In The News
Oakland's Ella Baker Center for Human Rights is one of the co-sponsors of the California Fair Sentencing Act, which the Legislative Analyst's Office says would save millions of dollars.
"It's really modest in terms of what it's trying to achieve," says Jennifer Kim, state policy and field director for the Ella Baker Center. "It just doesn't make any sense to treat a drug that has two different names differently just because of who is using it."> more
The Ella Baker Center first hosted its alternative to National Night Out last August, not long after Florida neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman was acquitted in the killing of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin.
"Community safety has to go beyond surveillance and suspicion of your neighbors," said Ella Baker organizer Maria Dominguez. "A lot of that has to come from putting more resources into the neighborhood, creating networks with each other."> more
National Night Out gatherings, which are sponsored by the National Association of Neighborhood Watch, are scheduled to take place nationwide. Block party attendees are encouraged to come out and meet their neighbors as a way of banding together against crime. Yet some have questioned the heavy emphasis this event places on suspicion and surveillance as tools for promoting neighborhood safety.
To offer a different perspective, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights has organized a community gathering Aug. 5 at the Lake Merritt amphitheater, billed as the Second Annual Night Out for Safety and Democracy.> more
His goal as the new executive director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights is a big one: curbing the incarceration of African-American and Latino youths. But those who work alongside Zachary Norris say the 36-year-old has the right blend of smarts, passion and people skills to tackle one of the nation's most vexing problems.> more
Learn more about the life and motivation of Ella Baker Center's Executive Director Zachary Norris. This is an> more
California Governor Jerry Brown’s proposal to alleviate prison overcrowding is generating opposition from activists who oppose adding more space to the state’s prison system.
“There are clear, viable alternatives to reduce the prison population, including compassionate release, including expanding good time credits. So it’s a false choice that the governor is making,” says Zachary Norris with the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights.> more
Anticipating that Gov. Jerry Brown will soon release a plan to expand California's prison capacity in response to a federal court order to reduce inmate crowding, activists who say the state should not spend any more money on its prisons protested at a rally outside the Capitol today.
"The governor is planning to raid the reserves to expand prisons," said Zachary Norris, executive director of the Oakland-based Ella Baker Center for Human Rights.
"If we are raiding the state's meager reserves to pay for prisons, we are not investing in the future of this state."> more
A lawsuit against East Bay juvenile authorities and legislation in Sacramento seek to greatly limit the practice of locking up youth in solitary confinement for months at a time.> more
In cities across the country, millions of people held street parties for National Night Out. Ella Baker Center Executive Director Zachary Norris explains how this is an opportunity for neighbors to have a more nuanced conversation about public safety.> more
Ella Baker Center Executive Director Zachary Norris joins Rose Aguilar on KALW's Your Call radio call in show to discuss how we can create true safety in our communities. After George Zimmerman, it's become more apparent than ever that we need to see our neighbors, not watch them. Zachary and the other panelists Akil Truso and Todd David answer questions such as "How effective are neighborhood watch programs?" and "What is the right role for law enforcement to play in community building?"