The Amp: Five Tips to Center People in Justice Reform

We all deserve to live in communities where we feel safe. And true community safety includes feeling safe from violence by the state, which includes the police. Achieving this vision requires centering values that promote human dignity to prevent harm, ensure equal justice, and focus on restoration, not punishment.

Across the nation, however, local print and television news headlines are filled with reports of crime and violence. Without nuance or context, headlines describing crime trends add oxygen to narratives that threaten to stimy political momentum and public support for criminal justice reform. We’ve seen this before. The Philadelphia Inquirer’s latest investigative report on the roots of systemic racism in America, “Lights. Camera. Crime,” details the rise of “infotainment” television news that stoked racist stereotypes about BIPOC communities and clouded audiences’ perception of decreasing crime rates throughout the ’90s.

To help you message the moment, we’ve updated our Criminal Justice Reform Phrase Guide. Our people-first language grids provide quick reference points for how to avoid dehumanizing labels that foster stigma and fear. Be sure to check out tip #2 for VPSA guidance to pivot away from dominant narratives and toward an affirmative story about how systemic reforms to our criminal legal system provide a roadmap toward true community safety.

Messaging guidance:


Hashtags: #BeyondPolicing; #EndTheDisparity

The Amp: Sports Narratives We’re Tracking

The Opening Ceremony for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing kicks off a month filled with major sports media events. Upcoming events include the Super Bowl on Feb. 13 and the NBA All-Star Game, which occurs the weekend of Feb. 19 – 20. On top of this, the Washington Football Team announced its new name today, after retiring its racist original name and mascot last year in response to years of work by Indigenous advocates, including our Creative Change alumna Suzan Harjo.

This historic change reminds us that we, as advocates, are uniquely positioned to help shape narratives with a lens towards equity, justice, and systemic solutions. And you don’t have to be an expert sports analyst to add value to the conversation. Here are the potential narratives we’ll be tracking around this month’s sport events:

  • Olympic athletes taking a stance on social justice issues during the Games, including anti-Asian racism throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Critique of China’s human rights record as host of the Winter Olympics.
  • Change the Name advocacy beyond the Washington Football Team.
  • Creative interventions for racial justice during the Super Bowl halftime show, which will feature Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar.

Rely on our 5 tips to decide how and when to comment on these and emerging sports narratives. Cite the values of Voice, Equality, and Community.

Messaging guidance:


Hashtags: #Beijing2022; #WinterOlympics; #ChangeTheName; #StopTheChop; #NBAAllStar



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