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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Orlando murder victims’ families of color express frustration. Their basic needs are not being met.

Orlando press conference
While Florida considers expanded rights for crime victims, local murder victims’ families are expressing their dismay that the voices of local victims are too-often ignored and that current resources and agencies aren’t sufficiently meeting the needs of many victims of color.

Over a dozen murder victims’ families held a news conference Thursday morning in front of the Orlando Police headquarters. Those participating are members of local victims’ support groups, including Let Your Voice Be Heard Inc., Beautiful Safe Beginnings, and Men of Purpose.

Thursday’s speakers included the parents and children of individuals murdered in the Orlando area. They asked the Orlando Police Department for an official meeting to hear about victims’ and surviving families’ needs in the wake of violence, to express concerns about how the Orlando Police Department has interacted with communities of color, and to work toward better communication going forward.

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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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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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Don’t miss this event in Kansas!

Our friends at the Kansas Coalition Against the Death Penalty (KCADP) have an exciting event planned for Saturday, October 21, and we wanted to make sure you heard about it!

Join KCADP for their annual Abolition Conference at 1pm on 10/21 at the Church of the Brethren in McPherson. You’ll hear Kansans speak about the social, economic, political, and psychological costs of the death penalty in “The Kansas Death Penalty: What a Waste, 2017!”

The four panelists each have personal experience with and a unique perspective to share on the death penalty: 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 →

Let’s build a world where violence is rare | 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.

Vice’s in-depth Charlottesville video is a horrifying look at hatredThe Boston Globe
Our country watched white nationalists descend upon Charlottesville, VA, to deliver messages of hate and bigotry. Vice’s viral 20 minute documentary, “Charlottesville: Race and Terror,” provides an on-the-ground picture of this dark historical moment: “Vice doesn’t lose track of what really happened over the weekend — the domestic terrorism, the chants of ‘Jews will not replace us,’ the police in full gear. The piece does not skimp on the horrors, including footage of the car plowing into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others. We see a black woman bowing in despair and disbelief after the crash, letting out a grief-stricken scream.” EJUSA condemns white supremacy, white nationalism, and violent extremism in all forms. We are fighting to create a world in which violence is rare, and there is racial justice and healing.

Statement Opposing the President’s Comments Encouraging Use of Force Against Members of our Community, National Juvenile Justice Network
EJUSA joined with several other justice organizations to condemn President Trump’s comments to law enforcement officers late last month, in which encouraged the use of force against community members. 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 →

A focus on survivors of violent crime | 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.

This month, we have a special digest to commemorate National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. This month’s stories focus on crime survivors, their needs in the wake of violence, and challenges facing communities to address those needs.

Christie’s neglect leaves crime victims without help, The Star-Ledger
Only 1/3 of the money that New Jersey is supposed to spend on crime victims actually reaches them. That is devastating for groups who are providing healing services in the most marginalized areas of their communities, addressing unmet needs, specifically in in neighborhoods of color. Through our Police/Community Initiative, EJUSA’s Fatimah Loren Muhammad is working with crime survivors and police in Newark and beyond to reimagine a system in which survivors get what they need in the wake of harm. Continue Reading →

Resolution, at last, for victim’s family in Florida

Darlene after plea announcement“It’s time for healing.”

That’s what Darlene Farah said when she walked out of the courtroom this morning, more than 3 1/2 years after her daughter, Shelby, was murdered.

James Rhodes pleaded guilty to killing Shelby after reaching an agreement with the new State’s Attorney, Melissa Nelson, that would take the death penalty off the table and forgo a trial. Nelson’s predecessor, Angela Corey, had refused to consider such an agreement with Rhodes and his attorneys. Corey even vilified Darlene for her desire to have the charges end in a plea deal.

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