Keep Me Informed

PolicyLink Guide Offers Innovative Strategies for Police Reform Advocates.

For Immediate Release
April 8, 2004


Rosia Blackwell Lawrence
212-629-9570 ext. 204

PolicyLink Guide Offers Innovative Strategies for Police Reform Advocates

New York , NY - For many communities of color, incidents of racial profiling, excessive use of force, and questionable stop-and-frisk practices are the norm rather than the exception and significantly contribute to the erosion of confidence in police departments. Activists have long sought solutions to help bridge the deep divide with police and to move toward engagement. PolicyLink offers some recommended solutions in its latest publication, Organized for Change: The Activist's Guide to Police Reform.

"In the midst of the challenges facing communities of color and the tensions they experience almost daily with police, activists committed to change are showing us examples of promise and hope," comments PolicyLink president Angela Glover Blackwell. "In our research, PolicyLink has seen models of promising engagements at work and has incorporated them as the basis for the tools and strategies highlighted in this manual," Glover Blackwell continues.

Funded by a grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation , Organized for Change describes a range of advocacy strategies-both traditional and nontraditional; among them: organizing, developing the media, petitioning administrative agencies, and backing legislation; all strategies that can be leveraged to achieve police reform.

Organized for Change is divided into five principal areas:

  • "Seizing the Moment: Urgent, Unified Community Response," which provides tips for developing an immediate response, while laying the foundation for broader advocacy action.
  • "Getting Specific: Know Your Police Department," which guides activists in the right direction and identifies which steps and in what priority they must move to launch an advocacy agenda leading to police reform.
  • "Getting People Together and Making Your Case," which offers a comprehensive review of four advocacy strategies-organizing and coalition building, conducting research, working with the media, and harnessing the power of the Internet.
  • "Getting What You Want and Changing the Rules," which reviews the traditional avenues advocates can pursue in their agendas for change: the courts, the legislature, the ballot, and administrative agencies.
  • "Getting Started: Tips to Consider in Moving an Agenda," which describes a host of issues that must be weighed before launching an advocacy agenda.

"The tensions that exist between the police and communities of color are not new, and there are no quick fixes," observes Maya Harris West, principal author of Organized for Change . "Despite all the challenges, however, advocates in many places have seized upon these opportunities as the ignition spark to move an advocacy agenda and achieve hard-fought success in improving police and police practices in their communities".

Organized for Change: The Activist's Guide to Police Reform is available on line at

PolicyLink is a national nonprofit research, communications, capacity building, and advocacy organization-with offices in Oakland , California and New York , New York -is dedicated to advancing policies to achieve economic and social equity based on the wisdom, voice, and experience of local constituencies. Lifting Up What Works®

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