Safe Streets is a non-profit organization located in New Orleans that advocates for a novel criminal justice system that promotes the development of secure streets and robust communities for individuals – irrespective of their economic background or racial identity. This article will provide a historical overview of the organization and its website, safestreetsnola.org, which is the primary source of information about the group’s mission, goals, and activities.
The public safety system in New Orleans has been in crisis for years, with high crime rates, abuse, and corruption within the New Orleans Police Department, Orleans Parish Prison Complex, and court system. These broken systems have caused national scandals, limited economic growth and opportunity, and devastated families and communities. Hurricane Katrina created a unique opportunity for meaningful change, and Safe Streets was formed to lead the way.
Safe Streets envisions a system that keeps people safe from all forms of violence and crime, including street violence, domestic violence, prison pipeline, and law enforcement violence. Besides these, these community organizations also address issues like the prison industrial complex, education, healthcare, and affordable housing. The organization also aims to make the system fair, democratic, transparent, and responsible. Additionally, Safe Streets endorses community-led solutions to address criminal activities, which are rooted in evidence-based approaches.
Since its inception, Safe Streets has made significant progress in generating community support, building a strong reform coalition, re-framing the media debate, and effecting policy change. Some of the organization’s accomplishments include:
- Botched Evacuation of Orleans Prison – Exposing the botched evacuation of Orleans Parish Prison (OPP) by sharing members’ stories with the public, resulting in a commitment from Orleans Sheriff Marlin Gusman to release Louisiana’s incarcerated children.
- Office of the Independent Monitor – Securing a city council resolution and funding to launch an Office of the Independent Monitor, an independent agency that will oversee police policies and practices and will report quarterly to the general public.
- The Orleans Parish Indigent Defender Board – Leading the call to replace the Orleans Parish Indigent Defender Board, long wrought with political patronage, and successfully winning the appointment of a new board comprised of strong advocates who will ensure that the constitutional rights of poor defendants are protected.
- Coalition Building – Building a strong coalition of likely and unlikely allies to work towards reform.
- Advocacy Training – Facilitating four peer advocacy trainings and providing direct advocacy support to family members facing the inhumane and unconstitutional treatment of their incarcerated loved ones.
- Membership Base – Building a strong membership base through direct contact with over 900 individuals from impacted communities.
Transforming the System
Safe Streets aims to transform the public safety system in New Orleans through the execution of grassroots organizing, community empowerment, leadership development, mental health, peer advocacy, coalition building, direct actions, and policy advocacy. The organization diligently carries out door-to-door surveys with respect to law enforcement issues; which enables them to scrutinize and identify matters that various communities recognize as concerns and entices them to partake in the movement.
They provide a plethora of monthly trainings aimed at fostering leadership skills. These trainings focus on a wide range of topics; such as advocacy sessions tailored for families of inmates, knowledge-based seminars to inform young individuals of their legal rights, and organizing and outreach programs designed to hone members’ analytical and organizational skills.
Safe Streets leverages its own coalition, along with its position in other coalitions, to disseminate valuable information concerning effective practices, coordinate media efforts, spearhead a Juvenile justice project, devise optimal policy, and direct action strategies. Through this multifaceted approach – Safe Streets effectively garners resources, builds allies, and furthers its mission to promote safety and justice in Safe Streets strong communities.
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Cite this article
Samortin, Jenilyn. "safestreetsnola.org History." Visas For Future, https://www.visasforfuture.com/safestreetsnola-org-history/. Accessed on 27 June 2023.
Samortin, Jenilyn. "safestreetsnola.org History." Visas For Future. June 27, 2023. https://www.visasforfuture.com/safestreetsnola-org-history/.