In April, Anna Mangahas from ONE Northside (a community organization of which NSBC is a member) came to the Church Council meeting to discuss the work of the Grassroots Association for Police Accountability (GAPA). At its meeting in May, the Church Council voted to formally express support for the work and recommendations of the coalition, which we believe furthers the work of building peace, justice, and right relationship in the city of Chicago.
GAPA describes itself as “a broad-based coalition of community organizations committed to making our neighborhoods safer, improving police practices and accountability, and transforming the relationship between the Chicago Police Department and the communities it serves.” The coalition formed two years ago in order to create an avenue for broad-based community input in the city’s discussion regarding police oversight reform. Over the past two years, it has been hosting community conversations between various stakeholders, including the police department, local businesses and organizations, and members of communities experiencing high levels of violence.
Based on these conversations, GAPA has formulated a proposal to establish a Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability, which will share oversight responsibilities of the Civilian Office of Police Accountability and the Police Board with the mayor. Members of the commission, while elected by the city, will be required to have experience and education in fields directly related to the work they will be overseeing. The full proposal can be found on GAPA’s website.