This week, Senator Sydney K. Kamlager-Dove’s (D – Los Angeles) bill, AB 118: CRISES Act: Community Response Initiative to Strengthen Emergency Systems was signed into law by Governor Newsom.
“This victory is over a year in the making,” said Senator Kamlager-Dove. “Black and Brown Californians have long been waiting for radical, community-centered alternatives to police involvement. While it was disappointing to see the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act falter at the federal level, it’s exciting to see California, once again, lead the way in advancing racial justice. I’m overjoyed to see Governor Newsom sign the C.R.I.S.E.S. Act into law–it’s about time we invest resources in community rather than criminalization.”
Having been previously vetoed by the Governor and then promptly reintroduced by Senator Kamlager-Dove earlier this year, the C.R.I.S.E.S. Act will have a direct impact upon California communities. The bill, which has already secured $10 million in funding in the state budget, creates a grant program to support community-based alternatives to police response during 911 calls.
“On Oct 10, 2016, my son Mauricio Barron was having a mental health crisis. He ended up on the I-5 freeway in Irvine and was hit by a car at 65 mph. A California Highway Patrol Officer responded to the call, and shot my son three times in the head and arm–from just seven feet away. Unarmed and injured, my son lost his life. Signing the C.R.I.S.E.S Act won’t bring Mauricio back, but it could save lives in the future,” shared Leticia Barron, mother of Mauircio Barro and member of the California Stop Terrorism Oppression by Police (STOP) Coalition.
In cities across the state, community organizations have already proven successful in responding to emergency situations. In L.A., organizations like Second Call and Mustard Seed intervene to build peace. In Sacramento and Oakland, Mental Health First manages a hotline for residents in need of immediate mental health intervention. After support teams address the immediate crisis, they work to strengthen the individual’s support system and connect them to resources.
Now, organizations like these will be able to tap into funds set up by the C.R.I.S.E.S Act.
“The C.R.I.S.E.S. Act is essential legislation to allow programs such as ‘Street Cred,’ housed at the Youth Justice Coalition in South Central L.A., to sustain the work we are already doing to support some of our most vulnerable community members struggling with opioid and drug abuse,” added David Dodson, Peacebuilder at Youth Justice Coalition’s Street Outreach Team (“Street CRED”).
“Last summer, we talked a lot about California’s ‘racial reckoning,’” added Senator Kamlager-Dove. “Now, while over a year later, we can point to the C.R.I.S.E.S Act as real, concrete evidence that California is beginning to re-engineer it’s criminal legal system–a system that has long criminalized and failed its Black and Brown communities. I look forward to this next chapter in our state’s history.”