Reckoning with historical trauma | 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.

‘They Was Killing Black People:’ In Tulsa, one of the worst episodes of racial violence in U.S. history still haunts the city with unresolved questions, even as ‘Black Wall Street’ gentrifiesThe Washington Post
The historical trauma of slavery and lynching continues to impact entire communities and destroy lives. In Tulsa, reckoning with that historical trauma means excavating and not only acknowledging the devastation of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, but addressing unresolved questions about mass graves of Black people and repairing the ongoing harm. If justice means preventing violence and creating accountability and safety, this kind of history needs to be uncovered and recognized.

Bringing a dark chapter to light: Maryland confronts its lynching legacyThe Baltimore Sun
Our justice system is rooted in the legacy of slavery and lynching, and the impact of structural racism from police shootings to mass incarceration is felt across entire communities. Acknowledging that history, as well as both the historical trauma and present day harm of caused by the system, is essential for reimagining justice that can create equity and healing. This is how people in Maryland are making sure we remember the history of lynching so that we can transcend it. Continue Reading →

You’re invited: ‘Locked In Solidarity’ webinar

I am honored to be participating in this year’s Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) “Locked In Solidarity” event, a national advocacy and action week for mass incarceration. Next Thursday, February 8 at 1:00pm CST, I will present a webinar – “Trauma-Informed Responses to Violence” – with EJUSA Executive Director Shari Silberstein and our Trauma Network manager, Lionel LaTouche.

You are invited!

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EJUSA helps lead discussions on violence and mass incarceration

Common Justice panelLast week EJUSA participated in two collaborations addressing violence and mass incarceration, both hosted by our friends at Common Justice.

The first was a panel of crime survivors at Common Justice’s conference, “Accounting for Violence: How to Increase Safety and Break our Failed Reliance on Mass Incarceration.” EJUSA was honored to get a shout on for our long history working with crime survivors during the conference’s opening remarks. Then our Trauma Advocacy Initiative Director, Fatimah Loren Muhammad, moderated the panel on survivor-centered responses to violence.

Survivor-leaders from across the country shared their experiences and perspectives on how the current reliance on incarceration fails crime survivors and their communities. Fatimah and the other speakers emphasized that effective responses to violence must focus on addressing trauma and helping survivors heal.

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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.

Justices, give Duane Buck a second chance, CNN.com
Linda Geffin was the second chair prosecutor in Duane Buck’s case is now calling for a new sentencing in his case. She reflects on the racial bias that permeated Duane Buck’s case and our criminal justice system.

Being black shouldn’t mean a longer prison sentence, USA Today
The destructive myth of black dangerousness was heard in the highest court of the land yesterday – in a death penalty case out of Texas. Never has “broken beyond repair” been more apparent.

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Building a justice system rooted in healing

T'ruah Mass Incarceration HandbookEJUSA is thrilled to be featured in a new publication, “A Handbook for Jewish Communities Fighting Mass Incarceration,” by the Jewish human rights organization, T’ruah. The Handbook is a comprehensive guide for action from a Jewish perspective. It contains background information on various aspects of mass incarceration, from what happens when police stop people on the streets, to conditions inside jails and prisons, to the challenges people face when they leave incarceration and attempt to rebuild their lives.

Our contribution, “Building a justice system rooted in healing,” is written by EJUSA Executive Director Shari Silberstein. It includes EJUSA’s unique perspective on crime survivors’ needs:

In our work to end the death penalty over the last 25 years, we’ve met and worked with hundreds of family members who have lost loved ones to murder. Some supported the death penalty and others opposed it. But what united them all was the devastating trauma they experienced in the wake of their unimaginable loss…

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Recommended: 60 Minutes explores Germany’s transformative approach to justice

This weekend, CBS’s 60 Minutes aired a segment on prisons in Germany. The German approach emphasizes healing and rehabilitation. There’s no punishment for punishments’ sake. Loss of freedom is punishment enough, and the goal is to help those who commit harm to change their lives. Corrections officers are trained in psychology, communications, and de-escalation. Even Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Corrections was convinced after joining a tour of three German prisons.

Watch and/or read the full story at CBS News.