Community-driven, trauma-informed solutions to public safety | 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.

Race, History, Policing: A New Vision of Public Safety Conference, National Network for Safe Communities
This video features EJUSA’s Trauma Advocacy Program Director Fatimah Loren Muhammad on a panel talking about community-driven, trauma-informed solutions to public safety. The biennial conference brought together over 300 public safety stakeholders, national organizations, academics, and community groups to talk about advancements in the field.

Blueprint for a New NewarkThe New York Times
This week marks the 50th anniversary of the Newark Rebellion, in which the police killing of a black cab driver ignited a city to fight for freedom from oppression and divestment. In this op-ed piece, Ryan Haygood, President of the NJ Institute for Social Justice and a collaborator of EJUSA, highlights this historical trauma and opportunities to create new police/community relationships today. EJUSA is proud to support the Newark community in forging these new relationships. Continue Reading →

Infographic: Findings from year one of EJUSA’s Police/Community Initiative

infographic thumbnailIn 2016 – the first year of our Police/Community Initiative – EJUSA trained almost 50 police officers and even more community members on trauma-informed responses to violence. This new infographic outlines the process and some of the findings and recommendations. Continue Reading →

Lynching, Trauma, and Philando Castile

Valerie Castile (Philando’s mother) speaking outside the Ramsey County Courthouse in St Paul, MN after a not guilty verdict was reached in the trial of Officer Jeronimo Yanez in the killing of Philando Castile last July. Photo Credit: Lorie Shaull

Valerie Castile (Philando’s mother) speaking outside the Ramsey County Courthouse in St Paul, MN after a not guilty verdict was reached in the trial of Officer Jeronimo Yanez in the killing of Philando Castile last July. Photo Credit: Lorie Shaull

Last week, the Equal Justice Initiative and Google launched Lynching in America, a powerful collection of personal stories and extensive research on more than 4,000 lynchings of black Americans in the 19th and 20th centuries.

I was reading through the heartbreaking site on Friday when a news alert came on my phone: the police officer who killed Philando Castile during a traffic stop in Minnesota was acquitted of all charges. My heart stopped.

I wasn’t surprised, of course. Seventeen years working with both crime survivors and people who harm others has taught me that our justice system is ill-equipped to deliver real accountability or real healing, regardless of the outcome of any case. That’s why we need to imagine new systems that can deliver those things.

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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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Newark police/community trainings unique and forging common ground

Experiencing Trauma

The deep divide between police and communities of color in the United States can often seem intractable. But EJUSA has a long history of bridging divides that once seemed insurmountable. Our newest project to do this is the Police/Community Initiative on Trauma-Informed Responses to Violence, piloted last year in Newark, NJ. The project was profiled in a recent article, “Training Day,” a story on the role training can have in transforming police culture, anti-violence efforts, and the relationship between police departments and communities of color.

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Together, Newark police and community use understanding of trauma to call for system change

Newark Community Talk Back

Since last spring, more than 150 police officers, residents, survivors of violence, justice-involved citizens, social workers, and faith leaders came together last fall to participate in EJUSA’s inaugural Police/Community Initiative on Trauma-Informed Responses to Violence  in Newark, New Jersey. Through the initiative, participants learn about structural racism, trauma-informed practices, and work together to generate recommendations calling upon the police leaders and city/state government to make changes that will improve police/community relations and reduce violence and trauma.

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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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Newark event – Talk Back: Police/Community Trauma Trainings In Action

Join us for a Community Talk Back about the recent trauma trainings for Newark Police and Community.

Talk Back: Police/Community Trauma Trainings In Action
Wednesday, January 25th
5:30pm – 8:30pm
Refreshments at 5:30, prompt start at 6pm.
Located at the HUBB 135 Prince St., Newark between Court and W Kinney Streets (Lower Level)

Over 150 Newark residents, community leaders, and police officers participated in trainings to learn tactics that help both community and police break cycles of trauma and address the needs of survivors. Join us at the talk back to learn how the trauma trainings are impacting Newark and take action to break cycles of violence and trauma in the community.
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Trust Not Trauma – Policing and Public Health

Trust Not TraumaAn important new report looks at the relationship between policing practices and public health. Stress on the Streets (SOS): Race, Policing, Health, and Increasing Trust, not Trauma, released last month by Human Impact Partners, the Ohio Justice & Policy Center, and the Ohio Organizing Collaborative analyzed police practices in two cities – Cincinnati and Akron.

“The tension and distrust between people of color and police in the United States is an underestimated public health crisis,” the report opens. “Shocking cases of mistreatment, injury, and death grab headlines and go viral on social media, but the mental, emotional, and behavioral impacts of this fraught relationship affect communities of color and police officers in ways less often discussed.” Continue Reading →

Trauma-Informed Schools: A Key Strategy for Public Safety

school_squareBy now, many have heard about the recent incident at Spring Valley High School, where a South Carolina deputy slammed a young African American girl to the ground, dragged her on the floor, and handcuffed her for disobeying school rules. Several videos have gone viral and spurred national dialogue about the “school-to-prison pipeline,” a framework that connects harsh school disciplinary practices (such as zero tolerance policies) and increased presence of school police with the eventual incarceration of young people. Research suggests that the criminalization of youth behavior disproportionately impacts African American children and children with physical/emotional disabilities.

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