Tur-Ha Ak & Nicole Deane: Safety, Self-Determination, and Equity for the Disenfranchised [Ep. 146]

If you only have two minutes, click here for a highlight from the interview.

Tur-Ha Ak is the CEO of Urban Protection Industries, a harm reduction security company. He created the unique "harm reduction security" model to provide security for drug rehabilitation clinics in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco in the 1990s. The harm reduction security model emphasizes maintaining and enforcing boundaries within a specific geographical area, and building and utilizing community relationships to enhance security. Urban Protection continues to use this model today as the primary security for the Laurel Business Improvement District in Oakland. Urban Protection has also provided personal security services for Cheryl Davila of Berkeley City Council, Patrisse Cullors of Black Lives Matter, and Cat Brooks (Oakland Mayoral candidate) in the face of heightened threats from white nationalists. 

Tur-Ha is also the founder of Community Ready Corps (CRC), a Black grassroots organization with a mission to organize and empower the Black community towards safety, self determination and equity. Under Tur-Ha’s leadership, CRC has spearheaded and helped build effective multi-racial coalitions that address the most pressing issues facing the Black community in the Bay Area, including the Anti Police-Terror Project (which created the first replicable model nationally for community rapid response to police violence), the State of Black Oakland (a People’s Assembly), and Oakland Justice Coalition. Recognizing that Black people face a triple threat of state, racist vigilante, and inter-communal violence, Tur-Ha has dedicated his life to creating a culture and climate of safety and protection in Black communities by organizing neighborhood safety teams and rapid response networks, and providing free, regular self defense training for children and adults.

Nicole Deane is an organizer, filmmaker, and co-founder of Community Ready Corps (Allies & Accomplices), a cross-class, intergenerational and multi-tendency organization of white people committed to fighting white supremacy. CRC(A) works to move, teach, and support white people to weaponize white privilege and divest of white power, and to organize in a direct and disciplined relationship with Community Ready Corps.


Some highlights from Erin Axelrod’s conversation with Tur-Ha Ak & Nicole Deane include:

  • Community Ready Corps was born in the moment when Oscar Grant was murdered

  • The “Next Economy” really begins with deep discussion of the existing predatory economy that’s built off the backs of disenfranchised people before we can formulate just and equitable next steps, such as achieving self determination for all people (which is CRC’s Prime Objective).

  • Defining the terms “persistent reestablishment of white supremacy” and “The 5 Methods of Weaponization and Divestment of White Power & Privilege

  • How the 2018 Black Solidarity Week began with listening sessions for each of the “9 areas of self determination” to determine ways to best support existing community efforts and how the 2019 Black Solidarity Week (Feb 17-23, 2019) attempts to organize and present a Black Solidarity Agenda and Plan of Action

  • The CRC’s Black Solidarity Fund, already having raised ~$25k of it’s $30k 2019 goal, is now giving out Black Solidarity Micro-grants of $500-$1500, to support existing programs from other organizations and to fund CRC’s programs

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LIFT Economy is an impact consulting firm whose mission is to create, model, and share a locally self-reliant economy that works for the benefit of all life.


Andrew Baskin, Partner & Executive Producer at LIFT Economy, specializes in regenerative ag-related enterprise and impact investing that advances the health of our soil, food-system, and climate.  You can email Andrew at andrew@lifteconomy.com.


Erin Axelrod is a Partner at LIFT Economy, helping to accelerate the spread of climate-beneficial businesses, specializing in businesses that address critical soil and water regeneration. She is an avid ecologist, grassroots organizer and regularly forages for wild food in her home in rural Sonoma County. You can follow Erin on Twitter @erinaxelrod or email her erin@lifteconomy.com.