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 →

“Restoring Lost Trust”

USA Today and our friends at the Marshall Project made a great video about our program in Newark, which is bridging communities of color and police and breaking cycles of trauma. Please take a moment to watch the video and share it with your family and friends.

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EJUSA holds first national convening on trauma and the criminal justice system

EJUSA National trauma convening group photo

EJUSA has taken a big step toward building a national network of people impacted by trauma across the criminal justice system by hosting our first convening in mid-March.

Twenty-four leaders came together – traveling from all over the country – for two days of sharing, healing, learning, and planning. They included crime survivors, people who were formerly incarcerated, families of the incarcerated, and law enforcement. All of the participants have worked alongside EJUSA at some point: as advocates within our death penalty work, as leaders of grassroots violence intervention and survivor organizations that EJUSA supported in capacity building, or as participants in our Police-Community Trauma Program in Newark.

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Who Has Access to Healing?

Reimagining Justice This Month highlights stories about effective responses to violence – responses that disrupt cycles of violence, heal trauma, and address structural racism.

States Set Aside Millions of Dollars for Crime Victims. But Some Gun Violence Survivors Don’t Get the Funds They Desperately Need, The Trace
Elizabeth Van Brocklin asserts that all victims – whether harmed by mass shootings or neighborhood gun violence – should receive the support they need in the wake of tragedy. She points out the lack of services for those injured in incidents of gun violence, who are disproportionately young black men. Now, Van Brocklin says, some states are beginning to improve access and funds for underserved victims.

Can Police Change Their Mindset from Warriors to Guardians?, The Crime Report
A Fordham Law School panel highlights the recurring tragedy of police-caused homicides in the U.S. One panel member contends that these tragedies should be addressed by “reengineering” police procedures and trainings in ways that encourages them to save lives, not take them.

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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 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’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 →