Funding available for groups serving Native American Populations in California

California has opened an application process for organizations to apply for funds through the Federal Victims Of Crime Act (VOCA). If you are a Native American tribe, tribal nonprofit/community-based organization, or tribal consortium operating within a Tribal Court system in California, you may be eligible to apply through this RFP process.

The maximum grant award is $200,000.

Through our VOCA Funding Toolkit, and assistance from our Grassroots Capacity Building Specialist, EJUSA can help groups determine if they are eligible to apply, answer questions about the process, and provide some technical assistance for your group’s application. Please contact Latrina Kelly-James at latrinakj@ejusa.org or (203) 823-5826 or download the toolkit here.

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When police and community come together | Reimagining Justice This Month

Reimagining Justice This Month highlights stories about effective responses to violence – responses that disrupt cycles of violence, heal trauma, and address structural racism.

Training Day, Trumplandia
While there are many efforts to train police officers, trainings often fail to deeply connect police to the community and their needs. EJUSA’s Police/Community Initiative is highlighted in this piece as doing just that: “The officers and community members sit together, assigned to small groups and tasked with creating poster boards they will present to the class. In magic marker, they write out recommendations for how different institutions — the police department, of course, but also social services and public schools and local leadership — can implement trauma-informed policies and practices.”

Violence victims get help to become own heroes, The Detroit News
A hospital-based trauma violence intervention program, Detroit Life is Valuable Everyday (DLIVE), believes the ideal time to approach violence victims about changing their lives is when they’re hospitalized, and thinking about how they got there. EJUSA has been working with DLIVE to grow their capacity so they can apply for federal funding to expand their program.

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Last month’s execution spree highlights fallacy of our nation’s approach to violence.

Preparing to deliver petitionsThe nation’s eyes were on Arkansas last month as it executed four people in 10-days, including holding the nation’s first double execution in almost two decades. The schedule drew national outrage, including 250,000 petitions delivered to the governor, intervention by victims’ family members, and celebrity involvement.

Much of the attention has been on the timeline, the process, and specific problems with each case, including faulty forensics, bad lawyers, mental impairments, racial disparities, unexamined mitigation, etc. At least half of the men experienced unspeakable childhood trauma – one of many reasons to spare their lives.

But now that some of the dust has settled, it’s time to ask a deeper question than whether or not to execute. Buried in those horrific childhood histories is a more profound story that gets to the heart of our nation’s misdirected approach to violence prevention and public safety. A public health approach might very well have prevented many of these murders in the first place.

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EJUSA helps lead discussions on violence and mass incarceration

Common Justice panelLast week EJUSA participated in two collaborations addressing violence and mass incarceration, both hosted by our friends at Common Justice.

The first was a panel of crime survivors at Common Justice’s conference, “Accounting for Violence: How to Increase Safety and Break our Failed Reliance on Mass Incarceration.” EJUSA was honored to get a shout on for our long history working with crime survivors during the conference’s opening remarks. Then our Trauma Advocacy Initiative Director, Fatimah Loren Muhammad, moderated the panel on survivor-centered responses to violence.

Survivor-leaders from across the country shared their experiences and perspectives on how the current reliance on incarceration fails crime survivors and their communities. Fatimah and the other speakers emphasized that effective responses to violence must focus on addressing trauma and helping survivors heal.

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Meet Pastor Gwendolyn Cook, a fearless victim advocate for girls | NCVRW2017 profile

pastor cook and youthImagine surviving human trafficking, sexual abuse, assault, domestic violence, and gang exploitation all before the age of 13. Pastor Gwendolyn Cook sees it every day. She is the founder and director of Women Walking in the Spirit (WWITS) Girls Mentoring Program in Camden, NJ. Her organization works with young girls returning from juvenile detention at Hayes Secure Care Facility for Girls in Bordentown, NJ. The girls have survived severe and often multiple forms of trauma.

I’ve worked with Pastor Cook for over a year, helping WWITS to frame a narrative for their work and building a program model so they can gain new funding sources. WWITS is one of dozens of grassroots organizations across the country that I’ve had the honor to support over the last year and a half. These groups are providing healing for communities wrecked by violence, victimization, and trauma. I help them build capacity to access and maintain federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funding, preparing them for long-term success and creating more resources for healing. I am most inspired by the many groups who work with little to no funding, with volunteers as the lifeline — groups like Pastor Cook’s.

This profile is part of EJUSA’s series on National Crime Victims Rights Week.

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A focus on survivors of violent crime | Reimagining Justice This Month

Reimagining Justice This Month highlights stories about effective responses to violence – responses that disrupt cycles of violence, heal trauma, and address structural racism.

This month, we have a special digest to commemorate National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. This month’s stories focus on crime survivors, their needs in the wake of violence, and challenges facing communities to address those needs.

Christie’s neglect leaves crime victims without help, The Star-Ledger
Only 1/3 of the money that New Jersey is supposed to spend on crime victims actually reaches them. That is devastating for groups who are providing healing services in the most marginalized areas of their communities, addressing unmet needs, specifically in in neighborhoods of color. Through our Police/Community Initiative, EJUSA’s Fatimah Loren Muhammad is working with crime survivors and police in Newark and beyond to reimagine a system in which survivors get what they need in the wake of harm. Continue Reading →

Reimagining Justice This Month | Feb 2017

Our current criminal justice system harms millions of people – from crime survivors to the justice-involved and their families.

Reimagining Justice This Month highlights communities that are organizing for effective responses to violence – responses that disrupt cycles of violence, heal trauma, and address structural racism.

“When Killer and Victim’s Mother Meet, Paths From Grief, Fear and Guilt Emerge,” The New York Times
A restorative justice program in Kansas brings together people whose lives are inextricably linked violence and death. Through “victim-offender dialogues,” those who commit harm come face-to-face with those who were harmed.

Gun Violence Should Be Treated As A Public Health Crisis, Study Says,” NPR
The study helps show that “there must be a more coordinated approach to drive gun violence down, one that treats it as a public health epidemic and not just a policing problem.” Continue Reading →

Funding available for groups serving survivors in Florida

Florida has opened an application process for organizations to apply for funds (pdf)  through the Federal Victims Of Crime Act (VOCA). If you are an organization in Florida that works with crime survivors, you may be eligible to apply through this RFP process.

Through our VOCA Funding Toolkit, and assistance from our Grassroots Capacity Building Specialist, EJUSA can help groups determine if they are eligible, answer questions about the process, and provide some support for your group’s application. Please contact Latrina Kelly-James at latrinakj@ejusa.org or (203) 823-5826 or download the toolkit here.

Full information about Pennsylvania RFP process:
http://myfloridalegal.com/webfiles.nsf/WF/MNOS-AGVJ42/$file/VOCANoticeofAvailability.pdf

Note: the deadline is fast approaching February 24, 2017. Organizations must register in Florida’s E-Grants system in order to access the RFP.

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Updated VOCA Toolkit now available

EJUSA has released its updated “Apply for VOCA Funding: A Toolkit for Organizations Working with Crime Survivors in Communities of Color and Other Underserved Communities.” This revised toolkit reflects the new guidelines released by the federal Office of Victims of Crime (OVC). Many of new guidelines recognize the marginalization of underserved survivors and are a step in the right direction in terms of meeting EJUSA’s goals of brining equity to services for survivors.

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In memory of murder victims, set new priorities for action

Dorothy & ShariIt 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.

Read the full op-ed here.