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Chicago's gang database casts an invisible net around Black and Brown communities.

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Gang membership in and of itself is not illegal, so why do we need a database that designates and identifies people with that label - which can impact different aspects of their life, from immigration enforcement, sentencing and bail-bond decisions, and even employment and housing if this information is shared with potential employers and public housing who do criminal background checks. This is not a small issue. This is something that needs to be addressed.

Policy researcher Janae Bonsu explains how Chicago's secret, massive Gang Database criminalizes entire communities of color - by identifying and cataloging suspected gang members through flawed criteria, and distributing that data upwards, across a larger framework of state and federal surveillance networks operating in secret, and targeting Black and Brown neighborhoods.

Janae is the lead author of the report Tracked & Targeted: Early Findings on Chicago’s Gang Database.

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Janae Bonsu

Janae Bonsu is an activist-scholar and organizer based in Chicago.

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