Sorry for the dearth of posting. Finals and such.... anyway, I have been meaning to post about the ATAC rally I went to on Monday (you can actually see me in one of the pictures). I didn't get to stay around for the whole thing, but I did get the chance to talk to a few of the organizers.
I was quite pleased by what I heard - previously I've been slightly critical of what I thought was the group's focus (ending officer furloughs and east side neighborhoods). After talking to the organizers a bit, I'm glad to be fairly wrong in my initial impression. They are much more focused on educating the population about how to take positive action in their own community. To that end, they are trying to turn their website into a repository of knowledge.
They are trying to put pressure on elected officials (which I wholeheartedly support), but they aren't trying to advocate for any specific policies at this point. I was quite impressed by the fact that the organizers realize our crime problem isn't as simple as "more cops". We talked at length about how so many different aspects of public policy touch on the issue (housing, education, etc.). Not that I'm anything like an expert - far from it, in fact.
The key will be keeping things going, and continuing to build a movement that can speak with authority to our elected officials. This sort of community organizing is exhaustive and pays nothing, so a lot of credit needs to go to the folks behind ATAC. Hopefully I'll be able to get more involved in the future.