My first year and a half at EJUSA has been incredibly rewarding. I’m so grateful to be part of a team of such caring people who fight so hard and so courageously to advance justice in our nation.
And I’m so grateful to you, our true partners in justice, who fight right alongside us and make everything we do possible. I marvel at how many of you have been with us for years, even decades!
As you read it, please remember this: EJUSA’s impact is your impact.
This year’s report highlights how far EJUSA has come on our oldest program – ending the death penalty – and on our exciting program to support community-based groups working with people of color harmed by violence. It also features highlights from year one of an important project of our Trauma Advocacy Initiative: to facilitate a two-year dialogue and training on trauma, racism, and justice with 250 police and community members in Newark, New Jersey.
You made this work possible. Together we’re taking down the broken parts of the justice system like the death penalty, and beginning to build the new, healing justice system of the future.
It’s not too late to help EJUSA reach our $40,000 goal for our year-end fundraising campaign. Please consider a stretch gift as we go into a critical year for our work together. All gifts will be matched through December 31.
The National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL) has passed its first-ever resolution supporting repeal of the death penalty in the United States. The historic vote took place during the NBCSL 40th Annual Legislative Conference in New Orleans, LA. It is an escalation of the organization’s previous call for a moratorium in 2002.
“As a Nebraska state senator, I proudly voted to strike the death penalty from our state statutes in 2015. I was just as proud to sponsor the recent NBCSL resolution that calls for an end to the death penalty across the country,” said Nebraska State Senator Tanya Cook. “This sentence is not a deterrent to violent crime. Period. That fact has been scientifically-demonstrated over and over again in this country and around the globe.”
Working for justice is hard. Sometimes it feels overwhelming. You know that because you’ve been in the trenches with EJUSA for more than two decades.
But we always go on because we feel strongly and passionately that we must change the conversation about violence – its causes and solutions. And today, we are at an important tipping point moment to do just that.
New national attention to mass incarceration and racial inequities in the justice system has created an unprecedented opportunity. Leaders on all ends of the political spectrum are paying attention, and pressure is mounting for change.
The death penalty remains in steep decline across the United States, and a recently released report (PDF) illustrates how capital punishment is falling out of favor even in Texas. According to the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, this year the Lone Star State sentenced the fewest number of people to die since 1976. Furthermore, Texas has executed seven people in 2016, which represents a 20-year low. This is incredibly encouraging and demonstrates the hard work of many people in Texas. It also underscores what we’ve known for years: the death penalty is dying.
I joined EJUSA’s Advisory Board in August, and this past Thursday I attended my first Holiday Party, an annual Advisory Board tradition to build support for EJUSA’s work.
While the last few months have put forth challenges as we process the difficult results of a tumultuous election cycle, there is tremendous reason to be positive. Even though the movement to end the death penalty faced setbacks in November, the momentum to replace a punitive and unproductive justice system with one grounded in victims’ perspectives and healing has never been stronger.
Equal Justice USA, and the community that surrounds it, has a great amount to look forward to as 2017 approaches. As a member of the Associate Board, a group of young professionals working to build support and spread the word about EJUSA’s work, my feelings of hope and excitement for the coming year were reinvigorated at this year’s Holiday Party.
EQUAL JUSTICE USA
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BROOKLYN, NY 11201
TEL: (718) 801-8940