Q&A: Oakland Architect Deanna Van Buren Is Building a World Without Prisons

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If 2020 has accomplished anything, it has highlighted the many injustices that Black Americans face. As COVID-19 rages on, Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the death of George Floyd and other Black victims of police brutality shake the streets.

Important to this discussion is COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on African Americans—from their overrepresentation in the essential workforce, to a coronavirus mortality rate 2.2 times the rate for Latinos and 2.3 times the rate for Asians and whites.

Though many factors contribute to the one-two punch of racism and a global pandemic affecting Black Americans more than any other population, one major problem is the overrepresentation of Black people in jails, prisons and detention centers. In some U.S. counties, the portion of Black people behind bars is at least 10 times larger than the portion of the surrounding…

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