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Our Core Values

  • The criminal justice system should be fair, effective, and responsive to all the parties that encounter it.
  • We invest in strategies that find common ground among disparate constituencies.
  • Authentic relationships are paramount to every aspect of our work.
  • We look at the big picture, the small steps, and everything in between to get the job done.
  • We believe that ordinary citizens have the power, wisdom, and experience to shape public policies that affect their lives.
  • We lament the growing feeling among activists and citizens that they are powerless to make change, and believe that a critical part of our work is to overcome despair.
  • We are cheerleaders, working to instill hope that anyone can make a difference and that small and simple actions matter. We provide concrete tools for action so that authentic hope is possible.
  • We believe in building and augmenting the capacity and confidence of local leaders, knowing when to take their leads and when to push for a shift in strategy. We believe that our success in working as a national group with state and local partners comes from our deep respect for them and our awareness that we cannot take their trust in us for granted.
  • We avoid parachuting in for a quick win that doesn’t recognize or coordinate with local leadership – even though this may place limitations on our work. We accept these limitations because we believe that change won’t “stick” in the long term if the impetus for it is not homegrown.
  • Our expertise comes from the fact that we roll up our sleeves and work side-by-side with communities and grassroots leaders on the ground.
  • We invest in campaigns early in their development, sometimes before a win is foreseeable, because we understand that change does not happen overnight and sometimes takes years of slow building.
  • We believe in patience. Learning, leadership development, and movement building take time. It’s worth the wait. At the same time, we strive for concrete results rather that “feel good” actions. We learn to love the graceful dance required to balance these sometimes competing interests.
  • We maximize every dollar because we realize that every little bit can make a big difference to local grassroots leaders.

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