Racial and Criminal Justice Committee

The Racism & Criminal Justice Reform Committee, working together with people from several other community groups including the Berkeley NAACP, has 2 upcoming meetings:
TUESDAY, Aug. 20th, 7:00-9:00 p.m., 1301 Walnut St., North Berkeley–regular meeting
SUNDAY, Sept. 15th, 2:00-4:00 p.m., Sports Basement (formerly Iceland), 2727 Milvia St., South Berkeley–special large meeting to launch a broad community campaign to get a charter amendment for a stronger police review commission in Berkeley on the 2020 ballot.

Phase 1 of our ongoing campaign:
– Recruit more people, from different sectors of the community, to get involved with this issue.
– Educate the public about the need for a stronger police review function in Berkeley, especially given the continuing racial disparities in policing.
– Build public pressure on the Mayor and City Council to put the charter amendment (Arreguin/Harrison version, which is currently under consideration) on the 2020 ballot. The vote on this could come as early as September.

If you are a Berkeley resident, please call the Mayor and your City Council member to ask that they proceed with placing the Berkeley Police Commission Amendment on the November 2020 ballot. For contact information, see: https://www.cityofberkeley.info/electedofficials/ 
Hope you will join us at these upcoming meetings.

For more info (including a flyer and a background info sheet) and/or to be added to our email list for occasional updates on this campaign, contact Berkeleyans for Safe Communities at: racialandcriminaljustice@wellstoneclub.org

P.S. Mayor Arreguin has promised to convene, shortly, a broad-based Task Force to develop an (overdue!) action plan for addressing the racial disparities in police stops and related issues. Members of our group are gathering suggestions to him about people from the community to
appoint. Public pressure will be necessary to keep the momentum going, so please refer to this matter too when you call the Mayor’s office.


We meet jointly with activists from several other progressive organizations who also work on issues of racial justice and criminal justice reform (including Indivisible Berkeley, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Berkeley chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Democratic Socialists of America, and more). We focus mainly on the local level but to some extent on the county, state, and federal levels. These meetings are a great way to keep informed about developments, strategies, and actions in this whole arena, and you can participate further in particular campaigns and actions to the degree you choose. Newcomers are welcome.

Currently, we are concentrating as a group on Berkeley policing (getting a stronger Police Review Commission, addressing racial inequities in policing), but members also are involved in the Audit Sheriff Ahern Coalition, advocacy for state criminal justice reform legislation, and other initiatives.

We usually meet on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of each month, but check the Wellstone website to confirm the dates and locations. Mainly we have been meeting in private residences in North Berkeley, but we are seeking meeting places more convenient for those in Oakland/South Berkeley. If anyone has a suggestion for such a location, please pass it along.

For further info or to be added to our email list:


Rivka Polatnick, Committee Representative