Know Your District Attorney
The District Attorney has tremendous power to impact the lives of thousands of people, their families, and entire communities. If someone is accused of committing a crime, it is not the police but the DA who has the sole power to decide if criminal charges are filed and the severity of those charges. They alone decide who is deserving of a jail or prison sentence and who will instead be routed into a diversion program to help rebuild their life, or have charges dismissed.
Alameda County’s criminal justice system is broken. Currently more than 60% of charges brought against adults were non-violent, low-level offenses that could have been directed to diversion programs. A recent report from the U.S. Department of Justice study found that from 2009 to 2017, only 229 cases were prosecuted in the Behavioral Health Court in Alameda County. That is barely two cases per month every year. The status quo of the leadership in the DA’s office is not working. The time for change is now. This is our chance to elect a leader who will support alternatives to incarceration, end the practice of charging youth as adults, and support investments in community.
We launched our exciting new Arts, Culture & Democracy project with the help of talented Bay Area illustrator, Valeria Olguin, and animator, Kevin Ford who joined our team earlier this year. Artists and cultural workers possess the incredible power to shape minds and the political landscape, and shift the narrative. Valeria and Kevin created fun and engaging materials to help educate and mobilize our neighbors who might not be politically engaged, but are profoundly impacted by the system. We have a full slate of campaigns this season. What better way to get community members involved than by creating fun and relatable characters + storylines that help them understand how policy impacts our everyday lives?
Our artists played a pivotal role in creating illustrations and animations for an array of materials including zines, postcards, posters, tote bags, and digital ads. As we attend community events and knock on doors of neighbors, these will help us engage our immigrant, BIPOC, youth, and formerly-incarcerated community members about crucial political education campaigns, including the role of our elected district attorney who holds the power to have the system move away from incarceration.
Meet the artists:
(ADD PIC) Valeria Olguin, Illustrator – Valeria Olguin is an accomplished artist and passionate community organizer who has dedicated her life and artwork to combating the issues affecting her community, her family, and herself. As a person with many intersecting identities, her work revolves around crafting a world where our communities are truly represented and their stories are given a voice. And as she puts it – “using art as a tool with the goal of liberation.” Valeria’s expertise in community organizing with undocumented and Spanish-speaking communities ensures that our assets will be accessible to a wide range of hard-to-reach community members. Check out Valeria’s illustration used in our digital ad for our Democracy Dollars program which played a pivotal role in securing funds for the program in the Oakland budget for 2026 (ADD LINK).
(ADD PIC) Kevin Ford, Animator