Last year’s Netflix miniseries When They See Us wasn’t simply a dramatization of the Central Park Five trial. It was a rallying cry to transform the criminal justice system by looking more closely at the district attorneys who prosecute people of color for political gain. Civil rights organization Color of Change teamed up with director Ava DuVernay to steer viewers to the nonprofit’s Winning Justice project, which encourages voters to “reimagine what a prosecutor could look like,” says Color of Change VP and chief of campaigns Arisha Hatch. The initiative, which includes an online database with info on more than 2,400 prosecutors across the country, provides voters with tools and resources to pressure DAs to eliminate cash bail for nonviolent offenses, for example, and end prosecution for petty drug crimes—or elect better prosecutors. So far, Hatch says, the nonprofit has helped more than a dozen reform-minded DAs win office: “We’re changing the landscape of what is acceptable behavior among prosecutors.”
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A version of this article appeared in the March/April 2020 issue of Fast Company magazine.