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 →

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 →

We carry the stories with us in our fight towards justice | 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.

In honor of National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims (Sept 25), EJUSA’s staff extend deep-filled gratitude to the hundreds of family members of murder victims we have had the privilege to work with for the last 25+ years. We honor those loved ones you’ve lost and the stories you have shared with us. We carry them with us in our fight towards justice and healing for all. Read some of the stories about our work with families of homicide victims.

“Help The Trace Report on America’s Ignored Population of Gunshot Survivors,”The Trace
As part of its efforts to report on gun violence and its survivors, The Trace has pulled together a survey to try to help determine what services survivors need and which of those services they have trouble accessing. If you are the survivor of gun violence, please take a moment to fill out this survey, or if you know someone who has survived a gunshot wound, please pass this along. 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 →

When police and community come together | 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.

Training Day, Trumplandia
While there are many efforts to train police officers, trainings often fail to deeply connect police to the community and their needs. EJUSA’s Police/Community Initiative is highlighted in this piece as doing just that: “The officers and community members sit together, assigned to small groups and tasked with creating poster boards they will present to the class. In magic marker, they write out recommendations for how different institutions — the police department, of course, but also social services and public schools and local leadership — can implement trauma-informed policies and practices.”

Violence victims get help to become own heroes, The Detroit News
A hospital-based trauma violence intervention program, Detroit Life is Valuable Everyday (DLIVE), believes the ideal time to approach violence victims about changing their lives is when they’re hospitalized, and thinking about how they got there. EJUSA has been working with DLIVE to grow their capacity so they can apply for federal funding to expand their program.

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Arkansas’ execution spree highlights fallacy of our nation’s approach to violence.

Preparing to deliver petitionsThe nation’s eyes were on Arkansas as it executed four people in 10 days in April, including holding the nation’s first double execution in almost two decades. The schedule drew national outrage, including 250,000 petition signatures delivered to the governor, intervention by victims’ family members, and celebrity involvement.

Much of the attention has been on the timeline, the process, and specific problems with each case, including faulty forensics, bad lawyers, mental impairments, racial disparities, unexamined mitigation, etc. At least half of the men experienced unspeakable childhood trauma – one of many reasons to spare their lives.

But now that some of the dust has settled, it’s time to ask a deeper question than whether or not to execute. Buried in those horrific childhood histories is a more profound story that gets to the heart of our nation’s misdirected approach to violence prevention and public safety. A public health approach might very well have prevented many of these murders in the first place.

Continue Reading →

Reimagining Justice This Month | Feb 2017

Our current criminal justice system harms millions of people – from crime survivors to the justice-involved and their families.

Reimagining Justice This Month highlights communities that are organizing for effective responses to violence – responses that disrupt cycles of violence, heal trauma, and address structural racism.

“When Killer and Victim’s Mother Meet, Paths From Grief, Fear and Guilt Emerge,” The New York Times
A restorative justice program in Kansas brings together people whose lives are inextricably linked violence and death. Through “victim-offender dialogues,” those who commit harm come face-to-face with those who were harmed.

Gun Violence Should Be Treated As A Public Health Crisis, Study Says,” NPR
The study helps show that “there must be a more coordinated approach to drive gun violence down, one that treats it as a public health epidemic and not just a policing problem.” Continue Reading →

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 →

In memory of murder victims, set new priorities for action

Dorothy & ShariIt 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. Continue Reading →

On National Day of Remembrance, communities call for an end to the violence

chicago-press-conference

Parents for Peace and Justice, a Chicago-based community violence prevent group, participates in the press conferences for National Day of Remembrance. Photo credit: Robert Torres

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.

Continue Reading →