MOVING ADVOCACY OUT OF COURT.

Public defenders and defender offices are an untapped reservoir of expertise and energy to transform the systems that harm and deprive the vast majority of people hauled into them access to justice.

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Zealous is building a coordinated community of bold and strategic public defender advocates. To step outside of court. To forge and strengthen critical alliances. To harness media. To create high impact campaigns. And to take the passion and fight they bring to their work every day to the streets and halls of power to demand better for all.





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Defenders

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.

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.

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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What public defender advocacy takes:

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.

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ZEALOUS INSTITUTE 2019

In September 2019, Zealous launched a new community of defenders and held its first national training: An all-expenses-paid media and movement building event in Brooklyn for 52 defenders, representing 42 different offices, in 27 different states. The immersive training combined plenary sessions with interactive, small group workshops led by a range of expert facilitators from a wide variety of fields.

See Recap Video LEARN MORE ABOUT LAST'S YEAR'S EVENT

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The Team

people

Scott Hechinger

Founder & Director

Crystal Maloney

Chief of Innovation & Strategy