Good Cops? Bad Cops? More Cops? No Cops?

Throughout the spring and summer of 2020, people across the country protested racism and police brutality. After watching Black people like George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, Tony McDade, Elijah McClain, and too many more be killed by police, people everywhere proclaimed BLACK LIVES MATTER! They called for defunding the police, reforming the police, and holding police accountable to the communities they’re supposed to serve and protect.

But what does police accountability actually look like in NYC? How can we reimagine public safety? How can young people be involved?

In the Fall of 2020, CUP collaborated with Teaching Artist Marianna Olinger and public high school students from the Red Hook Community Justice Center. For this project, which was done remotely due to the Covid-19 pandemic, students created silkscreened posters at home, interviewed stakeholders and decision makers over Zoom, and worked online to collaboratively edit together a short documentary film that explores ideas of police accountability and public safety. 

The crew gathered what they learned and created Good Cops? Bad Cops? More Cops? No Cops? — a short video that breaks down the issue. Watch the film below!

Students debuted their final project virtually through a public presentation, where they presented their film and shared their creative process to almost one hundred attendees. Students also shared their project with other youth in the community through several peer-to-peer workshops. CUP students screened their film, shared their creative process, and faciliated conversations about the issue in small groups.

See more photos of students in action here!

Check out the students debut presentation below!

What People Are Saying

“This is a really important topic and important program that can help us young people be activists in our community and represent what’s wrong and what’s right […] If we can, as young people, help others be aware of problems that are affecting not only young people but the Black and Hispanic and other races community in its entirety. It makes me feel better as a person.” – Stiven Vasquez, Student

“[This program] gives us a voice, because, I know like me, like I really don’t know how to have my voice heard. So this [program] really like gives me a way to get my voice heard. And we interview people, so that’s another plus to get our voice heard and to get additional information.” - Ronny Medina, Student

“I felt like it was a relief and I felt accomplished to know that we came this far and gained so much knowledge. Coming into this, I knew about [the issue], but I learned so much more from this project. And actually giving this information to kids in my same neighborhood was great!” – Brandon Vasquez, Student

Resources & Links

The Red Hook Community Justice Center is the nation’s first multi-jurisdictional community court. The Center seeks to solve neighborhood problems in southwest Brooklyn.

Funding Support

Support for this project was provided by Jenn Damm, Jim & Birte Falconer, Iben Falconer & Neil Donnelly, Gabriel Gordon, Fielding Hong, Sunmoon Jang, Lauren Jones, Rebecca Karp, Beom Jun Kim & Leticia Wouk Almino, Inbar Kishoni, Lauren Kogod & David Smiley, Maggie Kraus, Metropolitan Paper Recycling Inc., Ayanna Oliver-Taylor, Jeremy Robinson-Leon, Tal Schori, Leigh Taylor, Chat Travieso, Wax Studios, Dan Wiley, Mariel Villere & Alexander Bender, Mari Yahagi, the CUP Board of Directors, and more than 450 CUP supporters. 

Additional support was provided through a Teach For America – Reinvention Lab Enduring Ideas Award.

Special Thanks

Eric Adams, Tiffany Eason, Carolyn Martinez-Class, and Adam Vitale.


  • CUP
  • Teaching Artist
  • Marianna Olinger
  • Project Lead
  • Fielding Hong
  • Project Support
  • Annie Tor
  • Red Hook Community Justice Center
  • Students
  • Akeelah Hargett Baldwin, Sullivan Hunter, Ronny Medina, Hollis Rivera, Brandon Vasqeuz, Stiven Vasquez
  • with help from Juliana Naughton, Anthony Gonzaga Campos
  • Deputy Director
  • Viviana Gordon

    • Associate Director of Youth and Community Programs
    • Sabrina Carter

    • Coordinator of RHCJC Resilience Corps
    • Leslie Gonzaga

    • Americorps Interns
    • Adame Belay, Katherine Ortiz


Civically Engaged Project-Based Learning, Virtually
  • The Reinvention Lab via
  • October 30, 2020

How the Center for Urban Pedagogy is pushing for more relevant, community-based learning in the age of Coronavirus and calls for racial justice.