The stakes couldn’t be higher for 2017. Our work together next year will help shape the future of our country.
For too long, the national conversation about violence has been all about punishment, and with devastating consequences: 2.3 million people in prison. More than 2,900 facing execution. Communities of color traumatized. Victims of violence left without care.
This has to change. You’ve known that for years.
Today, thanks to you and to our partners, we’re at a tipping point for the issues we’ve been fighting for together: Ending the death penalty. Bringing racial equity to services for crime survivors. Engaging a new national conversation about justice.
The trauma of police-involved shootings and slain police officers has spurred national and local dialogue, incluing about racial justice, historical trauma, public safety, police accountability, and much more. This fall, EJUSA’s Trauma Advocacy Program spearheaded a new project to help facilitate even more dialogue – and develop solutions – in Newark, New Jersey.
“Trauma-Informed Responses to Violence: Police/Community Training Initiative”* has brought over 150 police officers and civilians together to learn and speak openly about their own trauma, the trauma they see around them, and the historical link between our current justice system, racial oppression, and slavery. With EJUSA staff and EJUSA-trained facilitators, small groups of 20-30 participants, police officers, residents, violence interrupters, social workers, and justice-involved citizens began to talk through the persistent obstacles to trust in the community and began the work of building mutual understanding.
The results have been deeply moving and transformative.
Community members joined murder victims’ family members, religious leaders, families of of death row inmates, and a death row exoneree for a “Cities For Life” event in St. Augustine last week, hosted by EJUSA and the Diocese of St. Augustine. EJUSA’s National Organizer Christine Henderson emceed the evening, which featured the lighting of 386 candles, one for every person awaiting execution on Florida’s death row.
Cities for Life began 15 years ago by the Italy-based Sant’ Egidio Community. More than 2,000 cities worldwide have participated, declaring themselves “Cities for Life” and committing to ending the death penalty throughout the world. It is the largest international mobilization effort to end the death penalty.
Here at EJUSA we don’t often share the inner workings of our organization, posting instead about the issues that drive our mission and the changes we seek — and that you want to see — in the justice system.
But our inner workings make me equally proud to be part of EJUSA, because we work hard to reflect our values there too. That means all kinds of things, for example:
Since its founding more than 5 years ago, Mothers of Murdered Children Detroit (MOMC) has provided support, advocacy, and healing services to mothers and families who have lost loved ones to violence. From helping with funeral arrangements and facilitating grief support groups, to accompanying families to court and helping grieving grandmothers gain legal access of their grandchildren, MOMC is there for families who are trying to rebuild their lives after surviving violence.
EJUSA has been giving technical support to MOMC for several months, helping them build their capacity and prepare to apply for VOCA funding. Grassroots Capacity Building Specialist Latrina Kelly-James helped them organize all of their services and support into a program model, worked with them to create a client tracking system, developed program narratives, and coached the staff on building relationships with local and state resources.
#GivingTuesday is 24 hours of giving, but time flies when you’re giving the gift of healing.
There’s just a few more hours to help EJUSA’s #GivingIsHealing campaign succeed.
EQUAL JUSTICE USA
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BROOKLYN, NY 11201
TEL: (718) 801-8940