From Richmond to Antioch, organizations work to elect the first African-American and first woman to the office
A coalition of nonprofits, advocacy groups, and labor executed an unprecedented county-wide campaign to talk their neighbors and friends about the power of a district attorney, resulting the election of the first ever African-American and first woman to ever
serve as DA in the county’s 168 year history.
District Attorney Diana Becton, who ran on a bold, progressive platform, now holds an office that just a year ago was occupied by one of the most regressive and corrupt prosecutors in the country. In her short tenure, Becton has begun implementing new internal policies
and procedures to ensure accountability and transparency in the district attorney’s office.
Working a county-wide strategy, Safe Return Project Action, ACCE Action, SEIU 2015 and the Contra Costa Labor Council, spanned from Richmond to Antioch to educate voters on District Attorney Becton’s plan to expand diversion programs, stop the school to prison pipeline,
end a relationship with ICE, and protect workers from unsafe working conditions. Working together, this campaign hosted forums, had over 25,000 conversations, and identified over 9,000 supporters of Diana Becton.
“People directly impacted by criminalization have always known the power that prosecutors has and the major role this office plays when it comes to mass incarceration, said Tamisha Walker, Executive Director of Safe Return Action. “Safe Return Action joined the fight
for a progressive DA, because it was and is important that those who have experienced what it’s like to be disproportionately disenfranchised and excessively sentenced are leading the movement for progressive political power building, the restoration of democracy,
and criminal justice reform”.
“Diana Becton is the change Contra Costa needs. She’s reforming the DA’s office to address the racial disparities in the criminal justice system, and directing resources to crimes like wage left, trafficking, and youth programs,” said Margaret Hanlon-Gradie, Executive
Director of the Contra Costa Labor Council.
members worked hard for Diana Becton because of her commitment to diversion programs for low level crimes and to treatment not incarceration of those with mental illness,” said David Sharples, Executive Director of Contra Costa ACCE.
Local 2015 members are committed to fixing our broken criminal justice system. DA Elect Diana Becton’s commitment to pursuing restorative justice through the use of diversion programs, ending mass incarceration, and providing treatment to those with mental
health and substance use issues, was key to earning the support of our members. We congratulate Diana Becton on her victory and look forward to working with her in Contra Costa!” said Laphonza Butler, President of SEIU Local 2015.
By Margaret Hanlon-Gradie
Executive Director of the Contra Costa Labor Council