We didn't get here overnight, we won't get out of here overnight.  

Here's where we'll start:

1. ADOPTING THE POLICE BODY CAM LAW IN HOUSTON

After the killing of Mike Brown, 18, an unarmed young Black man in August of 2014 by Darren Wilson a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, his mother and father are advocating for passage of a nationwide law they call the "Mike Brown Law" which would sign into law, and set aside funds to require all state,county, and local police, to wear a camera.  The day after hundreds of Houstonians took to the streets of Third Ward in solidarity with the citizens of Ferguson, Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland announced his support of the measure.  (Click here for the story.) With Houston facing a gap in excess of $142 million for the 2016 fiscal year (Click here for the Houston Chronicle article) we know this implementation will be an uphill battle.  

How we'll do it:

Join us as we work towards passage of a resolution that includes commitment from the Mayor and city council to allocate funds for the the Mike Brown Law in the 2016 fiscal year and beyond.  We'll gather support amongst ourselves, allies and other community leaders before we take this to city hall for passage.  (CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE PETITION)

 

2. REFORMING HPD's CITIZEN REVIEW BOARD

The City of Houston's Independent Police Oversight Board (IPOB) is a 29 member board appointed by the mayor.  (Click here for a description of Houston's IPOB).  We feel the IPOB should have the opportunity review ALL complaints to internal affairs from the general public.  Simply put: we can build a stronger relationship between law enforcement and the community with a more transparent process.

How we'll do it:

Join us as we shape our vision of the IPOB, find supportive elected allies in the community, research successful versions of citizen's review boards across the nation and create the proposed policy we want to see passed at city hall and plant the seeds of change here in Houston.

 

3. Increase diversity on grand juries

The grand jury that decided not to indict Darren Wilson only had 3 people of color out of the 12 people on the grand jury.  In order to have a fair justice system, we must have diversity.  As a grand juror, your vote decides whether or not to take someone to trial for the potential crime they're accused of based on the evidence laid before you.  Our goal is the balance the scales of justice.

How we'll do it:

By hosting grand jury workshops, we'll provide the necessary application, postage and notary services at events throughout the county.  

4. ELECTED OFFICIAL ACCOUNTABILITY PROJECT

While hundreds of Houstonians joined together in solidarity the evening after it was announced Darren Wilson, Mike Brown's murderer, was not going to even face a trial, many elected leaders were absent at the rally and silent on the issue.  Looking back at attacks on our community like Houston ISD's attempt to close five schools, many were silent.  As Dr. Martin Luther King said in the past:  "In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."  We not only need vocal leaders to denounce injustice at rallies and protests, we need elected leaders who stand up for us, use the power of their office to strengthen their communities and serve the people who elected them. 

How we'll do it:

A committee from our community will research our current elected leaders' legislative agenda for the past two years, measure their accessibility, and rate them accordingly.  We will find manpower and organize with those working for us and work against those who are holding up progress.  The committee meets monthly at Kaffeine Coffe where notes are given on previous city council/state legislature meetings of interest to the Houston Justice Coalition.  By keeping track of movement in the halls of government, we benefit by having the ability to share that information with our community and track the progress of our projects.