The Morris Justice Project was dedicated to using Participatory Action Research (PAR) to engage the struggle for fair and just policing for all residents of New York City. As a PAR project action took many forms and was woven through each step of our research, which was designed to become a part of the everyday conversation in the streets around Morris Avenue, to communicate to parts of the city not targeted by the NYPD, and to inform policy-makers.
Throughout the summer of 2013 we did “Sidewalk Science” around the MJP neighborhood, creating opportutnies to discuss and continue our research with residents. We did critical mapping, made and distributed data t-shirts and buttons, constructed Community Safety Walls, handed out our back-pocket report, and talked to people about the implications of the Community Safety Act and Floyd Trial. See more here.
Over the summer we worked to broaden the conversation and our imaginations around the concept of community safety. See more here.
Distributing our Data
At the Bronx Defenders Block Party on August 10, 2013, we rolled out our “Summer of Actions,” shifing our data distribution phase into HIGH gear. We handed out our back-pocket report, printed our data on t-shirts and buttons, and constructed our first “Community Safety Wall.” Throughout the summer we’ll repeat these activities throughout the neighborhood. See more here.
Advocating for New City Legislation
As part of the Communities United for Police Reform Coalition we have organized in support of the Community Safety Act. In June, the City Council passed 2 of its bills, which will bring greater oversight and accountability to the NYPD. City Council Member Brad Lander (pictured here) held a Morris Justice Project sign as he announced the passing of the bills, which he co-sponsored with Council Member Jumaane Williams. The sign quotes a Morris area resident who wrote on our survey that “It’s not a crime to be who you are,” a message that Lander repeated in his speech.
Reaching Other Audiences
To share our work with people outside the neighborhood, we are creating short films and using social media. See the films here.
As part of the Communities United for Police Reform Coalition, we attended the trial, Floyd, et al. v. City of New York et al, a federal class action lawsuit that challenges the NYPD’s practices of racial profiling and unconstitutional stop-and frisks. See MJP’s participation in a press conference here. Rachel Jane Liebert attended the trial on our behalf and posted updates on our Tumblr so that others could follow along, and continue to share our findings and activities. See her posts here.
Sharing with Elected Officials
Our “back-pocket report” has gotten a lot of attention, including from elected officials like City Comptroller and Mayoral Candidate, John Liu.
Speaking Back to the NYPD
In September of 2012, with the help of “The Illuminator,” we projected a letter to the NYPD like a bat signal on the side of an apartment building. Our data that we projected was seen and discussed by people on the street and by residents through their windows, until the 44th came to shut us down. See more here.
Reporting Back to our Community
In April of 2013 the Bronx Defenders hosted a Bronx Town Hall on Community Safety, where we spoke to the crowd about our work and released our first report. See video footage of our presentation here. (at approx. 33 min. in)
Defending Our Rights in Court
Several members of our research group are plaintiffs in the class-action suit, Ligon et al v. City of New York, which challenges the NYPD’s aggressive patrolling of private apartment buildings.