Act Now

ACT NOW Programs

ACT NOW Values & Approach

ACT NOW gathers together citizens, local leaders, civil rights activists, law enforcement, government agencies, faith organizations and others from diverse communities.

We recognize our partners may have experienced trauma, oppression and/or disempowerment. And so, we take special care to create safe spaces for collaboration through human-centered programming.

Our programs are co-designed, co-implemented and co-evaluated by our community partners. We believe this is necessary to build capacity and civic engagement.

ACT NOW Program Pillars

Our approach builds on three program pillars: small group Listening Sessions, community-wide Breaking Bread Events, and organized local action groups called Justice Circles. ACT NOW provides the framework and tools to help these groups succeed. 

Listening Sessions

Before we act, we listen –Especially to the voices who are most often not heard.

Breaking Bread Events

Breaking Bread events bring diverse groups into close proximity to share a meal and tell one another their stories.

Action through Justice Circles

A Justice Circle is a collaboration of  citizens, local leaders, civil rights activists, law enforcement, government agencies, and faith organizations.

  1. Listening sessions give voice to those most impacted by policing practices and identify areas for dialogue.
  2. Listening sessions are kept relatively small to ensure every person has an opportunity to share.
  3. They are held in neighborhoods and include people seldom invited to the table to discuss community safety.
  4. ACT NOW includes rank and file officers in listening sessions to learn from their experience and explore strategies that will keep communities safe.
  1. They establish a broader platform for community engagement with marginalized populations.
  2. They create a safe space for inclusion and dialogue.
  3. These events help establish higher levels of awareness, empathy, and trust. 
  4. They help a community build the ‘will’ to tackle broader issues of injustice, inequality and quality of life. 
  1. Justice Circles seek to create change in their communities on issues informed by Listening Sessions and Breaking Bread events.
  2. These groups receive support and tools from ACT NOW helping them create solutions tailored to solve problems in their communities.
  3. They focus their efforts locally and also become a part of a nation-wide network that shares best practices.

ACT NOW Strategic Emphasis

Youth - Focused

ACT NOW sites will identify and support youth programs that provide interventions designed to keep young people out of the system. 

Sites are working with a cadre of justice navigators that will connect young people to mental health services, job training, and create attachment to programs and services that build resiliency.

Deflection & Prevention

Communities participating in ACT NOW 2.0 will create deflection/diversion programs designed to keep marginalized youth out of the criminal justice system. 

70% of youth involved in the criminal justice system become repeat offenders and struggle to complete their educational goals and find it challenging to find meaningful employment.


Use of local data to help communities understand the issues, inform responses, and measure impact. 

Replication of innovations and promising practices such as justice navigators that divert youth from involvement in the criminal justice system and promote resilience, wellbeing and employment.

ACT NOW Community Outcomes

ACT NOW Sites are making meaningful change in their communities. Each site is unique and addresses issues most important in their community. Below is a sampling of what local action groups have been up to…

Oklahoma City is tackling gun violence from a public health perspective, addressing jail reform, and leveraging technology to improve traffic stop safety.

Martin County, Kentucky is embracing trauma-informed policing and deflection to treatment with extended transition support. They are leveraging opioid settlement money to support activities.

Chicago, Illinois People’s Commission has built partnerships with professional sport teams and enabled youth-driven safety plans.

Dallas, Texas has held intensive police-community dialogues with police cadets and their Together we Dine model is becoming a permanent part of cadet training.

Washtenaw County, Michigan held a Summit on Community Violence Interventions.

The Pascua Yaqui Tribe in Tucson has focused on the school to prison pipeline and transitioned their department from BIA. 

Wind River Reservation is focusing on murdered indigenous women and is providing technical assistance on policing tactics to improve trust and legitimacy. 

Nashville, Tennessee is creating joint police/community partnerships to address community needs.