Hard Hitting ‘Need To Talk’ Billboard

Tristan Cotterill

Positioned directly in front of the Times Square NYPD station, interdisciplinary architecture and design firm Cactus partnered with the The Justice Collaborative’s ‘Need to Talk’ campaign and Color of Change, to bluntly engage with New Yorkers and the country with a new, digital billboard about policing in the city and investing in alternative solutions to prevent violence, support our youth and remedy homelessness.

With Cactus’ creative direction and design, the billboard aims to spark an urgent conversation about the disparities between funds dedicated to policing compared to other social programs and interventions.

The billboard’s messaging begins with the powerful lines “Hey NYPD. It’s us. NYC residents. the ones who pay your salary. We paid $300 million to settle your lawsuits. You paid nothing. We need to talk.”

Its simple design, focusing on numbers and statistics that back inarguable facts, creates a powerful and resounding impact.

The organisers made note that…

  • The USD 300 Million used to settle NYPD lawsuits, could be instead used to fund non-police violence interruption programs and summer youth employment for the next five years.
  • The USD 327 Million used to pay Police Officers stationed in schools, that have no impact on public safety, could be instead used on funding full four-year scholarships to over 4,000 students to attend NY-state colleges.
  • The USD 635 Million used to pay Police Officer’s overtime, could be used to pay to house over 14,000 homeless families currently living in NYC. And then pay for a year’s rent for 7,000 families who are out of work and in risk of eviction due COVID-19.

The end of the video invites people to visit Need-To-Talk.org, a website created by the Justice Collaborative, that asks people to imagine a better way to prevent violence, support youth, and remedy homelessness.

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