District Attorney Advisory Groups
Preventing crime involves working with the community to create meaningful partnerships to improve public safety. We are safer together when community members and law enforcement work together to identify public safety issues and solutions. Six advisory groups were created to advise District Attorney George Gascón on public safety issues. Members of these advisory groups consist of stakeholders from the neighborhoods, merchants, businesses, community-based organizations and residents who meet quarterly to create public safety solutions. Each group identified key policy areas to be investigated for action. Over thirty meetings were conducted over the past year resulting in significant achievements and partnerships.
For questions about our advisory groups please email Marisa Rodriguez, Director of Community Relations, at Marisa.Rodriguez@sfgov.org
African American Advisory Group
Top Issue Areas: Barriers to Employment, School Disengagement and Access to Mental Health Resources.
The African American Advisory Group prioritized increased opportunities for job training, additional ways to engage adults to serve in mentorship programs, and reducing the stigma of mental health in the community. To find new and existing job training opportunities for qualified offenders, memoranda of agreements were negotiated with two trade unions to provide employment training and potential employment opportunities.
An informal relationship with another labor group resulted in placements for employment positions and discussions with other unions are ongoing. A campaign to increase adult participation in mentorship programs and increased access to mental health services are in the works for 2013.
AMEMSA – Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian Advisory Group
Top Issue Areas: Islamophobia, Social and Political Inclusion and Cohesion, and Anti-bullying in Schools
The AMEMSA Advisory Group has taken, and continues to take, assertive measures to respond to the overt and insidious Islamophobia experienced by our AMEMSA communities in the Bay Area. Following a series of anti-Muslim bus advertisements that targeted AMEMSA members as “savages,” our group held a press conference joined by members of the Board of Supervisors and community leaders to condemn hate speech. Similarly, to bring awareness to the discrimination faced by AMEMSA communities, we partnered with the San Francisco Human Rights Commission and community organizations to create and implement a photo-voice project to spotlight AMEMSA members’ personal experiences with discrimination in San Francisco. Most recently, our group joined other community leaders to support two nonprofit organizations, Beyond Differences and Islamic Network Group (“ING”), to launch the Know Your Classmates initiative to reduce bullying in our schools and create safer, more tolerant, and inclusive communities for our students. As anti-Muslim discrimination undermines social cohesion locally and nationally, our group will continue to explore ways to increase educational and sensitivity training opportunities within our schools, airports, and law enforcement agencies.
Asian/Pacific Islander Advisory Group
Top Issue Areas: Elder Abuse, Public Education regarding District Attorney’s services, and Scam Prevention
The Asian/Pacific Islander Advisory Group initiated a public education campaign regarding elder financial abuse resulting in more public awareness about the “blessing scams.” Alongside Self Help for the Elderly and API Legal Outreach, we held three outreach meetings in Chinatown, Sunset, and Visitacion Valley to educate the community on how to avoid blessing scams. Additionally, outreach meetings were conducted with non-profits identified by the API Advisory Group to explain the kinds of services we provide.
Latino Advisory Group
Top Issue Areas: Immigration, Public Safety, and Youth Violence Prevention
The Latino Advisory Group established a robust mission statement: Our Mission is to advise District Attorney George Gascón on issues affecting the Latino Community. We will critically review, investigate, analyze, and eventually prepare a work plan through a timely, open and fair process. Together, we will work to keep ourselves informed about the community’s perspectives and identifying promising options on important subjects. In this process, we want productivity, respect, creativity, and clarity. Respect is important – in our communications, in how we use our time, and in seeking new solutions to old problems.
The District Attorney’s Office convened meetings with the Latino Advisory Group and relevant agencies to see what can be done improve our ability to deliver public safety services to the Latino Community.
LGBT Advisory Group
Top Issue Areas: Sexual Orientation and Violence Prevention within in the LGBT Community
In partnership with the LGBT Advisory Group, successful efforts led to the inclusion of LGBT sensitive language on the In Home Support Service website to assist LGBT Elders obtain services. Also the group arranged for LGBT specific training for anti-truancy service providers. Additionally, our Victim Services Division conducted internal training on LGBT appropriate elder abuse and youth related services. Finally, the group worked with community partners on other crime prevention efforts.
Women Advisory Group
Top Issue Areas: Family Violence, School Safety, and Cultural Competent Services for Transgender Community
The Women’s Advisory Group decided to focus on an analysis of data concerning family violence. Starting in 2012, and continuing onto 2013, the District Attorney’s Office is gathering data to analyze the disparities between the 911 calls, reports generated, and cases charged on domestic violence to see what systematic improvements can be made. To address school safety, the group initiated an anti-bullying video contest for San Francisco middle and high students. “Bye-Bye Bullying” was co-sponsored by Common Sense Media, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the San Francisco Giants Community Foundation, and Zendesk among many others. School officials, community leaders, and corporations came together to launch the video contest, which was publicized in all public and private middle and high schools in San Francisco. To address issues related to transgender people in custody, the Women’s Advisory Group advocated for further sensitivity training for law enforcement.
Youth Advisory Group
Top Issue Areas: Sexual Exploitation and Restorative Justice
The District Attorney’s Office convened a meeting of service providers to explore ways to better serve victims of child sex exploitation. Additionally, the District Attorney’s Office is working with advisory group members and other stakeholders to create a new restorative justice system for juveniles. The District Attorney’s Office plans to fully launch both of these initiatives in 2013.