(From press release) Three local grassroots organizations, Yolo People Power, Envisioning Justice Partnership-West Sacramento, and Three Sisters Gardens have launched an online petition which acknowledges systemic anti-Blackness and racism in our structures of governance, and demands changes in how we envision and provide public safety. The petition calls upon Yolo County and its local municipal governments to join jurisdictions from across the nation in recognizing policing as a public health issue, and propose a transition from a weaponized approach to a public safety model. The petition is informed and inspired by programs like Eugene, Oregon's CAHOOTS (Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets) which differentiates which responders are most appropriate for each call. This means employing mental health and substance abuse specialists, social workers, and advocates for the houseless community, who are not affiliated with police departments, to respond to most calls.
The petition also calls for an intervention into the mechanisms of participatory democracy, to ensure that marginalized communities are well-represented in decision-making processes, and have the opportunity to speak for themselves. Toward this end, the petition calls on policy-makers to host community forums around public safety in the next three months, and develop proposals for community review prior to the 2021 budget cycle.