What We're Reading: FORWARD Issue #3: Community Safety

"I’ve witnessed how public art can draw attention to issues of community safety, awaken empathy, mobilize a community, and even generate dialogue between people holding differing opinions," writes Mallory Rukhsana Nezam, guest editor for Issue 3 of FORWARD, focused on community safety.

"And yet I have also witnessed where such values and outcomes were not allowed, the rooms artists were not let into, the conversations that continued to happen behind closed doors no matter how potent the artwork or revered the artist. I desired to see artworks more candidly tackle the systems directly impacting community safety, from housing policy to environmental racism. ” In this issue, contributing authors share arts-led approaches to addressing and reimagining public safety from policing and the carceral system to abolition and freedom from harm.

"How Artists Reimagine Public Safety as Community Safety by Prioritizing Healing, Expression, and Community Control," by Andrea Jenkins and "The arts can be a powerful means of calling attention to injustice and to the need for inclusion and safety" by André de Quadros are two of the featured essays exploring what's possible when artists and culture bearers reimagine public safety systems with communities. Nezam reminds us, "artists are leading the charge to retool community safety to center justice and healing, through processes that are no longer top-down or White-centered.”

Read the full issue here.