Reimagining Criminal Justice, Policing, and Security in New York City
As we spend this shemita (Sabbatical) year imagining new possibilities for our society’s entrenched challenges, we are exploring such questions as: What does a truly safe, and truly just, society look like? What courageous conversations are needed to untangle and re-envision the interrelated topics of criminal justice reform, policing, and security?
Join us for the second program in our series on these issues, focusing on policing and security in New York City, with the newly elected Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg in conversation with Udi Ofer, Director Justice Division and Deputy National Political Director, ACLU; Renita Francois, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety; and Anthonine Pierre, Deputy Director of the Brooklyn Movement Center.
This event is co-sponsored by the New York Jewish Coalition on Criminal Justice Reform, Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, and New York Jewish Agenda.
Alvin Bragg is the incoming Manhattan District Attorney. Most recently, Alvin served as the Chief Deputy Attorney General in New York State where he oversaw some of the office’s biggest cases, including suing Harvey Weinstein and his company for the existence of a hostile work environment; challenging the Trump administration over the census for its inclusion of a citizenship question; and bringing significant criminal charges in bribery, securities fraud, and Medicaid fraud matters. Previously Alvin served as Executive Deputy Attorney General (EDAG) for Social Justice and organized and served as the first Chief of a special unit that investigated police-involved killings. Alvin earned his A.B. in Government (cum laude, general studies) from Harvard and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He was on the first-place team in the Ames Moot Court Competition and was an editor for the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. Alvin is a member of the Board of Directors of The Legal Aid Society, a former member of the Board of Directors of the New York Urban League, and a Sunday School teacher at the Abyssinian Baptist Church. He lives in Harlem with his wife Jamila and two children.
Udi Ofer is the Deputy National Political Director of the ACLU and Director of the ACLU’s Justice Division, which leads the ACLU’s political, legislative, and electoral advocacy on criminal justice reform, policing, drug law reform and ending the death penalty. It also includes the Campaign for Smart Justice, which is the ACLU’s unprecedented campaign to cut nationwide incarceration rates by 50 percent and challenge racism in the criminal legal system. Since 2018, Ofer has also been a visiting lecturer at Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs. During his tenure at the ACLU, Ofer has overseen advocacy efforts that have led to passage of hundreds of laws that will lead to tens of thousands of fewer people incarcerated. Ofer has more than 20 years of experience as a civil rights lawyer and policy advocate. From 2003-2013, he worked at the New York Civil Liberties Union, where he founded the Advocacy Department. There he challenged the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices and spearheaded the successful effort to pass legislation banning racial profiling by the NYPD and creating an NYPD Inspector General’s office. Ofer was also a co-founder of Communities United for Police Reform in New York City. Ofer is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Distinguished Graduate Award from Fordham Law School, a presidential award from the Open Society Foundations, and a proclamation from the New York City Council for his outstanding service to the city and state. He is a graduate of Fordham University School of Law and the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Renita Francois is the Executive Director of the Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety. Ms. Francois previously served as the deputy director for three years, developing innovative strategies, like NeighborhoodStat, that bring government and citizens together to address quality of life and safety in NYC’s public housing developments and surrounding neighborhoods. Her experience serving as a resource coordinator working directly for the juvenile justice bench at Brooklyn Family Court, and as a frontline staff member for public housing programs in both Los Angeles and Compton, California, give Ms. Francois unique insight into the multilayered challenges facing vulnerable communities. Renita Francois holds a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley and an MBA from Cornell University.
Hannah E. Meyers is director of the policing and public safety initiative at the Manhattan Institute. Most recently, she managed corporate and private investigation teams for an international firm and directed research strategy for a counter-extremism NGO. She served for five years with the Intelligence Bureau of the New York City Police Department, partnering with detectives on counterterrorism investigations and bringing one of the first state-level terrorism cases to prosecution. During her time at NYPD, she also supervised an intelligence analysis team and was seconded to the FBI. Earlier in her career, Hannah did think tank research pertaining to terrorism and human rights, was a contributing writer on a variety of topics, and served as deputy director of policy for a New York State gubernatorial nominee. She holds an M.A. in international relations from Yale University—for which she performed research embedded with British law enforcement—and a B.A. in government from Dartmouth College.
Anthonine Pierre is a dynamic community organizer, putting her problem-solving skills to work on everything from building Black power in a gentrifying neighborhood to ending sexualized street harassment in Central Brooklyn. She centers collective liberation and a commitment to personal sustainability in her leadership. As the Deputy Director of the Brooklyn Movement Center (BMC), Anthonine provides strategic leadership and daily management of the organization’s organizing, operations and communications efforts. Anthonine’s organizing career dates back to her youth organizing start at Brooklyn Technical High School and with the Prospect Park Alliance Youth Council. She has also held positions at the Children’s Defense Fund-NY, the Manhattan Borough President’s Office and the Advocacy Institute. When she’s not trying to move dope people together towards the Black Future, you can find her biking around her native Flatbush with her husband, Jeffrey.