"I think some of the most significant things happen in history when you get the right people in the right place at the right time and I think that's what we are".
- Chokwe Lumumba
Human Rights Activist & Late Mayor of Jackson, Mississippi
OUR CORE VALUES.
The most effective way to create a more just society is to build community capacity and governing power. Too often, the voice of community members is overlooked in the process of system transformation. The most impacted by crime, homelessness, under-employment are engaged only as afterthought, if at all, when planning reform and, or solutions to problem issues such as local healthcare, education, and criminalization. At the People’s Advocacy Institute (PAI), we adopt the Community Connections for Youth (CCFY) philosophy that community is central, not peripheral to system change. The belief that individuals, grassroots, faith and neighborhood organizations in local communities, are most effective in doing work that is transformational and liberating. Our initiatives are built around several core values.
Community (especially the most marginalized) have the right, responsibility and resources for ensuring the safety, and well-being of its residents;
Black people, people of color, trans and queer people, people most impacted by poverty, formerly incarcerated persons, and young people are assets to be developed and should have a voice in developing and designing programs and policies that affect them;
The disproportionate incarceration of black, indigenous and brown people, and the flow of dollars away from communities of color is an injustice that must be corrected.
Our mission is to equip people most impacted by systemic violence with the tools to disrupt the criminal and juvenile punishment systems and create a new system founded in human justice, re-education, restitution, restoration and individual and collective healing.
“We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community...Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.”
- Cesar Chavez
WHAT WE DO.
“You don’t run away from problems, you face them.”
- Fannie Lou Hamer
Realizing the endurance and resourcefulness of communities directly impacted by mass criminalization and incarceration, we partner with community members to provide education, training, coaching, investigation, research, advocacy and legal services to assist in defining the structural inequities that cause harm, and together develop new policies and practices that prevent harm, address oppression, and foster self-determination and a more unbiased system. Click here to learn more about initiatives.