Our Portfolio

Pillars of the Community

Grant Type: General Operating

Duration: January 1, 2021 - December 31, 2021

Organization Overview

Pillars of the Community (POTC) builds community through organizing, leadership development, and strategic partnerships while striving to counter the criminalization of marginalized people. POTC envisions a healthy and thriving Southeast San Diego that reflects the rich and diverse culture of all its members.


POTC’s programs integrate direct action, research, political education, civic engagement, and asset-based organizing. POTC’s Criminal Justice Accountability programs use a bottom-up approach to community organizing and training those closest to the pain to become community leaders through doing. In 2020, POTC sued California’s attorney general, demanding he shut down the state’s gang database, which unfairly targets low-income people of color. They also earned broad recognition for their efforts to train and pay incarcerated organizers to mobilize other incarcerated people who were eligible to vote. POTC’s core programs revolve around police harassment, gang documentation, cash bail, sentence enhancements, racial profiling, felony voter enfranchisement, and challenging cruel and unusual punishment in sentencing. Information gleaned and shared from these programs is used to put pressure on local elected officials, boards, and commissions to be accountable to the communities they serve. At the same time, the process teaches participants where power lies and how to create sustainable change. Through shared knowledge and experience, community members will work collectively to decrease the criminalization of the community and move into influential positions.

Year founded: 2012

Location: San Diego, CA

Website: https://www.potcsd.org/


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ICYMI Catch @VigneshR in conversation with @kmshaikh on @TwitterSpaces about how Muslims are portrayed in popular… (link)