National awareness of police brutality and the need for policing reform is at an all-time high. Sustained attention to horrific moments has led to the birth of a movement, and a tipping point is in sight. Tides and its sister organization, The Advocacy Fund, work closely with funders and grassroots organizers to accelerate policing reform. Since 2010, we’ve been bringing people together to find innovative solutions for safer communities.
Through partnerships with several New York-based foundations, the Funds for Fair and Just Policing at Tides and The Advocacy Fund have granted over $8 million in support of policing reform work led by Communities United for Police Reform, a coalition consisting of 60 organization partners and 60 formal members.
Communities United for Police Reform works to substantially decrease bias-based encounters with the police, by increasing the ability of the most affected communities to hold the police accountable, preventing abusive policing, and building will among the public and policymakers to advance a more just and humane policing paradigm in New York City.
“This is a historic moment. We are at a tipping point.” – Joo-Hyun Kang, Executive Director, Communities United for Police Reform
In order to further the successes in New York City and seize the momentum of the growing national movement for police reform, Tides Foundation, in collaboration with Open Society Foundation, North Star, Atlantic Philanthropies, and The Advocacy Fund, hosted a briefing last month to contextualize the recent police reform victories in NYC and hear some of the lessons learned from Communities United for Police Reform’s multi-strategy, multi-sector campaign.
The organization’s many successes were highlighted, including passage of the Community Safety Act, a landmark legislative package that protects against discriminatory policing and increases police accountability. The legislation has led to a measurable decrease in stops, but racial disparity remains.
At last month’s panel, we heard about the unity and power that is building and about new connections created with unions, immigrants, women, LGBT communities, and other movements. Panelists spoke about the difficulty in pursuing those goals when funders often measure success in more concrete terms, such as the number of bills passed. As funders, we need to value community-building as much as legislative change.
In spite of our victories, NYC’s police systems, policies, practices, and culture must be transformed for greater accountability and transparency to the communities they serve. As one of the activists in the Communities United for Police Reform coalition aptly noted, while their work might not be popular, neither was the work of black-led organizations at the height of the Civil Rights movement.
Tides is committed to accelerating toward a world of shared prosperity and social justice, and that means taking risks and working directly with the communities we serve.
Originally published on the Tides blog.