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Rep. Porter, Rep. Pressley, and Rep. Bush Introduce the Community Safety Agenda
Kelsey Reyes's picture

On April 16, 2024, in partnership with the Community Safety Working Group, MomsRising stood with Representative Cori Bush (D-MO), Representative Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), and Representative Katie Porter (D-CA) to present the introduction of the 2024 Community Safety Agenda. 

This press conference brought together a coalition of 70+ advocacy organizations, uplifting priority legislation that champions affirmative, evidence-based approaches to public safety. The current U.S. approach of prioritizing carceral “safety” solutions fails to serve this critical goal. We know that this country can do better and believe that an evidence-based public health approach to safety is how we can make this vision a reality. 

The bills endorsed by the Community Safety Agenda, include, among others: 

  • The People’s Response Act: Introduced by Representatives Cori Bush (MO-01), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Summer Lee (PA-12), and Morgan McGarvey (KY-03) would create a division on Community Safety within the Department of Health and Human Services that would research and fund life-saving alternatives to incarceration and policing, as well as provide funding opportunities for community-based, non-carceral responses to community safety. In 2024, the People’s Response Act gained four additional representatives to 30 cosponsors. Rep. Ramirez (D-IL-3), Rep. Del.Norton (D-DC-At Large), Rep.Doggett (D-TX-37), Rep. Foushee (D-NC-4), and Rep. Jackson (D-IL-1) prove that alternative to community safety is an issue worth fighting for. 

  • The Mental Health Justice Act: Introduced by Representatives Katie Porter (CA-47), Antonio Cárdenas (CA-29), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Mary Scanlon (PA-05), and Senator Warren (D-MA) creates a grant program that allows states, tribes, and localities to hire, train, and dispatch mental health professionals to respond to mental health emergencies when 911, 988, or another emergency hotline is called.

  • The Opening Doors to Youth Act: Introduced by Representatives Jesús Garcia (IL-14), Bobby Scott (VA-03), Frederica Wilson (FL-24), and Jahana Hayes (CT-5) establishes and expand youth employment programs through community-based organizations that provide at-risk and opportunity youth with comprehensive pathways to remain connected or reconnect to education and training systems in addition to the supportive services needed to overcome individual barriers to reconnection.

  • The Counseling Not Criminalization in Schools Act: Introduced by Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) and Senator Chris Murphy(D-CT) prohibits federal funds from being used to keep police in schools. Instead, it directs billions toward hiring counselors and support staff, making schools safer and more supportive for all students.

Kelsey Reyes, a campaign associate on the youth and family justice team at MomsRising, spoke on the failures of the current policing and the disproportionate impacts on Brown and Black communities. 


Alternative to public safety should center on investing in mental health and substance use crises, not criminalization. Individuals with untreated mental health disorders are 16x more likely to be killed during police encounters than people without mental health disorders who are approached or stopped by law enforcement. 

We can and must do better! We must not allow another community member in crisis to be harmed in their moments of greatest need. Every community deserves to feel safe, and have systems that can deliver the adequate, health-based response our communities need. 

MomsRising is proud to stand with this incredible community to advocate for equitable, health-centered, and preventative approaches. We will work with all of you to stop violence and harm before it occurs and to ensure every community has what it needs to flourish. 

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