Visions for Justice: Conversation 5 — Convening Practitioners Working on PB for Justice

Our fifth conversation is grounded by and rooted in the incredible on-the-ground work from our partners. By convening practitioners, we believe we can learn from one another and build together.

We explored how we can use divested resources to engage affected community members with participatory budgeting (PB) processes that allow for community-led decisions about where money gets invested that actually meets the community’s needs.

After all, our community-led efforts should offer some repair, some healing, some restoration, in the aftermath of these harmful systems that are being dismantled and transitioned out of.

Our panel helped us think about all the calls for divestment happening around the country and the roles of participatory practices in these movements:

Diana Zúñiga, a health and justice expert, community organizer, and policy advocate who recently led The Los Angeles County Alternatives to Incarceration Work Group in developing the Care First Roadmap to expand diversion and alternatives through her work with The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. Diana shared how her work has helped stop the building of prisons in LA and instead funnel resources into community resources.

Alex Kolokotronis, a PhD candidate in political science at Yale University whose research focuses on teachers’ unions and participatory democracy in public schools. He is an organizer with Concerned and Organized Graduate Students (COGS) at Yale, and is on the Steering Committee for the Central Connecticut chapter of Democratic Socialists of America. Alex shared with us about what the efforts to defund Yale police have looked like in the world of academia.

Shaun Glaze both serves as Research Director at King County Equity Now, as well as Chief Consulting Officer at Inclusive Data Solutions. Shaun is a researcher by trade and passion, with a focus on Participatory Action Research, blending together activism, policy change, and research. Shaun joined us for our first ever Visions for Justice event back in August, and shared with us updates about Seattle’s recent victory in passing a bill where 50% of the police budget will be divested into community-led participatory budgeting!

Kristania De Leon is the Director of Partnerships and Strategy at the Participatory Budgeting Project where she leads network building and advocacy efforts to increase the demand, visibility and impact of PB across North America. Her work has focused on public policy and advocacy, community-driven programming and engagement, cross-sector capacity building, networked movement building, and social justice.

Our conversation revolved around sharing approaches & strategies in how to achieve the collective goal of equity and a better world for everybody. This involves broad coalition building, the commitment to black & indigenous leadership, and the need for community-led decision-making while centering voices from impacted community members.

As Shaun said, “fighting anti-black racism is also climate justice. It’s also housing justice. It’s also all the things that we really want to create a healthier, safer world.”

We launched Visions for Justice to engage partners in discussions around participatory practices that advance justice. If you found this conversation interesting, there’s more! Make sure to join us on Oct 28 at 7pm ET / 4pm PT for our last conversation on participatory democracy, and check out all of our previous conversations in the series.

Links from the chat:

Originally published Participatory Budgeting Project: Source