News Coverage

Drummond: Will police brutality protests bring about real change?

Oakland Tribune
by Tammerlin Drummond
Dec 11, 2014


How do we go from "hands up, don't shoot" and professional athletes donning "I can't breathe" T-shirts to concrete action that will begin to alter the odious statistic that black teen males are 21 times more likely to be shot by the police than their white peers?

Zachary Norris, executive director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights in Oakland, says young leaders around the country have already begun organizing around issues of inequality. They include the Black Youth Project in Chicago, the Dream Defenders in Florida and Black Lives Matter.

"It's an example of a kind of modern day Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee," Norris said, referring to the student organization that civil rights leader Ella Baker launched to register blacks to vote in the South.

Growing Movement in Oakland Calls for End to Mass Incarceration

Oakland Post
by Ashley Chambers
Nov 26, 2014


A daylong summit to discuss ways to work to end mass incarceration and implement restorative justice was held recently in Oakland.

Another workshop led by the Ella Baker Center talked about how youth and their parents can get involved in justice reinvestment. Through their “50 percent for Jobs Not Jails, Books Not Bars, Healthcare Not Handcuffs” campaign, they are seeking political action to reinvest money from the prison system to fund more programs and services in the community.

Oakland residents celebrate the indigenous roots of restorative justice

Oakland North
by Alicia Vargas and Jacqui Ipp
Nov 21, 2014


In commemoration of a week devoted to restorative justice, two nonprofits organized a Sunday celebration at the Lakeside Garden Center highlighting the indigenous roots of restorative justice, a term used to define the shift from a punitive justice system to one that addresses the needs of victims as well as offenders.

Maria Dominguez, a young organizer with the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights who was there as an attendee, was happy that the theme for this event centered on indigenous knowledge. As she sees it, understanding that the concept comes from indigenous practices, could help anyone—whether they are the victim or offender—understand the interconnectedness of humanity. “As restorative justice becomes more prevalent in our communities we really can’t forget that this is rooted in indigenous practices,” said Dominguez.

Drummond: Time to fix California's whack crack laws

Oakland Tribune
by Tammerlin Drummond
Aug 13, 2014


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."

Alternative event to National Night Out shifts focus away from surveillance

San Francisco Bay Guardian
by Rebecca Bowe
Aug 05, 2014


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.

Ending mass incarceration a priority for Ella Baker Center's new director

by Matt O'Brien
Dec 31, 2013


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.

Ella Baker Has a New Boss; Meet Problem-Solver Zach Norris

by Katy McCarthy
Oct 03, 2013


Learn more about the life and motivation of Ella Baker Center's Executive Director Zachary Norris. This is an 

Governor's Plan Runs Into Resistance

by Max Pringle
Aug 27, 2013


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.

Capitol Alert: Activists urge Gov. Jerry Brown to release prisoners

by Laurel Rosenhall
Aug 27, 2013


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."

The Fight Against Putting Teens in Solitary

by Toshio Meronek
Aug 21, 2013


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.


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