It is more urgent than ever that we honor victims of violence by responding with healing, racial equality, and prevention. That was the message in an op-ed by EJUSA Executive Director Shari Silberstein and Dorothy Johnson-Speight from Mothers in Charge, published this week in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
To commemorate the National Day of Remembrance for Murder victims, Shari and Dorothy joined together to call for a new approach to addressing violence – one that recognizes that violence and homicide are a public-health crisis that needs a public-health solution, and that solution must be rooted in racial equity.
Homicide is the leading cause of death for African American males ages 15 to 34. For too long, the response to this crisis has been aggressive policing and incarceration. But mass incarceration, traumatizing police interactions, and a lack of care and support for people who experience violence have all worked to further devastate low-income black communities.
More and more policymakers, public-health officials, and law enforcement officials are coming to realize that we can’t arrest our way out of this problem. Yet the public dollars spent on violence prevention and survivor support are dwarfed many times over by the billions of dollars spent on corrections. The survivor support that does exist is far below the need, and it rarely gets to communities of color, even though they experience the highest rates of homicide and gun violence.
If we’re serious about building safe and healthy communities – and rebuilding communities most impacted by violence – our public dollars must reflect a different set of priorities.
Today is the National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims.
To all of our supporters who have lost a loved one to homicide, we are thinking about you today. We honor your loved ones and their beautiful, all-too-short lives.
We honor lives lost to community violence, police violence, family violence, gun violence, and all forms of violence.
We remember. We honor. We fight for justice.
Community violence prevention groups from around the country gathered yesterday for National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims. EJUSA’s longtime partner, Mothers In Charge, and its affiliates and coalition partners held press conferences to honor their loved ones and to renew their call for investment in public health approaches to violence prevention.
Troy Davis was executed 5 years ago today, and, unfortunately, the struggle did not end with him. We must continue to support repeal until the death penalty is gone for good.
Statement by Shari Silberstein, Executive Director
“Every year there are more than 14,000 people murdered in America. Countless grieving parents, brothers, sisters, children, and other loved ones are left behind to pick up the pieces of their lives. And young men of color are the most likely to be victims of this public health crisis.
“It’s time to commit to a new path forward. We need trauma-informed responses to violence that save lives, rebuild communities, and prevent future violence. We need to understand the pain in communities of color built up over generations of racism, violence, and poverty, and ensure that responses to violence help instead of harm. We need to stand up as a nation to honor those killed by taking care of those left behind.
“Recommended this week” features highlights from the past week in news about the death penalty, crime survivors, and trauma-informed responses to crime.
Restorative Justice: Why Do We Need it?, Brave New Films
EJUSA believes restorative justice can transform our justice system. Now a new film by Brave New Films explains why.
The Death Penalty Is Finally Dying. Here’s Why., Sojourners
Another piece by the incomparable Shane Claiborne with a powerful call to action: “Let’s all find a way to get in the way of death — and put our voice, our vote, our bodies in the way of the machinery of death until we make the death penalty history, once and for all.”
In October, Catholics in the U.S. will be called to celebrate Respect Life Month and to “renew their personal commitment to defend ALL human life.”
Our friends at the Catholic Mobilizing Network to End the Use of the Death Penalty have put together a great toolkit to help individuals, organizations, schools, and parishes reflect on the death penalty as they participate in Respect Life Month.
The toolkit includes chapters on learning about the death penalty, praying about the lives of those affected by the death penalty system, and taking action to end the use of the death penalty. Continue Reading →
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