This post is part of our Summer 2018 issue of Connection, our quarterly newsletter. To read the whole newsletter, click here.
The Campaign for Smart Justice is such an exciting project. The goal of cutting the prison population in half and challenging the racial bias in the criminal justice system is ambitious and inspiring. I say, it’s about time that we, as a state and a country, push back hard on the tough-on-crime approach to public policy that we’ve been living with since at least the 1980’s. Years of research show that keeping low-level offenders out of prison and providing shorter sentences and high-quality education and job training for those we do send to prison are the keys to a safer community.
To succeed with a project like this, we need strong allies. I know that working with Network Delaware, Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League, Delaware Center for Justice, Coalition to Dismantle the New Jim Crow, Delaware United and others establishes a strong foundation from which to operate. I’m especially looking forward to the launch of the People’s Platform Project—a collaboration between ACLU-DE, Network Delaware and the Urban League that will put a team of four organizers in the field to promote smart justice, education justice and economic justice policy reform.
The People’s Platform organizers will build teams of concerned constituents in critical legislative districts. These teams will make sure that their neighbors are educated about the issues, registered to vote, and that they get out to vote for the primary election on September 6th and the general election on November 6th. This essential project will help us build a team of citizen lobbyists, gain influence in Legislative Hall and provide support for the significant change that is needed to bring justice to all Delawareans.
Before I sign off, I want to recognize three board members who have just moved off of our board of directors: George Meldrum, a senior policy analyst for the Nemours Foundation, who had only been with us for a few years but was always willing to help with our fundraising efforts; Norm Monhait of Rosenthal, Monhait and Goddess P.A. who served for over 30 years on the board and always provided wisdom and insight no matter the subject; and Helen Foss, who retired in 2000 after a long and significant career in the education field. Helen also served on the board for over 30 years and was our institutional memory in all things related to education. The ACLU of Delaware, and I personally, cannot thank these three enough for their dedication to this organization and our shared values of liberty and justice. You will be missed!