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 →

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 →

Funding available for groups serving Native American Populations in California

California has opened an application process for organizations to apply for funds through the Federal Victims Of Crime Act (VOCA). If you are a Native American tribe, tribal nonprofit/community-based organization, or tribal consortium operating within a Tribal Court system in California, you may be eligible to apply through this RFP process.

The maximum grant award is $200,000.

Through our VOCA Funding Toolkit, and assistance from our Grassroots Capacity Building Specialist, EJUSA can help groups determine if they are eligible to apply, answer questions about the process, and provide some technical assistance for your group’s application. Please contact Latrina Kelly-James at latrinakj@ejusa.org or (203) 823-5826 or download the toolkit here.

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Death Penalty in Decline, an Update from CCATDP

The United States is slowly turning against the death penalty. Its end seems inevitable, but unfortunately, there were a few setbacks this year. Ballot initiatives in California and Nebraska fell short of passing. Despite this, I feel incredibly encouraged for several reasons.

A recent Pew poll showed that support for the death penalty is at the lowest point since 1972, and there was a seven-point drop in support in just the last year. There are other metrics that portend the death penalty’s eventual demise. So far this year, 18 people have been executed nationwide, and if this trend continues, then 2016 will have the fewest executions since 1991. Death sentences are also in decline. Last year, there were less than 50 across the country, which was the fewest since 1976. While there is still considerable work to do, the great news is polls are demonstrating that opposition to the death penalty is growing and states are slowly abandoning its use. Continue Reading →

Voters in three states face death penalty questions at the ballot box

Infographic: how to vote on death penalty ballot measuresA Pew poll released last month found support for the death penalty dropped by seven points just in the last year and is at its lowest point since 1972. Executions have reached their lowest level in 25 years, with even Texas seeing record lows. Only a few counties continue to sentence people to death with any regularity.

And now, voters in three states will determine the future of the death penalty when they go to the polls next week. Here is a rundown of the ballot measures and how you (and/or your friends) should vote to continue the momentum toward ending the death penalty throughout the country.

Share this graphic from our partners at the DeathPenaltyFail campaign to help spread the word about how to vote in these three states.

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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.

Three States to Watch if You Care About the Death PenaltyThe Marshall Project
Voters in Oklahoma, Nebraska, and California will face death penalty questions at the polls. The Marshall Project looks at what’s on the ballot in each of the states and what is at stake.

Baltimore Is Attacking the Roots of Violence with Public Health Measures—and Saving LivesScientific America
Violence is contagious and can spread from person to person, just like a disease. The Baltimore City Health Department is bringing down violence in some of Baltimore’s highest violence neighborhoods using a public health approach.

Continue Reading →

Report: America’s outlier death penalty counties

Outlier Counties report graphic

Harvard’s Fair Punishment Project released the second installment of a report showing the dysfunction in the use of the death penalty in the only 16 counties that continue to use it with any regularity. “Too Broken to Fix: An In-depth Look at America’s Outlier Death Penalty Counties,” looks at the 16 “outlier counties” – of 3,143 counties nationwide – that imposed five or more death sentences between 2010 and 2015.

The report looks at that last 10 years of  court opinions and records from these 16 “outlier counties” and analyzes all of the new death sentences handed down in these counties since 2010. Continue Reading →

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.

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California: Stop experimenting with lethal injection!


Thank you so much to everyone who has written to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) about the flaws in their proposed lethal injection procedures. Thousands of comments have been submitted, calling on California to leave executions is the past – where they belong.

There is still time for you to speak out. The deadline for comment has been extended, so tell CDCR that you oppose their fundamentally flawed proposals for executions.

Anyone can weigh in – even if you don’t live in California and regardless of your age, citizenship, or voter registration status.

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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.

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