2025 Design-Your-Own Fellowship Applications are Open

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Headshot of Wilson Baker

Wilson Baker

  • Hosted by American Civil Liberties Union, Disability Rights Project
  • Sponsored by Anonymous
  • Service location San Francisco, California
  • Law school University of California, Berkeley School of Law
  • Issue area Criminal Justice Reform, Disability Rights
  • Fellowship class year 2023
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Wilson will advocate to build fully funded alternatives to police that consider the unique cultural needs of people of color and people with disabilities.

More than half of Black people with disabilities in the United States are arrested by the time they turn 28. Police are sixteen times more likely to kill someone with a disability than a person without a disability, and three times more likely to kill a Black person than a white person. Many arrests and deaths happen when the victim is in a mental or behavioral health crisis. In most cities the existing crisis response service is a police officer with handcuffs and a gun. When police respond, the situation often escalates into an arrest, or a death–especially for people of color.

Fellowship Plans

Wilson’s project will use novel legal arguments rooted in equal protection, disability rights, and racial justice to litigate, advocate, and educate for a fully funded non-policing mental health crisis response in California. Wilson will work alongside community members and organizers, and he will leverage his personal experiences to help shape a community-led and culturally responsive alternative to police. Wilson will also develop a resource manual that will collect examples of alternatives to police in other jurisdictions as well as outline how to build emergency response and community treatment infrastructure.

Wilson’s experience supporting people with mental health disabilities at all stages in the criminal legal system inspired him to focus on police interactions. By working to limit police interactions and providing fully funded mobile crisis responses, Wilson’s project will reduce the number of people who are trapped in the criminal legal system.

My Equal Justice Works Fellowship provides me an opportunity to serve my community by protecting people from the harms that come when people of color and people with disabilities have unnecessary interactions with police.

Wilson Baker /
2023 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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Sponsor: Greenberg Traurig, LLP