Communicate Justice Leadership Institute

Outcomes and Next Steps ----------------------->

The Center for Media Justice

1611 Telegraph Avenue Suite 510 Oakland, CA 94612

Center for Media Justice

This year’s Communicate Justice Leadership Institute (CJLI) - CMJ’s unique issue based residential communications strategy retreat - convened over 25 advocates and organizers working on race and criminal justice issues to strengthen skills and to increase media collaboration and strategic effectiveness across the sector. Staff and member groups from the Community Justice Network for Youth (CJNY), the Haywood Burns Institute (BI), the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR), Detention Watch Network (DWN), Critical Resistance (CR) and more joined Center for Media Justice to tackle some of the big communications challenges facing their important and visionary work. By mapping the power and communications landscape and building hard hitting skills, participants from across the country facing similar challenges came together to develop organizational and network communications plans and a collaborative communications strategy to begin to reframe race and the so-called criminal justice system.

Collaborative Communications

“Truth is essential, but it is, of itself, insufficient. Because disorganized truth can be overcome by an organized lie.”
Collaborative communications is most effective when it operates from and builds on previously established networks, alliances and coalitions. The need for a collaborative approach to social justice and change communications work to hold an out of control criminal justice system accountable has never been more critical. Conditions of confinement, policing and criminalization, unequal sentencing and an unjust court system continue to harm and target working class, poor and communities of color. Faced with classic race frames, a culture of fear and sensational and biased media coverage, groups working to expose racial disparities and change the system require a coordinated effort to reframe the public conversation on race and crime. At this year’s CJLI, participants were broken up into three main issue groups throughout the strategy session. They were: Sentencing and Courts, Conditions of Confinement and Policing and Criminalization. This allowed for some rich planning within and between these groups about how to build a collaborative communications framework that helps elevate a racial justice frame for our work. Specifically, participants identified the common thread moving across these three issue groups: the question of citizenship. As we moved through three days of strategizing, participants became more focused on building some shared ideas about how to work together to change the conversation about citizenship and justice; And, most importantly, how to provide for an alternative frame for packaging our issues-- one that is rooted in our shared values.

Communicate Justice Leadership Institute 2009


Center for Media Justice

Dominant Coverage of Race and Criminal Justice Debate
-More people of color in jail because they are committing more crimes -Sensationalizing and demonizing crimes committed by people of color but devaluing black victims of crime -People in jail deserved to be locked up -Impossible to change -Brown and black people are supposed to be locked up; it’s normal -The system is what it is; there aren’t any human decision makers. There is no bias. -Culture of FEAR! -Laws named after victims -Desire for vengeance, retribution

-Truth and facts are hidden -Hard to fight emotion with facts -Shifting from extremes

Communications Challenges and Barriers
Participants identified some challenges in setting up collaborative communications frameworks. • There are some contradictions in strategy: e.g. some groups want more flexibility for judges to get rid of mandatory sentencing while others want clearer guidelines to get rid of unequal sentencing. • Issues around detention, confinement, and policing often crisscross state agencies, county agencies, and independent agencies. It’s a fragmented system with different agencies and systems of confinement. • Constant challenge of a juvenile justice system versus an adult justice system. How do we not pit young people against adults? • New conversations need to be had between Latino and Black communities. • Frames deployed in immigrant rights movements have aided the criminalization of certain immigrant/non-immigrant communities. How to build alliances and elevate what works?

Framing for Racial Justice
Racism Exists
Racial disparities are caused by racism, and there is evidence if you look for it.

It’s Systemic
Poverty, racial disparities, and other social problems are not natural, but structural.

We All Deserve Good
All human beings are connected and deserve the same things. Systems that have us spread “good” fairly create better, more productive societies.

Government Has a Role
Government and the public sector is an effective place to handle social issues.

We Are Part of the World
Our well-being, safety, and quality of life increasingly depends on how the US operates in the world.

Something Can Be Done
Public sector solutions abound, what is required is the will.

