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Hidden Gems: Meet Dr. Charmine Davis of Just Us

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Charmine Davis.

Hi Dr. Charmine, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
My story started simply as being an African American mother and fearing what that entails for my black children, particularly my sons. One of my sons walked into my room one day and said, “mom, I’m ready to try for my driving permit” the fear that shot through my body thinking of my son driving in this country created an indescribable fear within me. As a psychologist, I have often heard this fear in other mothers of color. That night, I knew I had to devise a way to keep my son and other black folks safe. That’s where the idea of JustUs started. It has become obvious that technology has allowed the world to see forms of brutality that, for centuries, have gone uncaptured. Visibility has led to mass movements demanding accountability for police violence and specific demands at decreasing police presence. These alarming instances of brutality have caused communities of color to fear for their lives and their families. This partly contributed to mental health issues and families’ reluctance to reach out to the police for help when needed. JustUs is a solution for now, as lives are in danger while we fight for radical change. As a clinical psychologist, advocate for racial justice for 15+ years, and mother, I deeply understand the need for strengthened community care in the face of fighting against violence. I bring a unique perspective as a community member and expert in the field.

We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
The major challenge for the Just Us application has been attaining funding as we launch the application. This is needed to increase the team’s scale, develop an Android version, and gain access to different streams of marketing and outreach. Although I am at the beginning phase of bringing this vision to life, I have already developed an iOs version, established a corporation, and run the framework by a legal team to ensure safety and legality.

The greatest opportunity related to this project is the opportunity to save lives. Using a mutual aid model, this is the opportunity to increase self-reliance for communities of color to keep ourselves safe. We can strengthen our autonomy. Just Us is a major opportunity to help Black and Brown people feel safer. This is an opportunity to increase mental wellness, for instance, when a mother knows that her children and other family members are safe, as well as peace of mind, as individuals move to and from work and in their daily lives knowing they have support if needed.

There is a movement among Black folks moving into the technology space and leaving our mark with innovation. JustUs has already received vast interest and support as a project, and we expect the interest to multiply and continue! In this moment of rebuilding within 2022, investors, community members, and smartphone users are looking to transcend grief and move towards action. Hence, high interest in conversations is rooted in what is (police encounters are often violent) and embedded in what can be done (both at the individual and societal level). There’s also the opportunity for collaboration with others working within the Movement for Black Lives focused on the intersections of rapid response x community-powered technology.

As you know, we’re big fans of Just Us. For our readers who might not be as familiar, what can you tell them about the brand?
The Just Us app is a rapid response tool for communities of color to prevent injustices for marginalized and targeted populations. We are continuously building our community and services within our JustUs subscribers. Holding community talks, connecting mental health issues with the constant threat of danger and daily acts of discrimination. Helping folks learn to deal with their emotional fears to be ready during times of harmful experiences. As a form of community care and to increase accountability for police misconduct, this app will allow families to connect in crucial times of emergency, particularly while being pulled over by police while driving. As we all know, African American men have had particularly bad experiences during police interactions. I live in the South Central, LA community and have studied the adverse effects of living in fear of police violence during my master’s and Ph.D. programs. I am a mother and have felt these fears myself for my children.

Just Us is a voice-activated app that alerts loved ones when a person is in trouble, or potential troubles may occur. This application revolutionizes mobilizing the community for rapid response. Once activated by voice command, JustUs will begin live streaming so that family members can hear their loved ones and see what’s happening. Community members nearby will also be alerted so they can come to the area to record the interaction or cop watch. Just US allows for another set of eyes and ears to support the person encountering the police and to document the interactions in hopes of a safer and more just encounter. This app can discourage police (or any other forms of) brutality and misconduct, leading to lives being saved.

Do you have any memories from childhood that you can share with us?
Regarding this discussion, I would have to say my favorite memory is just feeling safe not knowing the ugly face of racism and discrimination.

Pricing:

  • Pricing is definitely located in the App Store and on our website. But families who have reached out to us and cannot afford the app at this time, we can definitely still help them. To add the Family Plan, click the Subscriptions tab in the bottom navigation. Select Monthly or Yearly, then double click to subscribe. Next, go to iPhone Settings, and click your name at the top. Scroll down to Family Sharing, click + Add Member. You can add up to four (4) users to each Family Plan for a total of five (5) users.
  • $4.99 Live stream capabilities available with monthly in-app subscription,
  • Subscribe for 12 months and save! $49.99 Yearly Subscription.

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