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Safety and Alternatives to Policing in Northampton

Intentions with regard to policing in Northampton

Dialogue on police reform is a dialogue on community safety. As mayor, I commit to increase safety for all who frequent Northampton - residents, visitors, business owners, the workforce, and homeless individuals. We all deserve dignity and safety. Because Black Lives Matter and I practice harm reduction, I will divest funds from Northampton’s police budget, starting from the inflated overtime payments and unnecessary police detail work, and invest in community care, mental health, human services, and education. Our 911 dispatch will continue to be staffed by civilian personnel, and callers will retain access to our emergency rapid response system, while accessing additional options for a mental health crisis. As I recognize the importance and efficiency of peer-led services, I will lead a process that is evidence-based and community-led by those with lived-experience. While we work to rebuild trust with the most vulnerable in our community, we will retain police force personnel who treat others with dignity and respect, and reduce overspending on new officer training. I will reject the idea of school policing and intent to increase safety measures for minority students, including impacted individuals in the decision making process. We must stop criminalizing survival behaviors, such as policing homelessness and substance use, and ensure our tax money does no harm. As such, I would divert money from temporary shelter solutions, promote permanent housing for the most vulnerable, and adopt the Housing First model, an evidence-based approach to end homelessness, which in turn would increase safety for the most vulnerable and decrease the need for policing. Lastly, I commit to follow Northampton Police Review Commission recommendations and fully fund the Department of Community Care to enhance community safety and to equitably manage our resources towards a more just community. 

Working towards racial equity in Northampton

Working towards racial equity is a massive undertaking and a social crisis that needs to continuously be addressed. On a personal level, I work towards equity through an intersection lens (term coined by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw) and I practice self reflection, accountability and growth through action. These are the values that I commit to bring to our municipal governance. In Northampton public schools, we must champion inspiring critical discussions of race, racism, and whiteness, and raise the next generation of students who are civically engaged and open-hearted. A just city would champion efforts for diversity in our residents and business owners, teachers and administrators, and promote social justice initiatives addressing the needs of historically marginalized individuals. As a mayor leading these efforts, I would strongly hold community leaders accountable towards restorative practices and alternatives to policing, in our schools and our carceral system. The question of racial equity tackles such a massive challenge, one that cannot be achieved here in Northampton alone, and we need to move towards justice on a regional level, highlighting the work of powerful leadership of communities of color. Towards the work of collective liberation, we would address vectors of oppression and privilege and create long-lasting partnerships with neighboring municipalities to harness regional wealth and human potential. I hold a vision of equity in which Northampton’s schools and community is a home for imagination, advancement, and social repair, and we need to uphold our progressive values and commit to work tirelessly towards justice and social transformation.