Our story

build justice.

DAYLIGHT began with an idea that justice work should cross disciplines, sectors, and national boundaries.  Justice is not defined by law, political institutions, or international standards.  Instead, we look to build community justice by strengthening culturally competent voices demanding and leading change. The DAYLIGHT Collective believes that our work is enhanced by the diverse cultures and communities where we seek to understand and build possibilities for change.

At heart, the DAYLIGHT Collective are problem-solvers and fixers. DAYLIGHT seeks to fill the space between the status quo and substantive justice with creativity, diverse voices, and multi-sector approaches and understandings.  Our work relies on local understandings informed global commitments to liberation and justice. Our interventions are defined by local priorities and indigenous voices.  We lead with our commitment to cultural competency.  We listen.

Local and Global

Our work does not change based on national boundaries.  Instead, our work is informed and dictated by local priorities and a deep belief in the potential of communities to create meaningful and durable change. We work in the United States and internationally with an identical philosophy: local communities possess the tools, the knowledge, and the skills.  It is our role to engage and to amplify important voices for justice.

DAYLIGHT works with individuals, local communities, civil society, and governments to promote fairness, justice, and respect for diverse viewpoints, identities, and values. Our international work includes building capacity and community to promote justice, including strengthening civil society in post-conflict and transitional spaces. Our work in the United States does the same, offering to amplify the voices and build the capacity of change agents and important communities that are marginalized in our discourse, our funding, and our policy priorities.

Transformative and Transformational

DAYLIGHT promotes transformational justice in the United States and internationally.  We work with local communities and leaders to define justice and take the steps to make it happen. DAYLIGHT embraces transformative justice analysis, which looks at the systems driving injustice as a principal means of promoting change. Understanding the ways in which rights discourse (including criminalization) may derail the very justice it claims to promote, this "systems approach" sidesteps inadequate and facile analyses that feed toxic treadmills like mass incarceration and the prison industrial complex.  The DAYLIGHT approach starts with identifying the key systems and community (including bystander) interventions that can define and promote substantive justice. 

rule of law and access to justice defined

While rule of law and access to justice refer specifically to sociopolitical institutions, it is communities and individuals who animate their principles.  DAYLIGHT defines rule of law and access to justice to include legitimacy and community support.

Rule of law includes the structures of formal and informal justice that allow citizens the ability to rely on governmental systems to resolve conflict, rather than turning to violent or insurgent forces, or resorting to vigilante justice.  The hallmark of a strong rule of law is the effectiveness of the legal system, headed by  a judiciary but checked at all times by strong defense attorneys and prosecutors, and popular belief that the most safe and effective means to address concerns is to use, rather than avoid, the legal system.  Building rule of law includes building transparency, accountability, expectations, legitimacy, and credibility.  While many developed and developing nations are plagued with corruption, lack of leadership, and other challenges, a strong rule of law may diminish these effects.

Access to justice refers to the ability of people to resort to  the formal and informal justice system in resolving their problems.  The status and access of the most vulnerable groups (women, indigents, people of differing sexual orientation or gender identity, religious minorities, etc.) to justice system solutions is a valuable metric for how effective the rule of law is.  

For resources and information on access to justice and rule of law, click here.