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JUSTICE & civic engagement initiative

A shout out to all classmates who led, participated in and supported ClassACT’s 2020 Voter & Civic Engagement initiative. This hardworking group focused on a multi-pronged approach including projects and support of JusticeAid and JusticeAid’s 2020 beneficiary, Election Protection, as well as a long term project dedicated to creating a state by state primer on gerrymandering.

Under the umbrella of a new name: The Justice & Civic Engagement Initiative and with the election (almost) completed, the Steering Committee has identified the following areas of focus for 2021:

To learn more, or if you’d like to get involved, contact Bahman Mossavar-Rahmani   or Therese Steiner.

1. Gerrymandering

  • Completion of a primer that outlines the gerrymandering practices of each state, a compilation of local resources, development and implementation of an Action Plan for classmates who would like to address gerrymandering issues in their state.
    • Sub-committee leaders: Jim Harbison, Sallie Gouverneur, Ryan O’Connell and Andrea Kirsh, with Sara Greenberg and Nini Cohen.

2. The Electoral College

  • We will embark on an initial series of discussions and brainstorming surrounding the electoral college system and its impact on the future of our democracy.
    • Sub-committee Leader: Daniel Hoffheimer 

3. Civic Education

  • We will approach other Harvard Classes interested in Civic Education to create a multi-class project addressing the lack of civic education in American middle and high schools.

JusticeAid and the PACE Program of the Neighborhood Defender Service

  • The Justice & Civic Engagement Initiative will support and create programs to promote awareness for JusticeAid’s 2021 beneficiary, PACE, the Police Accountability and Community Empowerment initiative of the Neighborhood Defenders Service.
    • Led by Therese Steiner and Steve Milliken.

Every year JusticeAid, founded by classmate Steve Milliken, identifies a pressing civil rights issue to spotlight, and carefully selects a nonprofit addressing that issue as its grantee partner. Given the structural impediments in our legal system that continue to oppress Black and Brown communities, in 2021JusticeAid is returning to its criminal justice roots with PACE as its grantee partner.

Throughout 2021 JusticeAid's focus will be to raise funds to support the expansion of a holistic legal defense approach currently operating successfully in Harlem, NY and Detroit, MI, with plans to expand to Los Angeles, CA, Dallas/ Fort Worth, Texas, and Jackson, Mississippi.

    JusticeAid is in conversation with the Riverside Church of New York for a spring public forum that will help us understand the challenges Black and Brown communities face due to over policing and underinvestment - and that will also shine a light on solutions underway, thanks to JusticeAid's grantee partner. We can't know all the challenges to live music events in 2021, but JusticeAid hopes to welcome you to a live concert in October 2021 in Washington, DC with the legendary musical artist Mavis Staples. Stay tuned!

    ClassACT HR ‘73

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