Green Chairs, Not Green Lights is a campaign to create community safety. It calls on us to return to our front porches and see each other as neighbors. It takes seriously the need to end the dangerous technological surveillance of Project Green Light and facial recognition, and offers a path to real safety for our families and children. By committing to sitting on our porches, we are able to see humanity in each other. Over the last three years we have had enough experience with being watched by Project Green Light to know it does not make us safer. Through our collaborative research, we determined that law enforcement and organizations who create, organize, enforce, or innovate from a security or surveillance mindset, tend to make community members less safe. We also know through Gender Shade's groundbreaking research, that facial recognition consistently misidentifies people of color. Michael Oliver and Robert Williams were wrongly arrested after being misidentified by the technology.
We launched this campaign in hopes that our neighbors all over Detroit and beyond will return to their front porches and look out for one another. That we all look out of our windows and see our children as they play in our neighborhoods, and our elders as they return to their homes in the evenings, to ensure their safety. We can come together and learn how to de-escalate the tensions and stresses of daily life that erode our relationships. And that we ensure that those around us have their quality of life issues met, thereby reducing quality of life crime.
We know that resourced and involved communities tend to be safer. Let us lean towards one another, divest from harmful surveillance technologies, and invest in our communities. We hope you will join this campaign by returning to your front porches and looking out for each other again.
Green Chairs, Not Green Lights is a collaboration between Feedom Freedom Growers, the Birwood Community House, Alkebu-Lan Village, Petty Propolis, the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition, and the James and Grace Lee Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership.
BY ISABELLE BROGNA, FELLOW AT DETROIT COMMUNITY TECHNOLOGY PROJECT / OCTOBER 19, 2020 @ 6:35 PM
(Riverwise Magazine feature)
(This video is one part of an online lesson for the Emergency ESC initiative of the Center for Ethics, Society, and Computing at the University of Michigan.)