Funding available for groups serving survivors in California

California has opened an application process for organizations to apply for funds through the Federal Victims Of Crime Act (VOCA). This particular round of funding is reserved for advocacy and support services to unserved/underserved child and youth victims of a crime. (“Underserved” is defined by the state of California as: Cultural/Ethnic Specific Community; Geographically Isolated; Immigrants; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth (LGBTQ) Community(ies); Specific Crime Type (i.e., homicide); Youth with disabilities; Youth in Foster Care.)

If you are an organization in California that works with crime survivors or victims’ families in these unserved/underserved children and youth populations, you may be eligible to apply through this RFP process.

Continue Reading →

Funding available for groups serving survivors in Michigan

Michigan has opened its application process for organizations to apply for funds (pdf) through the Federal Victims Of Crime Act (VOCA).  If you are an organization in Michgan that works with crime survivors or victims’ families, 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.

Continue Reading →

The last 72 hours: a message from EJUSA Executive Director Shari Silberstein

The events of the last 72 hours have left us reeling. So much carnage, so much fear.

Justice, broken down into bite sized pieces, can sometimes feel so close within reach. The death penalty stopped here, more healing services there. And then we are confronted with these big moments that remind us how inadequate bite-sized justice can be. When transformation is needed, how do you break that down into “winnable bits” that sustain hope through the darkness? Is this even our task?

I don’t have the answers. I know that in the last two days I watched two children – a teenage boy cry for his father Alton Sterling and a four year girl try to comfort her mother after police killed Philando Castile. No child should ever have to go through that. Black children go through it all too often. The trauma of living in fear of the very systems and institutions that are supposed to protect runs deep through communities of color and has for centuries. As a white director, I don’t know that fear or that trauma. I can only see it, account for it, and commit my life to the struggle for change.

And police are often afraid in their jobs. And it is in that fear that I imagine the seeds for change – because this system isn’t working for anyone. There is a different way, a way where we all can see each other’s pain and trauma, where we embrace a model of community safety rooted in healing, in restoration, in mercy, in relationships, in love.

On a day when there are no words, I say to the families of Alton Sterling, Philando Castille, Michael Smith, Michael Krol, Patrick Zamarippa, Brent Thompson, Lorne Ahrens, and everyone who has lost a loved one to violence: I see you, I love you, and I will fight for you. To the black members of the EJUSA family: I see you, I love you, I will fight for you. And to the law enforcement members of the EJUSA family fighting for change: I see you, I love you, I will fight for you.

Stakeholders meet at White House to discuss race, trauma, and disrupting cycle of violence

EJUSA staff at the White House with Administrative staff Roy AustenEJUSA staff were at the White House last week with health and violence experts, discussing the national movement to frame and address violence as a public health issue.

Executive Director Shari Silberstein, Director of the Trauma Advocacy Initiative Fatimah Loren Muhammad, and Director of Campaigns and Strategy Laura Porter (pictured left with Roy Austin, Deputy Assistant to the President for the Office of Urban Affairs, Justice and Opportunity in the White House) shared EJUSA’s vision of a trauma-responsive justice system.

Continue Reading →

Recommended this week

“Recommended this week” features highlights from the past week in news about the death penalty, crime survivors, and trauma-informed responses to crime.

Supreme Court To Hear Cases Challenging Two Texas Death SentencesBuzzfeed
The high court agrees to hear the death penalty cases of Duane Buck and Bobby James Moore.

After nearly 40 years, murder charges dropped against Kerry Max Cook in East Texas caseThe Dallas Morning News
Kerry Max Cook spent 20 years on death row. This week the murder charges against him were dropped. One of the subjects of “The Exonerated” is finally exonerated.
Continue Reading →

Victim services dollars start going to communities in need

Victim services dollars start going to communities in need

The Los Angeles Metropolitan Churches (LAM) is building a network of local churches and community groups to provide trauma-informed services to African-American, Latino, and immigrant crime survivors in South Los Angeles.

And now, for the first time, they are receiving federal VOCA funds – funds earmarked for victims services – in order to carry out their work. These funds are more than just a grant. They mark a possible turning point for crime survivors of color, who have long been underserved by the traditional victim services field.

“All too often communities of color have had to witness and endure first-hand the ills and fall-out of social programs that don’t work, public safety systems that don’t protect and serve and cycles of violence and abuse that seem to never end,” said Cheryl Branch, Executive Director of LAM.

Continue Reading →

Building a justice system rooted in healing

T'ruah Mass Incarceration HandbookEJUSA is thrilled to be featured in a new publication, “A Handbook for Jewish Communities Fighting Mass Incarceration,” by the Jewish human rights organization, T’ruah. The Handbook is a comprehensive guide for action from a Jewish perspective. It contains background information on various aspects of mass incarceration, from what happens when police stop people on the streets, to conditions inside jails and prisons, to the challenges people face when they leave incarceration and attempt to rebuild their lives.

Our contribution, “Building a justice system rooted in healing,” is written by EJUSA Executive Director Shari Silberstein. It includes EJUSA’s unique perspective on crime survivors’ needs:

In our work to end the death penalty over the last 25 years, we’ve met and worked with hundreds of family members who have lost loved ones to murder. Some supported the death penalty and others opposed it. But what united them all was the devastating trauma they experienced in the wake of their unimaginable loss…

Continue Reading →

Recommended this week

“Recommended this week” features highlights from the past week in news about the death penalty, crime survivors, and trauma-informed responses to crime.

Meet the red-state conservatives fighting to abolish the death penaltyThe Washington Post
In college, Senator Colby Coash celebrated at a tailgate party outside of a prison during an execution. Now he’s part of the growing conservative movement to end the death penalty in the United States. In an in-depth article about that movement, The Washington Post interviews EJUSA staff members Heather Beaudoin and Marc Hyden, both part of Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty.
Continue Reading →

EJUSA rallies for homicide survivors in Washington, DC

Crowd shot of rally

EJUSA executive director Shari Silberstein was in Washington, DC last weekend for the Mothers in Charge Standing For Peace and Justice National Rally.

Mothers in Charge, a national organization of mothers and other families who have lost loved ones to homicide, held the rally to draw attention to the trauma and needs of families left behind after homicide.

Family and friends gathered with pictures of their loved ones. They tragically have one thing in common: losing their loved ones to murder.

Continue Reading →