Communicate Justice Leadership Institute 2009


Center for Media Justice

Victories to Build On
FFLIC – closed Jetson Prison JJPLA – created class for lawsuit against YSC SSSC (Xochitl B.) – Americus Georgia: booted jack out of Georgia and forced state to study private probation offices that were charging poor folks extra if they couldn’t pay their fines Sentencing Project – Minority Impact Statements (Iowa, Oregon and Connecticut), Voter enfranchisement, etc PODER – created justice for juveniles coalition (lost funding), issued report on Texas Youth Commission (blue ribbon task force) and condensed it to a community youth level. Senate Bill 103 reformed JJ system, premiered film at SxSW on immigrant children and families on for-profit immigrant detention CAPE – first cop in CA tried in decades for murder (Johannes Meserle) YJC – moratorium on billing families for probation Children’s Defense Fund NY – formed NY racial justice disparities task force, shut down 10 prisons closed in NY State 2 reduced, passed “safe harbor act,” which changed framing of child prostitution to child exploitation CCR – forced NY to reveal racial profiling data as part of prison closings in NY. Habeus Corpus in Guantanamo Bay Reflect and Strengthen, Boston – created Massachusetts Juvenile Justice Racial Task Force (Da-Force), proposed Senate bill, reduced detention 25% in Massachusetts TFIY – passed senate bill 103, implemented parent and youth bill of rights, created space for Texas Ombudsman CR – stopped youth curfew in Oakland. De-facto moratorium on Ca prisons Burns Institute – PIMA County reduced from 180 to 60 youth based on data and recs from BI and CJNY CJNY – task forces, publications, organizing strategy taken up across the country SWOP – stopped arming of officers on campus. Stopped APD from creating it’s own police force in state legislature JJP (correctional association, since 1844, staff NY alliance) – $5 million to highest needs districts in NY. LGBT policies in NY systems NNIRR – 5000 people signed letter to Obama. Helped mobilize 20,000 around principles around immigration and development (delinking national security from migration) SWYC/GenerationY/SOUL – youth created Human Rights Monitoring project where youth are monitoring and reporting conditions of confinement, restorative justice circle with elected officials

Communicate Justice Leadership Institute 2009


Center for Media Justice

Shared Goals and Audiences
Shared Goals Sentencing & Courts System Accountability and Transparency Equal Sentencing/Sentencing Guidelines reform Restorative Justice: Approaching a new paradigm in punishment Key Tactics: data and objective decision making tools, eliminating mandatory minimums, restorative justice and community based solutions Key Tactics: reduce the number of people in prison, close facilities, expose history of prisons, increase the number and cohesion of community based programs, office of youth advocates, robust complaint process, independent oversight, codifying detention standards, improved re-entry for juveniles, visitation bill of rights, no new charges while inside, ending juvenile to adult transfers, ending juvenile life without parole. Shared Audiences and Needs Sentencing & Courts Congress Research publications Fact sheets Direct public testimony Sign-on letters Educational meetings w/officers Phone/fax actions Targeted Earned media Conditions of Confinement Faith Communities Constituency workshops Earned religious media Education from the pulpit Social Justice committee Policing & Criminalization State and City Policy Makers Accountability sessions Opinion articles/letters Newspaper in state capitol Talk radio Public hearings Rally’s at local/state level Key Tactics: peer exchanges, students bill of rights, lobbying local electeds, etc. Conditions of Confinement End Punitive Confinement Reallocate $$ for community infrastructure Enforce human rights standards and constitutional rights Policing & Criminalization End Zero Tolerance Policies Police Accountability Decriminalize Social Behavior and Identity.

While there may be some room for getting more specific with these goals and audiences as we move forward, they allowed most participants to think proactively about how their work may align with these goals. CJLI participants also noted that these goals are not broadly shared within the sector and part of our job is to broaden that space so that these goals become more closely-held among broader swaths of people.

Communicate Justice Leadership Institute 2009


Center for Media Justice

Justice Frames and Meta Messages
”We’re having a long conversation over years and years and years. Reframing and frame building take time, shared infrastructure and trust.” “Frames and stories trump facts alone.”

Some Key Meta Messages
When social justice advocates say… IT’S THE SYSTEM “Poverty and other economic problems are caused by faulty systems that can, and should, be fixed.” WE ALL DESERVE GOOD “All human beings are basically connected and deserve the same things that bring health and well-being.” THERE IS A GOOD ROLE FOR GOV’T “Government is the right place to handle social issues. People can and should govern collectively.” Their opponents say… IT’S PERSONAL INITIATIVE “Poverty is the result of lazy people who just aren’t trying hard enough.”

