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Headshot of Kabbas Azhar

Kabbas Azhar

  • Hosted by Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
  • Sponsored by Boston University School of Law, The Michael D. Fricklas and Donna J. Astion Foundation
  • Service location Washington, District of Columbia
  • Law school Boston University School of Law
  • Issue area Housing - Affordable Housing/Microfinance, Technology
  • Fellowship class year 2024
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Kabbas (he/they) in partnership with EPIC, will address the systemic surveillance and criminalization of public housing residents via coalition building, open government records requests, and state and federal legislative advocacy.

Public housing residents are subjected to constant surveillance and control by law enforcement and housing authorities. Surveillance, in combination with truncated Fourth Amendment rights and draconian HUD policies, penalize and evict residents while driving mass incarceration. Advances in surveillance systems have enabled more precise, targeted discrimination to enforce “broken windows” policing that reinforce the decades-long racialized myth of public housing as a site of crime. These discriminatory surveillance systems operate with no public accountability or scrutiny and use up funding that could address public housing residents’ own demands.

Fellowship Plans

During the fellowship, Kabbas will work with public housing residents to fight against the discriminatory impact of public housing surveillance. Kabbas will file Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to unearth when and how surveillance systems are being used against public housing residents, the rationales used to justify implementation of these systems, and identify how they fall short. Kabbas will partner with public housing residents to center their demands as well as publicize the discriminatory effects of surveillance. In addition, Kabbas will advocate for state and federal legislative policies that will provide greater protections for public housing residents.

Public housing residents are surveilled in the name of safety and security. My Equal Justice Works fellowship has allowed me to partner with public housing residents and center their demands on what truly makes for safe and secure communities.

Kabbas Azhar /
2024 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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Sponsor: Eversheds Sutherland, The Home Depot

Christopher Kradle

Host: Housing Justice Center

Sponsor: AmeriCorps VISTA, Housing Justice Center

Bradley Freedman

Host: Bread for the City

Sponsor: AmeriCorps VISTA, Bread for the City