Goodbye to Lorry Post. You will be missed.

Lorry Post, credit Abraham J. Bonowitz:DeathPenaltyAction.org

Lorry joyfully reporting from the Capitol in Trenton on the day New Jersey became the first state in the modern era to legislatively abolish the death penalty. (Photo: Abraham J. Bonowitz/DeathPenaltyAction.org)

Lorry Post, one of the most important catalysts for the decline of the death penalty in the United States, died last week.

Lorry first got involved in the death penalty issue when in 1996, his pastor asked for help with the case of Pedro Medina, a death row inmate who had compelling evidence of innocence.

Lorry’s daughter, Lisa, had been murdered a few years before. In the midst of his own unfathomable loss, Lorry became a tireless advocate for Medina.

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What Happened to Crime in Camden? | 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.

What Happened to Crime in Camden?, CityLab
Five years ago, the police department in Camden, NJ was disbanded, reimagined, and born again with fewer officers, lower pay, and a strategic shift toward community policing. In 2017, they had their lowest homicide rate since the 1980s.

‘Bold step’: King County to look at youth crime as public-health risk, The Seattle Times
King County, WA, home of Seattle, announced that its Juvenile Detention Services will aim to create a “trauma-informed” approach to incarcerated youth. The ultimate goal is zero youth incarceration: “Credible research suggests that we can reduce crime by bringing a rehabilitative, public health approach to juvenile justice.” Continue Reading →

Watch our transformative work in Newark

Last week, The Grio published an amazing video featuring our program in Newark, which brings police and communities of color together to break barriers and fight to change police culture and behavior. Please take a moment to watch the video, and then share it with your friends and family.

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Newark Healing Community Meeting – January 13

In the past two years, hundreds of community residents and police officers have spent hours exchanging stories about their own trauma and learning about the trauma of the other.

Join us for an action session that highlights our work and identifies opportunities to break the cycles of violence and trauma in Newark to:

  • Improve community-police relations
  • Support the healing of trauma in our community
  • Break the cycle of violence

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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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Ending capital punishment was right thing to do for N.J.

Anniversary story in the Star-LedgerPublished with the permission of The Star-Ledger, where it first appeared.

It’s hard to imagine today that two Republicans and two Democrats would join together to pass historic legislation on any issue, no less an issue that was seen by some as “controversial.” But ten years ago this week, that’s exactly what we did. And we kicked off a bipartisan trend that continues to this day.

On December 17, 2007, New Jersey became the first state to abolish the death penalty in almost half a century. We four led the charge as the prime sponsors in the legislature. We come from different parties and different parts of the state. Some of us originally supported the death penalty. Others never did. But over the course of New Jersey’s 25-year experiment with capital punishment, we all learned just how harmful and ineffective the death penalty really was.

Ten years later, linked by a shared legacy, we are both proud and humbled to reflect on how it happened and what came next.

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EJUSA’s Police-Community trauma trainings featured on local New Jersey TV

Our program in Newark aims to bridge the divide between police and communities of color to foster learning, healing, and action. Local PBS news station NJTV visited a recent training and captured both sides sharing their stories, break down barriers, and beginning to build trust.

See the full story at NJTV Online.

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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Healing for Vegas | 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.
“Healing for Vegas,” The Marshall Project
EJUSA Executive Director Shari Silberstein reminds us that the survivors of the unthinkable violence in Las Vegas will have extensive and varying needs in order to recover from their trauma. “If we’re serious about supporting the survivors of Vegas, we would make sure every one of them has ongoing access to trauma and mental health services. We would ensure that those services were culturally appropriate and geographically accessible. We would support their financial and logistical needs while they rebuild their lives. We would respect their need for information, the desire some have for privacy and others for interaction. We would recognize there is no timeline for healing, or support.”

“Trauma is real for Newark residents and police,” The Star-Ledger 
Since 2016, EJUSA has trained nearly 200 NJ residents in our Police/Community Initiative on Trauma-Informed Responses to Violence trainings in Newark. The trainings encourage honest, open dialogue about race, policing, and community engagement from various perspectives. This story highlights the powerful storytelling and the moments of mutual understanding that have become hallmarks of our program: “Both sides understood each other’s plight on Tuesday as they took the first step toward bridging a chasm that has widened from years of mistrust.” Continue Reading →

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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