GOOD HAS TO BE EARNED “Giving people what they haven’t earned will only hurt them in the long run by undermining their own self-discipline.” GOV’T HURTS MORE THAN IT HELPS “Government is ineffective and should be made as small as possible. What is left should be run like a business.”

Some Possible Messages and Shared Values
-All people’s development is harmed by being incarcerated. -Standards of detention that protect all people’s safety are necessary. -All people are better served in their community, although services and alternatives for youth and adults might look different. -Both Justice systems will be more fair and effective with non-bias decision making tools and practices. -The word rehabilitation is dated. We need to find ways to popularize and translate restorative justice, transformative justice, and healing. -Children and adults are not separate communities. We are families and communities. Youth/Adults -Needing to keep youth and adults in separate facilities. -Needing to keep youth agencies and adult agencies separate (i.e. Department of Youth Services vs. Department of Corrections) but also having to deal with overlap (i.e. Probation)

Collaboration Challenges: From Contradictions to Collaborations
(Immigrant/Black) • Neither sector takes the other as seriously, have tired to distance themselves • Need some healing • Case study/analysis of coverage that highlight how short-term and conventional messages hurt each side (Youth/Adults) • Developmental differences for youth can go up to 30 internationally (criminalizing adults/disempowering youth) need to counter this message. • Message the “WE” • Shared values and messaging regarding non-biased decision making tools • Elevate Transformative and Restorative Justice versus Rehabilitation.

Communicate Justice Leadership Institute 2009


Center for Media Justice

(Nonviolent/Violent) • A paradigm shift that doesn’t create a binary opposition. • Prison hurts everyone, is itself a violent experience. • What is the paradigm of violence? How do we address responses to the range? (Abolition/Reform) • What are the strategic conditions necessary for each? • Is abolition an identify vision versus a strategy? • What elements of the strategy in the context of the system? • Alternatives equal Transformative/Restorative Justice highlight and scale use in international solutions.

Strategic Shifts and Opportunities
Organizing How to not cut pit constituencies and issues against each other Policy Public Debate Attaching conditions of con- What are the implications for the “death” of print media, how finement components to bed can we use the web better, can we use online networks to stay reductions ahead of the news and tell the story through two way mediums, building up community reporting processes Forming unusual alliances JDAI: Over-utilizing your det- Strategic use of AP ie: teachers union; riment system to the detriment of your budget Immigrant rights groups Mobilizing fringe populations Connect national web bill hook to local fights using core shared distance themselves from or populations pushed very messages immigrants with criminal far to the margins convictions, need for alliance building and ways to not sell each other out Latino Black alliance buildShared blogging strategies ing re: criminal justice work Opportunities across issue to share message, where are the overlaps? Racism has been codified in discussion and fragmented and we respond rather than working on the broad systematic pieces How do we talk about white supremacy? What about the economic causes? Challenged in trying to address criminalization How do you raise racism within the context of a colorblind frame? Work with media outlets closest to us to transform language in news coverage Glossary for reporters and organizers Clarify that the existence of prisons reduces the availability of services How do you link the race and economics conversation, use the economics piece to raise and highlight racism rather than class versus race Citizenship: the way race is constructed makes the conversation on civil and human rights Short-term messaging versus long-term messaging How do we frame imprisonment as

Communicate Justice Leadership Institute 2009


Center for Media Justice

Evaluation Summary
What worked?
- Meta-framing and shared messaging pieces - PR Clinic (work shopping and different messaging), Framing Session, Debate workshop - Framing session help to analyze an issue and draw out the frames so that we can address them - Messaging mechanics and the toolkit - Power mapping, media strategy, meta-framing and messaging - Clarity on focusing our messaging on structures and institutions - Feedback fishbowl - Mapping and media strategy and targeted audience discussion - Power mapping, small group sections (strategic opportunities and shared messaging) - The Media Caucus tool and the live talk show - Thinking critically about the infrastructure that is needed to effectively message - Marcano Hour, network conversation and contradiction caucuses - The media plan

What could be done better?
“IMore personal and organizational time for reflection and exercises.” “Network presentations were too general and folks weren’t engaged. Prep question would have made the conversations more strategic. Highlight differences, opportunities or the power of moving as networks and alliances.” “More examples of best practices regarding messaging and frames within juvenile, criminal and immigrant sectors and attempts at meta frames.” “Changing your story PR Clinic. More team building built into the agenda and more art, ritual and music sharing.” “Give us a complete and tight story to look at in its entirety.” “Group was too large and more help needed on clarifying the message.” “More 1 on 1 time with individuals to over their message and campaigns to reflect them.” “Talk more about calendar and brainstormed from posted gallery. More talk shows and news interview rehearsals. [More] critique of current media materials and plans.” “An extra day to flesh issues in depth would have been useful.” “More focus on contradictions caucus and longer time. “More readings on different frames.”

