Criminal Justice Reform
We are fighting for community-centered solutions to public safety and criminal justice reform. The issue of policing and criminal justice is multi-layered where the only clear and correct answer to the conundrum is “Black Lives Matter.” Our criminal justice committee includes individuals who are directly impacted by issues of community violence, police violence, and mass incarceration.
Our activists are defining what safety means for their communities by talking to their neighbors about how collective power and vision can transform Chicago.
We believe that communities are safer when we see everyone as our neighbors. This year our activists partnered with community icons Southsiders Organizing for Unity and LIberation (SOUL) for a “Night Out for Safety and Liberation” where we had small group and “open mic” conversations about what it really means to feel safe and free.
We have spent years knocking on doors in Black communities and asking residents what “safety and liberation” means to them. Our outreach has revealed a majority of community members recognize that gun violence and crime are legitimate concerns, but at the same time they do not want their children and grandchildren profiled and threatened by the police. There is no denying that there is a severe disconnect between policing and the community’s freedom to self-determine and thrive but we also must do what is best to keep our communities safe. One of those barriers is the police contract itself, as it provides obscenely loose language related to police misconduct, providing the officers with rights not normally bestowed on the average citizen. We are helping lead a coalition that is fighting for equity in police contracts, because we want to protect labor unions but not protect police-sanctioned murder.
Another barrier to equity in policing is the use of “police brutality bonds”. When cities are forced to pay multimillion dollar settlements in police brutality or police killing cases, it squeezes the same communities that are most likely to be victims of police violence in the first place. Police brutality settlements require cities to put up money to pay for the impacts of police violence, and the taxpayers foot this bill, not the police department budgets or the pockets of individual officers. Instead, these costs become the responsibility of taxpayers more broadly, who are forced to pay to maintain a system in which police officers can brutalize and kill communities of color with impunity. We refuse to continue footing the bill for police officers who are unaccountable to the public that they are supposed to “protect and serve”.
If you or someone you love has been impacted by police brutality, we want to hear from you! Sign Up here to share your story and get more information about how to fight back against all violence in your community
Chicago Public Schools has history of poor decision-making, corrupt proceedings, and general lack of accountability to the public. Over the past four years alone, millions have been cut from public, neighborhood school budgets, while the board has accelerated the expansions of charter schools that are performing on-par or worse than the so-called “failing” schools. Mayoral control fails Chicagoans on many levels, leaving already marginalized communities further destabilized. Chicago is the only city in Illinois without an elected school board, and we are fighting for a school board that reflects the majority of Chicagoans and not just mayoral appointees. The evidence is clear that the current management of Chicago Public Schools fails parents, teachers, tax payers and most importantly, students. If CPS was a publicly traded company, its shareholders who demand a return on the investment of the lives of their children, would have removed all of the members from power and brought in new people. The fight for an elected school board is a grassroots takeover of CPS by the parents, teachers and community members of Chicago, who are the stakeholders who have the highest investment and who have risked the most loss under the current school system.
ANI is committed to key economic justice issues affecting working families ability to support their families. This includes fights for living wages, progressive income tax, affordable housing, and access to quality health care. One of our keystone victories is the historic Chicago minimum wage fight.
ANI’s work in home foreclosure prevention has contributed to generating a success rate that is the highest among similar court foreclosure mediation programs in the country – approximately 1/3 of homeowners who entered the program saved their home and another 1/3 reached a mutually beneficial agreement with the lender. Our work on housing equity continues with the fights for rent stabilization and rehab of vacant properties.
Do you make less than $15/hr? Join the “Fight for $15” as we work to make sure all workers in IL can make a living wage. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and share your story of living life while making less than $15/hr.
Is your rent too damn high? Let’s work together to make Chicago an affordable city for everyone. Email email@example.com for more info.
Civic engagement begins way before election day and continues year round. Our members regularly engage with their elected officials to both collaborate with and chasten them towards the goal of stronger, safer, more stable communities. Since 2014, we have knocked on over 130,000 doors and held conversations with over 50,000 people. We also believe that being civically engaged means building community, so we regularly have monthly meetings to vision and build relationships with neighbors across community areas.
Racial, Social, and Economic Justice Committees (with subcommittees such as education, criminal justice, housing, etc.) help lead, mobilize, and identify campaigns for the organization.