Our Work

The Ella Baker Center works locally, statewide, and nationally to shift resources away from prisons and punishment and towards opportunities that make our communities safe, healthy, and strong. We believe that what you water grows. That's why we mobilize everyday people to build power and prosperity in our communities. Together, we:      

Reinvest in Communities:

We believe that budgets are moral documents, and we organize with allies to demand that elected officials enact budgets that reflect our values. 

  • Audit AhernSave Money, Save Lives. Demand an audit of Alameda County Sheriff's Office and hold them accountable. 
  • Community Safety Plan for Oakland: Our plan recognizes the choices that have led to less safe and healthy communities, and identifies ways that the city can implement public health solutions to public health problems that focus on health, wellbeing, and prevention instead of criminalization. 

Change Policies:

We win policies that reduce sentences, remove barriers, and restore opportunities. 

  • Advocacy for legislation that abolishes abusive practices in prisons and jails, strengthens family connections, ends the economic burdens placed on people by mass incarceration, and reinvests in communities. 
  • Who Pays? The True Cost of Incarceration on Families: Identified how to restructure sentences, reinvest resources, remove barriers, and restore opportunities for families and communities with Forward Together, Research Action Design, and 20 organizations across the country.


Reimagine Safety:

We change the conversation about public safety to be less focused on fear and punishment, and more focused on having a living wage job, healthy food, and affordable childcare, healthcare, and housing. 

Photo credit: Brooke Anderson
  • Night Out for Safety and Liberation: We bring people across the country together on the first Tuesday in August to redefine what #SafetyIs: dignity, opportunity, and power in our communities.
  • Restore Oakland: A joint initiative between Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC United), Restore Oakland is a community advocacy and training center that will empower Bay Area community members to transform our economic and justice systems and make a safe and secure future possible for themselves and for their families.

Read more about our history and victories.