Communicate Justice Leadership Institute 2009


Center for Media Justice

Moving Forward Together
As we left the session, there was a clear desire to use what we had built to move shared messages, resources, and evidence to advance the conversation. Additionally, participants said that we are not trying to recreate new coalitions, but rather create a space where organizers and communicators can refine strategies to move these shared messages through existing networks. Additionally, participants identified some key opportunities for collaboration: The National Criminal Justice Commission Act, Lobby Days, and the OJJDPA Re-Authorization. These are spaces where we can work to achieve three things, as identified by folks in the room: reframe core beliefs about public safety and racial disparities, move from racial disparities to a racial justice lens, and develop and advance a system accountability frame through a racial justice lens. As a result, and as discussed in the final wrap-up of the session, The Center for Media Justice will be working with this group in a few different ways over the next 18 months. Using these opportunities, we can begin to measure the effectiveness of our shared infrastructure, messaging, and framing. At the end of that time, we will come together in a similar space to identify what worked and what didn’t.

The following key activities are some of the opportunities to get tools, coaching, and coordination support services you can take advantage of over the next 18 months:

18-Month Racial Justice Framing Project Network Communications Audits and Planning Juvenile and Criminal Justice Framing and Strategy Memo - Lmited content analysis on race and crime (Juvenile Supreme Court Case and Crack Cocaine Sentencing Disparities) to evaluate current frames messages and spokes people, and public opinion research on race and crime. - Solutions based findings - Addendum with next steps, strategic interventions and recommended shared frames, stories and messages Issue-based Message and Framing Labs, Strategy Sessions and Focus Groups Collaborative PR opportunities (National Criminal Justice Commission Act, and OJJDPA Re-Authorization) 2010 Communicate Justice Leadership Institute Project Documentation, Evaluation and Capacity Building - Reframing Crime and Race Communications Tool Kit Funder Briefing on Strategic Communications and Racial Justice - Panel with reps from alliances and best practices from Change the Story PR Project - 5-10 reps from targeted, familiar foundations

Communicate Justice Leadership Institute 2009


Center for Media Justice

Change the Story PR Project Groups can apply to our Change the Story PR Project, which will work with key groups on rapid cycle PR during the campaign opportunities we have identified. We will support your media work and use this to test the deployment of messages and frames from the Racial Justice Framing Project. Re-Covering Race: Convening 3 journalist/blogger/organizer conversations in 3 different regions in partnership with journalist of color alliances and networks. Content analysis and opposition research. Strategic PR opportunity monitoring and coverage tracking and clipping services.

Collaboration Infrastructure Until we come up with a better solution (and we’re working on it), we’ll be using the CJLI google group to communicate, share important links and research. EDB: Every group that attended CJLI should sign up for CMJ’s Online Press Database. CJLI participant groups are encouraged to sign up for an Social Media News Room. This is a great site that hosts free, shareable multimedia press releases and news releases. Individuals will be asked to reprint content and/or guest blog on CMJ’s site as a way of building up a collection of best practices. Groups are also encouraged to share and cross-post and print each other’s content in organizational and network newsletters. Out of that, we’ll be creating a toolkit with strategy curriculum with CJNY. Online Learning, Publishing and Distribution Community

Communicate Justice Leadership Institute 2009


Center for Media Justice

CJLI Recap Day1

Shared Goals by Issue Area Shared Audiences by Issue Area Shared Strategic Shifts


Refined communications plans on campaigns and issues Framing Practice Debate

Continued to refine plans Learned about building on networks for communications collaboration--NNIRR pole-setting on Immigration/Detention, DWN advocacy on national policy, CJNY collaboration around grassroots support From Contradictions to Collaboration

Communicate Justice Leadership Institute 2009


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