Equal Justice USA Announces New Board Chair and Additional Members

From left to right: Jesse Moore, Board Chair Jesselyn McCurdy, Katisha Andrew, and Ed Chung.

Equal Justice USA is pleased to announce that Jesselyn McCurdy will serve as chair of the board of directors. McCurdy joined the board in 2010.

“Jesselyn’s skills and experiences are incredibly important to EJUSA’s work to reimagine the justice system in the United States,” said Shari Silberstein, executive director of EJUSA. “For years now, she has provided critical insight into the many facets of criminal justice, which has helped us focus our programs during this exciting time of strategic growth.”

McCurdy is deputy director of the Washington Legislative Office of the American Civil Liberties Union, where she has worked for more than 13 years over two separate periods. In between, she served as counsel on the House Committee for the Judiciary during the Obama administration. Today, at the ACLU, McCurdy is responsible for defending civil liberties in Congress and in the executive branch in the areas of criminal justice.

“I am honored to have been chosen by this board to take a leading role as we all help guide EJUSA to new heights,” said McCurdy. “The work this organization is doing to transform justice is thrilling. I’m confident that this team—staff and board—will accomplish much to drive lasting change on some of the most pressing issues of our time.”

Eunice Timoney Ravenna, who served as board chair since 2011, will continue to serve as a board member for EJUSA.

“We wouldn’t be where we are today without the direction of Eunice,” said Silberstein. “We are incredibly grateful for her dedication as well as her continued commitment to violence prevention and racial equity across the justice system.”

EJUSA also added three new board members. Katisha Andrew is a nonprofit human services administrator currently working for the Community Development Project of the Urban Justice Center as its Immigrant Opportunity Initiative Contract Manager and Development Coordinator. Ed Chung is the vice president for Criminal Justice Reform at American Progress, where he focuses on reducing the footprint of the criminal justice system while making it fairer, more equitable, and more effective. Jesse Moore, a former White House speechwriter for President Obama, is the founding CEO of Common Thread Strategies, a strategic messaging firm specializing in nuanced narratives, branding, and partnership strategies for change-driven institutions.


Two more job openings at EJUSA’s Brooklyn Office

EJUSA is in the midst of some exciting transition and expansion, and we are hiring for several positions. Right now, we have three openings, including two in our administrative department in Brooklyn, New York.

We are seeking a sharp, detail-oriented Operations Manager to join our growing team and ensure the effective daily operations of our national and remote offices. We are also looking for a part-time Bookkeeper to manage EJUSA’s day-to-day accounting and financial management functions.

Do either of those sound like you? Check out the full job descriptions and apply here.

EJUSA celebrates 10 years without the death penalty in New Jersey

This month marks the 10-year anniversary of the end of the death penalty in New Jersey. On December 17, 2007, then-Governor Jon Corzine signed an abolition bill that made the state the first to legislatively end capital punishment in the modern era.

EJUSA commemorated the 10-year anniversary by participating in an event honoring some of the champions of the repeal campaign at a celebration hosted by The Human Rights Institute at Kean University. Special honors went to former Governor Jon Corzine and one of the primary sponsors of abolition, Senator Raymond J. Lesniak.

Some members of the Executive Committee of New Jerseyans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (NJADP) hadn’t seen each other in many years and enjoyed the reunion. The team of 23 volunteers, 3 staff (including NJADP Executive Director Celeste Fitzgerald, who is now EJUSA’s Director of Partnerships), and EJUSA Executive Director Shari Silberstein spent thousands of hours for more than eight years to achieve the historic victory.

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No executions in 2018?

We’re closer than ever.

This fall support for the death penalty plunged to its lowest level since 1972. You made that happen. You stood by us year after year, and now even red states and Republican lawmakers are leading the charge.

Will you help us continue our work in 2018? Please make as generous a gift as you can. We need to raise $50,000 by December 31st and the first $25,000 we raise will be matched!

This year you’ve literally saved lives: Continue Reading →

Ending the death penalty by elevating voices of color | 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.

