Safe Streets and Communities

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These youth out here in the community are saying they won’t live past 25. That’s why I’m an advocate. That’s why I’m here.
Joan Pierson, SFOP Leader

Why this issue is important

Many of our families are impacted by crime and violence in the community. Our elders travel to Bible Study in the afternoon because they feel it too dangerous to travel at night; outside our places of worship our church and family members have been attacked, robbed, and sometimes worse. This violence is more prevalent in communities of color because the conditions that facilitate and maintain it are more prevalent.

Traditional law enforcement has failed & the state’s priorities are to invest more in the incarceration of our young people than in educating them.

    • African-Americans in San Francisco are the number one victims of crime and criminalization. 14 percent of African-Americans in San Francisco are arrested for felonies, the highest percentage in the State of California. (Mayor’s African American Outmigration Report, 2009)
    • Adolescent homicide rate for African Americans is the highest of any racial group in San Francisco (Mayor’s African American Outmigration Report, 2009)
    • San Francisco has one of the highest rates of felony and violent offense arrests in California (Governor’s Office of Gang & Youth Violence Policy: Juvenile arrests in California 1999 – 2009, Statewide & Local rates & trends)

Background

The “Avenues of Hope” campaign includes proposals for juvenile justice reform, a “small schools by design” education initiative, and the creation of pathways to jobs in the new economy. SFOP launched this citywide campaign in 2005 to address the renewed violence by increasing resources and accountability for job training and placement for youth aged 14-30. Since then, SFOP has won: $2 million in new funding for workforce development programs; 300 additional jobs for youth coming out of Juvenile Hall; an audit of workforce development funding that exposed a dysfunctional and wasteful system; and legislation to streamline the City’s different workforce development programs into a more aligned and effective system.

City and State Officials also agreed to the following proposals:

      • Find funding for juvenile justice reform for the County of San Francisco, so that youth have access to job training and educational programs
      • Sponsoring an employment summit with key SF businesses to create summer jobs for youth in 2006
      • Implementing CityBuild and replicate it with new industries including digital media, biotech, and clean technology
      • Creating an annual public report card that documents progress of local hiring and keeps our communities informed
      • Community involvement in Superintendent selection process
      • Take “small schools by design off closure list, including Aim High Academy, June Jordan School for Equity, Sanchez Elementary
      • Create a policy that supports the development of “small schools by design” and gives them autonomy to be successful
      • Pass legislation to provide health coverage for all California children
      • Stop cuts to Medicaid that would leave up to 1.5 million children without health insurance

Writing a new story

SFOP leaders in the Bayview are now organizing violence reduction, prevention, & intervention strategies being implemented by other PICO affiliates. We are part of the state and national Lifelines to Healing campaign. The goals of the campaign are to:

      • Reduce serious and violent street crimes through collaboration with Safe Community Partnership
      • Reduce recidivism among young men who are at the highest risk of violence
      • Achieve criminal justice reform that promotes successful re00entry through local and statewide policy remedies by removing barriers to success
      • Build the capacity of communities to connect these young men to improved employment opportunities
      • Civic engagement & voter registration of people of color & the formerly incarcerated
      • Create framework for therapeutic-related intervention for trauma caused by violence

Through our collective work we want to change the relationship between the police department and communities of color in San Francisco.