Podcasts | Thought Leadership | Podcast

Episode 30: We Keep Us Safe with Zach Norris

Listen to Zach Norris and Jhumpa Bhattacharya discuss systems reform and new visions of public safety as they explore takeaways from Zach’s new book, We Keep Us Safe: Building Secure, Just, and Inclusive Communities.

To listen to the full discussion, use the audio player above or subscribe to the Hidden Truths podcast on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or Android. And if you like what you hear, leave a review for Hidden Truths on your favorite podcast platform.

Read the transcript here or download as a PDF.

To learn more about Zach Norris and his work, visit ellabakercenter.org and follow Zach on Twitter at @ZachWNorris. Learn more about and purchase Zach’s book, We Keep Us Safe: Building Secure, Just, and Inclusive Communities, here

Who “deserves” to be safe? And who gets to define safety—and how?

Zach Norris joined Jhumpa Bhattacharya on the podcast to explore these questions and more through a discussion of his powerful new book, We Keep Us Safe: Building Secure, Just, and Inclusive Communities.

Zach is the Executive Director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and co-founder of Restore Oakland, a community advocacy and training center that aims to empower Bay Area community members to transform local economic and justice systems and make a safe and secure future possible for themselves and for their families. Zach is also a co-founder of Justice for Families, a national alliance of family-driven organizations working to end our nation’s youth incarceration epidemic.

Sharing detailed case studies and stories, We Keep Us Safe lays out a blueprint for reimagining our vision of public safety and reforming our justice systems in ways that prioritize constructive care and support over fear and punishment. 

Digging in on the book’s themes and inspiration, Zach and Jhumpa discuss the need to move away from false “he keeps us safe” narratives rooted in white supremacy and patriarchy to a “we keep us safe” model that centers impacted communities and their solutions for change.

“The leadership of this movement for genuine safety needs to come from people who have been hurt first and worst by mass incarceration,” says Zach. “[This movement] ultimately is for the liberation of everybody in this country.”