Californians for Safety and Justice Campaign Counters Recent Rise in Tough-on-Crime Rhetoric That Threatens to Return California to Failed Approaches of the Past
OAKLAND, Calif. – Californians for Safety and Justice, the state’s leading public safety advocacy organization, announced on Monday the launch of a bold new public education campaign making clear that the keys to real and durable safety in our communities are crime prevention and holistic community wellness.
The “Just Safe” campaign launches on the heels of the global, COVID-19 pandemic that spurred shifts in some types of crime, particularly gun violence, and gave rise to efforts by some to baselessly malign recent justice reform policies that have effectively and safely reduced incarceration in California while saving the state hundreds of millions of dollars.
“California is at an inflection point,” said Tinisch Hollins, executive director of Californians for Safety and Justice and a survivor of crime who has lost three brothers to gun violence. “The state remains a national leader in advancing effective safety solutions that actually address the root causes of crime, but recent years have seen a re-emergence of tough-on-crime rhetoric that threatens to return us to the failed approaches of the past that left our communities over-incarcerated, underserved and less safe. This campaign will make clear that our collective safety depends on our continuing to move forward, not backward.”
The “Just Safe,” campaign will feature leading celebrities, including actor and the Mother of Black Hollywood Jenifer Lewis, as well as everyday Californians from across the state drawing upon their own life experiences to highlight the approaches and investments California must commit to in order to successfully prevent crime and harm from occurring in the first place.
“From the local news to the state legislature, misinformation about crime has flourished in recent years, while the real needs of the people have continued to go unmet,” said Hollins. “That is not the recipe for ensuring safety in our communities and that’s why this campaign will boldly proclaim what both research and our own lived experiences reveal to be true: over-reliance on enforcement and incarceration only exacerbates the conditions that lead to violence and does nothing to actually prevent crime in the first place.”
The centerpiece of the campaign is a 60-second commercial narrated by Lewis, in which she urges viewers to close their eyes and imagine a time when they felt safe. The commercial then highlights several Californians who have been impacted by crime and violence describing the things they believe create safety for their families and communities, underscoring one of the campaign’s main themes: that safety is more than the absence of crime, it is the presence of well-being.
In addition to the commercial, the campaign will feature digital and in-person mobilizations and calls to action, multichannel communications member training and leadership development, targeted education campaigns for elected officials and other policymakers and more.
“At the end of the day, we all just want to be safe,” said Hollins. “The Just Safe campaign will work to educate our communities about the things that actually make us safe. There are far too many of us who are living in crisis, with no access to the treatment, support or healing they need. But we know that when everyone is supported, everyone is safe.”