The booklet's design was informed by two listening sessions co-facilitated by me and PG Watkins, during which we met with Detroit-based organizers and community leaders to understand how this report's findings might be useful to them and how they would use a printed version to engage with their own communities around their ongoing organizing priorities. Based on those sessions, we designed a visual language for the book based loosely on the vernacular of graphic novels. The design transforms the content of the research report into an engaging and digestible format, allows the Detroiters who contributed to the study to take up space with large-scale pull-quotes highlighting their words, and can be reproduced at home or professionaly, so it remains accessible to Detroiters. From the book's description:
In October of 2018, the Detroit chapter of the national organization Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100) launched a campaign to challenge the expansion of police surveillance under Project Green Light, the city’s public-private surveillance partnership. The campaign eventually evolved into Green Light Black Futures (GLBF), a Black-centered and queer led coalition committed to challenging the use of hyper-surveillance, over-policing, and facial recognition technology across Detroit. Between 2019 and 2021, GLBF built a coalition of local and national organizations, individuals, and community members who mobilized toward building safety, justice, and a culture of abolition across Detroit.
From 2019 to 2021, GLBF members designed and disseminated the Community Safety Survey. The survey gathered opinions on safety and surveillance, documented community members’ experiences with Project Green Light, and collected people’s understanding of safety throughout Detroit’s neighborhoods. For the past two years, members of the GLBF research team have continued conducting research, analyzing data, interviewing community members, and holding listening sessions to ensure that findings from the Safety Survey were substantiated and made publicly available.
This full report We Want Safety Not Surveillance: What Safety Means and What Residents Want, includes the survey’s data alongside analysis of local political contexts, histories of surveillance, and traditions of resistance to pervasive policing in Detroit, as well as community-driven recommendations for how we can move forward. Besides uplifting the knowledge, opinions, and expertise of Detroiters, the report foregrounds community members’ understandings of safety and concerns about surveillance, which has not been comprehensively incorporated in past evaluations of Project Green Light by the Detroit Board of Police Commissioners and the Detroit City Council.