EJUSA joins in discussion about race, police, and the community in Newark

YouTube thumbnailEJUSA’s Police/Community Initiative on Trauma Informed Responses to Violence has been bringing together police officers, residents, survivors of violence, justice-involved citizens, social workers, and faith leaders to discuss the trauma that exists on both sides of the relationship between the police and community. More and more members of the Newark community are eager to participate in the groundbreaking initiative, which will begin its fifth session of trainings next month.

Trauma Advocacy Initiative Director Fatimah Loren Muhammed recently joined the mayor of Newark as well as law enforcement leaders, clergy, academics, service providers, and other community leaders on a panel discussion organized by local Newark TV host Steve Adubato. The panel looked at the complex and sometimes confrontational relationship between the police and the minority community and ways to begin to move forward. Continue Reading →

Floridians rally in support of state attorney who won’t seek the death penalty

Christine speaking - photo credit Mark Elliott

Busloads of people from all corners of Florida descended on the state capitol in Tallahassee this morning for a “Rally in Tally” to show their support for State Attorney Aramis Ayala. Ayala announced earlier this month that she will not seek the death penalty during her tenure as the head prosecutor of Orange and Osceola Counties.

Following a rally on the capitol steps, leaders delivered over 130,000 petition signatures to the office of Governor Rick Scott. Scott filed for the removal of Alaya from a high profile murder case in Orlando, overstepping his authority and undermining her discretion as a prosecutor.

Ayala is fighting back, and people throughout Florida and around the country are standing with her.
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36 hours in Orlando

Yesterday, Florida State Attorney Aramis Ayala announced that she will not be seeking the death penalty in any cases while she remains in office.

Ayala’s office covers Orange County, which has historically been an outlier in Florida and in the country with regards to its death penalty usage. It is among just four of Florida’s 67 counties that have produced more than five executions since 1976.

Check out our storify to see how the story has unfolded in the last 36 hours.

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Spring 2017 Police/Community Initiative on Trauma-Informed Responses to Violence – Newark, NJ

VIOLENCE word cloud graphicEJUSA is excited to be launching a second round of trainings in Newark, NJ to increase the capacity for police and the community to build mutual understanding of the other’s trauma and respond to trauma in the wake of violence. This spring, a team of facilitators will be leading trainings on trauma-informed responses to violence with the Newark Police Department and Newark community members: “Police/Community Initiative on Trauma-Informed Responses to Violence”

Read about our first series of trainings in Fall 2016 here.

The goal of this training is to understand the symptoms of community trauma and vicarious trauma as well as build necessary skills to address and problem-solve when trauma arises. These trainings will focus on community/police partnerships, and each group training will consist of the following:

  • 3 weekly sessions, 4 hours each* at Liberating Word Ministries, 126 Mt Pleasant Ave, North Newark, NJ 07104.
  • Participants will include 15-20 police officers and 15-20 community members.
  • Learn about trauma symptoms, ACES, historical trauma, and the cycle of violence.
  • Hands-on skills-building and problem solving activities that will be customized for trainees on the front lines addressing violence and trauma.
  • A focus on addressing special populations, including boys/men of color, LGBT communities, girls and women, etc.

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Recommended: New State’s Attorney in Florida wants to start CIU

Florida prosecutors have played a major role in creating an unjust criminal justice system with their ability to decide who to prosecute and what charges to file.

Several prosecutors in the state had a history of extreme overzealousness and seemed to forget the community they were elected to represent. They charged children as young as twelve as adults, sentencing them to long prison terms. They helped fill Florida’s death row with people with severe mental impairments and mental illness. And they supported a system that has allowed people of color to be treated more harshly than white people.

Newly-elected prosecutor Melissa Nelson seems to have a different plan coming into office. Nelson represents the 5th district, which includes 5 counties in the Northeast area of the state. According to a recent interview with Reason magazine, she is looking at new ways of encouraging prosecutors to seek justice, rather than just convictions. And she’s even exploring the idea of creating a Conviction Integrity Unit.

Read the full interview in Reason here.