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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EJUSA joins in discussion about race, police, and the community in Newark

YouTube thumbnailEJUSA’s Police/Community Initiative on Trauma Informed Responses to Violence has been bringing together police officers, residents, survivors of violence, justice-involved citizens, social workers, and faith leaders to discuss the trauma that exists on both sides of the relationship between the police and community. More and more members of the Newark community are eager to participate in the groundbreaking initiative, which will begin its fifth session of trainings next month.

Trauma Advocacy Initiative Director Fatimah Loren Muhammed recently joined the mayor of Newark as well as law enforcement leaders, clergy, academics, service providers, and other community leaders on a panel discussion organized by local Newark TV host Steve Adubato. The panel looked at the complex and sometimes confrontational relationship between the police and the minority community and ways to begin to move forward. Continue Reading →

Together, Newark police and community use understanding of trauma to call for system change

Newark Community Talk Back

Since last spring, more than 150 police officers, residents, survivors of violence, justice-involved citizens, social workers, and faith leaders came together last fall to participate in EJUSA’s inaugural Police/Community Initiative on Trauma-Informed Responses to Violence  in Newark, New Jersey. Through the initiative, participants learn about structural racism, trauma-informed practices, and work together to generate recommendations calling upon the police leaders and city/state government to make changes that will improve police/community relations and reduce violence and trauma.

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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 →

Newark event – Talk Back: Police/Community Trauma Trainings In Action

Join us for a Community Talk Back about the recent trauma trainings for Newark Police and Community.

Talk Back: Police/Community Trauma Trainings In Action
Wednesday, January 25th
5:30pm – 8:30pm
Refreshments at 5:30, prompt start at 6pm.
Located at the HUBB 135 Prince St., Newark between Court and W Kinney Streets (Lower Level)

Over 150 Newark residents, community leaders, and police officers participated in trainings to learn tactics that help both community and police break cycles of trauma and address the needs of survivors. Join us at the talk back to learn how the trauma trainings are impacting Newark and take action to break cycles of violence and trauma in the community.
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I’ve heard from so many people

My first year and a half at EJUSA has been incredibly rewarding. I’m so grateful to be part of a team of such caring people who fight so hard and so courageously to advance justice in our nation.

And I’m so grateful to you, our true partners in justice, who fight right alongside us and make everything we do possible. I marvel at how many of you have been with us for years, even decades!

Will you continue to fight with us? Please give a tax-deductible gift to EJUSA before December 31, and your donation will be matched.

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With Libations and Justice for All – a beautiful and successful evening with the EJUSA Associate Board

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I joined EJUSA’s Advisory Board in August, and this past Thursday I attended my first Holiday Party, an annual Advisory Board tradition to build support for EJUSA’s work.

While the last few months have put forth challenges as we process the difficult results of a tumultuous election cycle, there is tremendous reason to be positive. Even though the movement to end the death penalty faced setbacks in November, the momentum to replace a punitive and unproductive justice system with one grounded in victims’ perspectives and healing has never been stronger.

Equal Justice USA, and the community that surrounds it, has a great amount to look forward to as 2017 approaches. As a member of the Associate Board, a group of young professionals working to build support and spread the word about EJUSA’s work, my feelings of hope and excitement for the coming year were reinvigorated at this year’s Holiday Party.

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Newark community and police come together to explore trauma-informed responses to violence

Fatimah leading training in NewarkThe trauma of police-involved shootings and slain police officers has spurred national and local dialogue, incluing about racial justice, historical trauma, public safety, police accountability, and much more. This fall, EJUSA’s Trauma Advocacy Program spearheaded a new project to help facilitate even more dialogue – and develop solutions – in Newark, New Jersey.

“Trauma-Informed Responses to Violence: Police/Community Training Initiative”* has brought over 150 police officers and civilians together to learn and speak openly about their own trauma, the trauma they see around them, and the historical link between our current justice system, racial oppression, and slavery. With EJUSA staff and EJUSA-trained facilitators, small groups of 20-30 participants, police officers, residents, violence interrupters, social workers, and justice-involved citizens began to talk through the persistent obstacles to trust in the community and began the work of building mutual understanding.

The results have been deeply moving and transformative.

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Share a vision for justice that heals

Last week, voters in three states chose to keep the death penalty, even in the face of progress on other criminal justice reforms. Though these losses pale in comparison to the longstanding and continuing momentum away from the death penalty in the U.S., they reveal just how much our nation struggles with how to respond to violence.

EJUSA’s Executive Director Shari Silberstein presents a path forward with a vision for justice in a column, “What the death penalty taught me about trauma, healing and justice,” published on Virgin.com.

“EJUSA’s campaign to end the death penalty has given us a unique experience changing the narrative around how we respond to the most extreme acts of violence. We’ve learned that the justice system will fail everyone unless it serves everyone.”

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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.

Better by halfThe Marshall Project
An interesting story from The Marshall Project about New York City: “New York City’s example shows that when the community and government work together, it is possible to have both half as much incarceration and twice as much safety.”

Killing Dylann Roof Wouldn’t Help Racial InjusticeTime
Next week, jury selection begins in Dylann Roof’s federal trial. Executing Roof will not rid us of the racism that fueled him and will not make the death penalty less racially biased.

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