact: Elana Needle Email: [email protected] The Racial Equity Anchor Collaborative—the foremost diverse coalition of national racial justice and civil rights organizations representing and serving more than 53 million people in the United States—applauds President Joseph R. Biden’s recent executive action to make it easier for Americans to register to vote. Signed on the 56th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, the new Biden executive order requiring federal agencies to submit plans to help facilitate voter registration invokes the legacy of the 600 activists, including the late Congressman John Lewis, who were attacked by law enforcement as they attempted to…

Read More