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DSA New Orleans Says "Gimme a Brake (Light)!"
by Sophie Kunen (sophie.kunen [at]
Friday Jan 4th, 2019 2:37 PM
Once a month, DSA New Orleans holds a free brake light repair clinic to prevent unnecessary traffic stops and speak out against police violence. [43:20]
Broken taillights are one of the most common reasons police pull drivers over. These minor traffic offenses not only come with hefty fines that effectively criminalize poverty, but--particularly for drivers of color--they can lead to search, seizure, arrest, and--as was Philando Castille’s case in 2016--even death at the hands of a police officer.

After a member was pulled over twice in one night for a broken brake light in 2017, the New Orleans chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) held their first “Gimme a Brake (Light)!” clinic, where volunteers spent the day fixing people’s brake lights for free--a small but significant act of mutual aid and protection against the capitalist police state.

The success of their monthly clinic has inspired at least 45 other DSA chapters in the US to hold their own brake light repair clinics, providing safe spaces for communities across the country to openly discuss the current state of our police and criminal justice systems--and how a better world is possible.

In this interview, recorded on November 30, I speak with two DSA New Orleans members who help organize the clinic each month through the organization's Direct Service Committee: Cate Root and Andrew Zachary White.

The next clinic will be held on Saturday, January 5th from 11AM - 4PM at Kruttschnitt Place in the 7th Ward (the small triangular park at the corner of N. Dorgenois and Bayou Rd).

To learn more about the clinic, when and where the next one will be held, or how you can get involved, check out their website ( or shoot them an email (directservice [at]

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