“Justice from Within: The Death Penalty and a New Vision for Criminal Justice through a Racial Justice Lens,” Nonprofit Quarterly
In a new article, EJUSA’s Fatimah Loren Muhammad highlights the history of racial bias in the application of the death penalty and the evolution of EJUSA’s work to end the death penalty by elevating voices of color. She also offers insights into the kinds of transformative internal work that allows EJUSA to more fully engage in racial justice campaigns and work toward our new vision for justice, centered in racial equity and healing.

“L.A. Leads in New Approach for Juveniles Who Have Committed Felonies,” The Chronicle for Social Change
In a historic move, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to adopt a plan for diverting tens of thousands of youth from the juvenile and criminal justice systems. The plan aims to connect youth with a comprehensive array of supportive services – education, employment, housing, healthcare and more – at a fraction of what it would cost to lock them up. Continue Reading →

EJUSA Evangelical Network promotes violence prevention, support for survivors, restorative justice, and death penalty repeal

EJUSA Evangelical Network websiteWe are proud to announced the formation of the new EJUSA Evangelical Network. It is comprised of Evangelical leaders – from across the nation and political spectrum – who seek to transform the justice system by promoting responses to violence that are rooted in the values of racial equity, healing, public health, and restoration.

“Evangelicals are active in a lot of criminal justice reform campaigns,” said Shari Silberstein, Executive Director of EJUSA. “In our work with Evangelicals on the death penalty, we consistently heard that they wanted to advocate for something, and not just against broken policies. Our Evangelical Network provides that affirmative platform for future advocacy.”

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EJUSA Receives $150,000 Grant from Andrus Family Fund

EJUSA is pleased to announce that it has received a $150,000 grant from Andrus Family Fund. The grant will support our Police/Community Initiative on Trauma-Informed Responses to Violence, a project currently piloting in Newark, New Jersey. The project focuses on changing police policies and practices by using the analysis and frame of trauma to create the necessary space to shift narratives about violence, create empathy and mutual understanding, and lay the foundation for a healing justice system.

The Police/Community Initiative begins with trauma training and builds towards advocacy to implement police reforms. In the training, police and community members develop mutual understanding of the links between unaddressed trauma and involvement in the justice system, the impact of trauma on responses to violence, the impact of PTSD on officer use of force, and historical trauma such as slavery.

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Trailblazing Together

EJUSA has a long history of trailblazing strategies and projects. That’s because you’ve believed in and supported us at every turn.

Next month one of our newest projects – a pilot in Newark, NJ that trains police officers and community members in trauma – enters its second year. We’re leading powerful conversations with police about racism, historical trauma, and mass incarceration.

We couldn’t be more excited about this project, which is building mutual understanding between police and community of the impact of trauma on all sides.

Please support this groundbreaking work, which we’re getting ready to expand nationally! A gift of $25, $50, $75, or even $100 will help us take this work to the next level.

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Did you know?

Did you know that Florida has second largest death row in the country? If you care about ending the death penalty, Florida is ground zero.

Florida also has the highest number of known wrongful convictions. And its death penalty is in chaos, with hundreds of old cases in sentencing limbo after recent court rulings.

It’s shameful. Florida is throwing millions of dollars behind the relentless pursuit of executions while communities lack resources to prevent and heal from violence.

Your help is needed to help demonstrate that Floridians want safety, healing, and justice – not the death penalty. A gift of $25, $50, $75, or even $100 today will make sure survivors of Florida’s broken system are heard!

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Turning Pain into Action

The justice system failed Darlene.

In the wake of her daughter Shelby’s murder, Darlene and her family needed support and healing. But once Darlene objected to the death penalty in her daughter’s case, the system turned against them.

That’s when she turned to EJUSA, and thanks to you, we gave her the tools and support to advocate for herself and her family.

Too many survivors like Darlene have been let down by the justice system. You can help. A gift of $25, $50, $75, or even $100 will help us put safety and healing – not punishment – at the center of the justice system.

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