August 7th has been coined Night of Safety and Liberation (NOSL) by the Ella Baker Center to serve as a night of reimagining and redefining public safety outside the dominant narrative that is centered around law enforcement.  In LIVEFREE, we know how important this reimagining is for the transforming of our criminal justice system to end the daily sufferings of Black and Brown communities.

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There are an average of 11,600 gun murders a year in the U.S.—the equivalent of a Vietnam War every five years. Homicide is the leading cause of death for Black males (and the second leading cause for Latino males) between the ages of 15 and 34. The resources below outline some proven strategies that can dramatically reduce these numbers.

Don’t Shoot: One Man, A Street Fellowship, and the End of Violence in America (David Kennedy) is a book written by one of the architects of Operation Ceasefire and tells the story of how it dramatically decreased homicides in Boston and other cities.

National Network for Safe Communities. 2013. Group Violence Intervention: An Implementation Guide. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.  This is a comprehensive guide that provides detailed information about the Ceasefire strategy and how it can be implemented.

“How the Gun Control Debate Ignores Black Lives”  (Lois Becket, ProPublica, Nov 2015) This article profiles Rev. Michael McBride and others who have been struggling to get federal support for proven strategies that can dramatically reduce homicides in predominantly black and low-income communities.

The Interrupters is a full-length documentary that dramatically depicts the work of street outreach workers in Chicago who put their lives on the line to prevent homicides.

Statistics on Gun Violence:

Problem Management: The Federal Role in Reducing Urban Violence (Ted Heinrich) Gary, Indiana has just over 80,000 people, a high poverty rate and high unemployment.But violent crime truly sets Gary apart. In 2010, Gary suffered 54 murders - a murder rate of 67 per 100,000 people, the second highest rate in the country. It is an enduring problem. In 1995, for example, Gary’s murder rate was over 100. Should the federal government help solve the 2 violent crime problem in places like Gary? Does it matter that 85% of the people who live in Gary are black? What is the goal of federal intervention and how might it best be served?



The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world and holds more African Americans under correctional supervision than were enslaved in 1850. These resources provide insight into how and why this has occurred.

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (Michelle Alexander) is a must-read book for understanding the issue of mass incarceration and its effects on African Americans.

The House I Live In is a powerful documentary about the Drug War and mass incarceration in the U.S.

Policing the Police is a Frontline documentary about the Newark Police Department and the efforts to reign in abusive policing practices in the U.S.

Gideon’s Army is a documentary about the under-funded and under-resourced public defenders whose job it is to provide the poor with fair legal representation.

The Central Park Five is a documentary about the case of five Black and Latino teenagers in New York who were unjustly convicted of raping a white woman and who spent between 6 and 13 years in prison before their convictions were overturned.