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Publisher's Summary

A groundbreaking new vision for public safety that overturns more than 200 years of fear-based discrimination, othering, and punishment.

As the effects of aggressive policing and mass incarceration harm historically marginalized communities and tear families apart, how do we define safety? In a time when the most powerful institutions in the United States are embracing the repressive and racist systems that keep many communities struggling and in fear, we need to reimagine what safety means. Community leader and lawyer Zach Norris lays out a radical way to shift the conversation about public safety away from fear and punishment and toward growth and support systems for our families and communities. In order to truly be safe, we are going to have to dismantle our mentality of "Us vs. Them". By bridging the divides and building relationships with one another, we can dedicate ourselves to strategic, smart investments - meaning resources directed toward our stability and well-being, like health care and housing, education and living-wage jobs. This is where real safety begins.

In this book Zach Norris provides a blueprint of how to hold people accountable while still holding them in community. The result reinstates full humanity and agency for everyone who has been dehumanized and traumatized, so they can participate fully in life, in society, and in the fabric of our democracy.

©2020 Zach Norris and Van Jones (P)2020 Beacon Press

Critic Reviews

"An urgent call for safer, more inclusive communities for everyone.... Highly illuminating account of the changes required to create a more democratic society for all." (Kirkus Reviews)

"Progressive activists, community organizers, and elected officials should take note of this commonsense guide." (Publishers Weekly)

"Bright, talented, compassionate, strategic, and committed...Norris’s insights and story will be an enormously important contribution in the effort to advance human rights in this country." (Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy)

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  • Mark R. Hamlin
  • 31-12-2020

Definitely a must read for our times

I intend to buy copies for friends and recommend this book to everyone I know. I believe in all of Zach's strategies and intend to contribute to the work of making them work in our society. I am so grateful to find this kind of book. It is not about what is wrong with our society, but what we can do to make it better.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 27-11-2020

A Compelling Must-Listen for Building a Better, More Just Nation

I highly recommend this outstanding book. In a powerful and humane way, Zach Norris shows us how we can build a better, more just nation by creating a culture of caring and recognizing our true interdependence. In “We Keep Us Safe,” Zach calls out our framework of fear and shows us how to move beyond it, to a system of restorative justice and a stronger social safety net. And it’s more than words: Zach walks the talk through his own life and the stories he shares. If you are wrestling with 2020’s massive challenges and looking for a path forward, I urge you to read this compelling book.

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  • Jennifer Zilliac
  • 08-09-2020

Please read this book! It's a roadmap for harmony.

The fractures that have spread out across nearly every aspect of society in the United States have resulted in wide-eyed paralysis among many well-meaning white people like myself. Speaking as a white person, I see the injustice of systemic racism, I want to be free from my privileged status, I want a level playing field, and I want the joy of loving connections with humanity. But what can I do, realistically?

Zach Norris pulls together ideas that have, in some cases, been around for centuries, and weaves them together into the vision of a culture of caring that we can set into motion ourselves.

It all begins with connecting more. Recognize disconnection and begin fostering healthy human connections all around you. And read the book. :-) There's a lot more there. You can do this.

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.