FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 21, 2022
Kyla M. Clark
Detroit, MI – Today the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. (CBCF) and the National Racial Equity Initiative for Social Justice (NREI) announce their first-ever in-person community conversation on understanding the Detroit public safety historical landscape and answering the question of where do we go from here on Making Safety Public? This event will be held in Detroit, Michigan on Saturday, April 23, 2022, at the College for Creative Studies, 460 W. Baltimore Street. Registration for this community conversation is free and open to the public.
This Detroit-based event will kick off a planned series of equity-oriented community conversations throughout the United States. It will highlight the current work and activism in Detroit, Michigan, and inspire dialogue between legislators, policymakers, activists, and community members that will lead to concrete, actionable steps.
Invited speakers include Rep. Joyce Beatty, chair of The Congressional Black Caucus; Rep. Terri Sewell, chair of The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Board of Directors; Rep. Brenda Lawrence, Congressional Black Caucus member and previous Mayor of Southfield; Nicole Austin-Hillery, President and CEO, CBCF; Olajumoke Obayanju, Director of NREI at CBCF; Reginald Humphrey, Director of DEI Partnerships, General Motors; Camille Toney, Senior Counsel, Deputy Director for the Office of Ethics and Compliance, Dow; Alia Harvey-Quinn, Force Detroit; Angelique Peterson-Mayberry, Board Chair, Detroit Public Schools Community District; Ashley Carter, Michigan Justice Fund; Azaria Terrell, Detroit Phoenix Center, Dr. Tolulope Sonuyi, Detroit Life is Valuable Everyday; Erin Keith, Detroit Justice Center, Joel Fluent Green, Poet; Mike Rafferty, New Detroit, Inc.; Nicholas Buckingham, Michigan Liberation; Orlando P. Bailey, BridgeDetroit; and Tawana Petty, Poet.
“We are thrilled to launch this exciting new chapter of work throughout the United States. Our goal is to combat systemic injustice and advance racial equity, human rights, education, and economic development opportunities for the Black community. Through our community conversations in Detroit, we want to expose the injustices faced by Black communities and encourage informed engagement on the policies our communities need to advance,” said President and CEO, Nicole Austin-Hillery.
According to a 2021 study by the USA Today Network and the Suffolk University Political Research Center, 1 in 5 Detroit residents (19%) cite public safety as the biggest issue facing the city, second only to education, named by 23%. However, Black residents ranked crime at the top of their list of worries. Many community organizers assert that instead of making significant allocations to policing each year, the city should instead invest in alternatives like violent intervention programs and increase the number of restorative justice programs and mental health facilities.
Olajumoke Obayanju, Director of NREI said “Detroit has continued to grapple with devastating impacts of Black male homicides, especially among young people, coupled with historic socio-economic barriers such as poverty, joblessness, and access to quality healthcare. To achieve public safety in Detroit and nationally, there must be a deliberate unification of efforts from system actors, communities, and legislators. Public safety is more than policing, public safety requires an examination of a community’s criminal justice, education, health, and economic systems. We need all Detroit leaders at the College of Creative Studies on April 23rd to talk about how we can create actionable steps that will lead to tangible change for the Black community.”
Established in late 2020, NREI’s mission is to combat systemic injustice and advance racial equity, human rights, education, and economic development opportunities for the Black community. NREI’s framework also supports the CBCF’s organizational mission of developing leaders, informing policy, and educating the public. NREI houses social justice policy fellows, the Task Force of Social Justice Ambassadors, and awards social justice scholarships for HBCU students. This initiative also serves as a repository of research, data, and public policy related to social justice reform that will impact Black communities. On February 28, 2022, NREI also announced its inaugural Taskforce for Social Justice comprised of a cohort of seven Ambassadors working alongside CBCF to advance the critical mission of NREI and empower action-driven change.
U.S. Representative Brenda L. Lawrence said, “For far too long, an alarming lack of oversight on critical issues in the Black community has led to devastating impacts for families across Michigan. I am proud to work with my colleagues in the CBC and CBCF to eliminate decades of injustice. We don’t need another march. We don’t need another hashtag. We need action.”
Registration for NREI’s April 23, 2022, community conversation is free and open to the public. Registration is required and all attendees must be fully vaccinated with a booster shot and must complete the vaccination verification process in advance of the event. Masks will be required when not actively eating and drinking. The official hashtag for the Detroit conversation is #CBCFNREI.
About the CBCF
Established in 1976, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. (CBCF) is a non-partisan, nonprofit, public policy, research, and educational institute committed to advancing the global black community by developing leaders, informing policy, and educating the public. For more information, visit cbcfinc.org.
About the NREI
Established in late 2020, the National Racial Equity Initiative’s (NREI) mission is to combat systemic injustice and advance racial equity, human rights, education and community, and economic development opportunities for the Black community. Housed in CBCF’s Center for Policy Analysis and Research (CPAR), the NREI takes an evidence-based approach to inform sound policies targeted at reducing racial disparities caused by racism and discrimination. NREI also strives to provide solutions-driven and proactive policies and practices that produce equitable access, opportunities, treatment, and outcomes for African Americans. About NREI’s Task Force.