Moving public
defender advocacy
outside of court.

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The Latest

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ABOUT

Zealous is a national initiative created and led by public defenders to identify, harness and enhance the power of public defenders and defender offices across the country to end mass criminalization.

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BUILDING THE DEFENDER MOVEMENT

Zealous is building a coordinated community of bold, strategic, and confident public defender advocates prepared to step outside of court, forge and strengthen critical alliances, create high impact campaigns, harness media instead of running from it, and take the passion and fight they bring to their work every day to the streets and halls of power to demand, effectively, what every person deserves: basic fairness.

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Learning

Learning

from leaders in an array of disciplines: storytelling, organizing, policymaking, journalism, technology, design, and social media.

Collaborating

Collaborating

with fellow public defenders from around the country and challenging each other to shift the narrative around what “justice” should look like.

Strategizing

Strategizing

how to build powerful campaigns and coalitions that can transform criminal legal systems locally and nationally.

Launching

Launching

a coordinated national community of defenders equipped to leverage their expertise to maximize policy impact.

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Why Defenders?

We Are
Advocates

We fight in court, but many of the injustices we see cannot be changed from inside alone. Outside of court, we can challenge the public narrative and move lawmakers to change laws for the better.

We Are
Witnesses

We see and understand how the web of racist, unfair, and wasteful criminal laws and policies exacerbate poverty and public health issues and devastate lives without making communities safer.

We are
Experts

We are uniquely positioned to help in the fight to end mass criminalization alongside grassroots organizers and those who are directly impacted.

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The topics and skills our community of defenders are learning include:

Storytelling

Communicate experiences for maximum impact.

Collaboration

Identify key allies and build trust to fight together.

Campaigns

Use multi-dimensional strategies to change laws.

Social Media

Harness new tools to raise awareness and drive action.

Traditional Media

Work with journalists to share the injustices we see.

New Media

Propel policy advocacy with video, web, data, technology, and art.

Narrative Shifting

Command language to disrupt the status quo.

Media and Ethics

Be thoughtful and deliberate in how we share.