Written by one of my (many) favorite authors, Walter Mosley, an article suggesting somewhat concrete ways to make a difference. I don't think I can say it any better so here are the excerpts:
Do your jury duty. If you are a juror in a non-violent drug case, vote not guilty. Jury nullification--an acquittal based on principle--is perfectly legal. The framers intended jurors to be a check on unjust prosecutions and bad laws.
Pay a kid to graduate. A report by the RAND Corporation found that paying students to finish high school prevented more crime than the toughest sentencing laws. Dropping out of school creates a high risk of ending up in jail. Work with your community group or place of worship to create a program to pay at-risk students to graduate from high school.
Come out of the closet about your drug use. War on drugs propaganda says users are bad people. Let your fellow citizens know the real face of the American drug user. Don't be scared.
Hire a formerly incarcerated person. Every year about 600,000 people get out of jail. The odds are against their landing a job, which is a huge factor in why more than half will be re-arrested within a year. Go to Hired Network.
Vote for politicians who are smart on crime. Tougher sentences aren't the answer. In the US, criminal sentences are twice as long as those in England, three times those in Canada and five to ten times those in France. And yet crime rates in US cities are higher than in those nations.
Just say no to the police. When cops request your consent to pat you down, peek inside your backpack or purse or search your car, you have the right to decline. When they have a warrant or other legal cause to search, like at an airport, they don't have to ask. Too many Americans--especially in communities of color--are scared to death of the police.
Don't be a professional snitch. If you have information about a violent or property crime, call the police. Witnessing is fine. But snitches get paid either in cash or a break in their own prosecution for tattling. They make untrustworthy witnesses. Snitches are responsible for almost half the wrongful convictions of people who were later found to be innocent.
Talk up the trades. Retail drug selling pays about as much as working at McDonald's. As the book Freakonomics pointed out, that's why most drug dealers live with their moms. Many dealers would prefer a more lucrative--and safer--line of work. People who don't see themselves as "college material" and might otherwise end up on the street should be encouraged to get training for a blue collar trade.
There were a couple more points that I'm not sure I agreed with but may be valid. And Freakonomics was a great read!