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 →
That’s what Darlene Farah said when she walked out of the courtroom this morning, more than 3 1/2 years after her daughter, Shelby, was murdered.
James Rhodes pleaded guilty to killing Shelby after reaching an agreement with the new State’s Attorney, Melissa Nelson, that would take the death penalty off the table and forgo a trial. Nelson’s predecessor, Angela Corey, had refused to consider such an agreement with Rhodes and his attorneys. Corey even vilified Darlene for her desire to have the charges end in a plea deal.
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 email@example.com or (203) 823-5826 or download the toolkit here.
Full information about Pennsylvania RFP process:
Note: the deadline is fast approaching February 24, 2017. Organizations must register in Florida’s E-Grants system in order to access the RFP.
This past Wednesday, EJUSA co-sponsored a discussion on the death penalty at Northland Church in Longwood, Florida. We were thrilled to be able to help bring this conversation to Northland – one of the largest Evangelical churches in the nation. Pastor Joel Hunter moderated, and EJUSA Organizer Christine Henderson made the trip from Jacksonville, FL, to share our vision of a criminal justice system that heals and restores lives. The panel consisted of two people who have come face to face with the death penalty in their personal lives and two people who discussed the theological implications of the death penalty.
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.
It 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.
Today is the National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims.
To all of our supporters who have lost a loved one to homicide, we are thinking about you today. We honor your loved ones and their beautiful, all-too-short lives.
We honor lives lost to community violence, police violence, family violence, gun violence, and all forms of violence.
We remember. We honor. We fight for justice.
Community violence prevention groups from around the country gathered yesterday for National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims. EJUSA’s longtime partner, Mothers In Charge, and its affiliates and coalition partners held press conferences to honor their loved ones and to renew their call for investment in public health approaches to violence prevention.
“Recommended this week” features highlights from the past week in news about the death penalty, crime survivors, and trauma-informed responses to crime.
Restorative Justice: Why Do We Need it?, Brave New Films
EJUSA believes restorative justice can transform our justice system. Now a new film by Brave New Films explains why.
The Death Penalty Is Finally Dying. Here’s Why., Sojourners
Another piece by the incomparable Shane Claiborne with a powerful call to action: “Let’s all find a way to get in the way of death — and put our voice, our vote, our bodies in the way of the machinery of death until we make the death penalty history, once and for all.”
Families of murder victims from across the country are calling on the Duval County State Attorney’s Office to demand a halt to the county’s use of the death penalty due to the harm it inflicts on surviving families.
“The lengths to which Duval County will go in its pursuit of the death penalty has been on display after the 2013 murder of Shelby Farah,” the families wrote in the letter. “Despite her mother’s request that her family be spared a death penalty case and the lengthy process it entails, prosecutors continue to seek it.”
“Duval County has sought the death penalty with essentially no regard for the harm it causes murder victims’ families,” said Shari Silberstein, Executive Director of EJUSA. “In less than a year, Florida’s death penalty law has been struck down twice as unconstitutional, leaving it in legal limbo. It’s the surviving families who are left to suffer the inevitable uncertainty of a death sentence. It’s no surprise that Darlene Farah has fought so hard to avoid such a fate.”