Image - Cat Brooks and James Burch

Past Event

Reimagining Public Safety

Amid nationwide reckoning with racial justice and calls to reimagine policing in America's cities, Oakland has moved ahead with plans to change its public safety funding and performance.

The Defund OPD campaign was launched by the Anti Policy Terror Project five years ago. Join us for a discussion with two leaders in the effort to change the criminal justice system.

About the Speakers

Cat Brooks is an activist, performer, politician and speaker or who has served as the communications director for Coaching Corps, as executive director of Youth Together and executive director of the National Lawyers Guild. Brooks is the co-founder of the Anti Police-Terror Project (APTP) whose mission is to rapidly respond to and ultimately eradicate what it calls state violence in communities of color. With APTP, she shepherded the development of a “first responders” process, which provides resources and training for a rapid community-based response to police violence. She also helped negotiate the passage of AB392, AB 931 and SB 1421 and has organized with local housing advocates to bring Proposition 10 (Repeal Costa Hawkins) to the ballot in November. n late 2018, Cat was the runner up in the Oakland mayoral race. Brooks currently serves as the executive director of the Justice Teams Network, a network of grassroots activists providing rapid response and healing justice in response to all forms of state violence across California. In addition, she is touring her one-woman show, Tasha, about the in-custody murder of Natasha McKenna in the Fairfax County Jail. She lives in West Oakland with her daughter.

Born and raised in Natick, MA, James Burch grew up with the direct impacts of a punitive carceral system within his immediate family; all three of his siblings have been entangled in the criminal justice system for their entire lives. To address this, James became a lawyer after attending Yale University and Georgetown Law School. Upon moving to the Bay Area, James became an active member of the Anti Police-Terror Project, eventually becoming the director of policy and a member of the Black Leadership Team. Burch now works as the policy director for the Justice Teams Network (JTN), a statewide coalition working to end state violence in California. James is also the current president of the National Lawyers Guild of the Bay Area.


This program was rescheduled from April 12, 2021.

This is a free, online-only program; you must pre-register to receive a link to the live-stream event. We welcome donations made during registration to support the production of our online programming.

See more "Michelle Meow Show"s at The Commonwealth Club.

April 29, 2021

United States

Image - Cat Brooks

Cat Brooks

Activist; Politician; Performer

Image - James Burch

James Burch

Lawyer; Activist

Image - Michelle Meow

Michelle Meow

Producer and Host, "The Michelle Meow Show" on KBCW/KPIX TV and Podcast; Member, Commonwealth Club Board of Governors; Twitter @msmichellemeow—Co-Host


noon–1 p.m. (Pacific Time) program