Manufacturing Dissent Since 1996
New interviews throughout the week

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


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.

Share Tweet Send



Janae Bonsu

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


Related Interviews
More with Janae Bonsu