In This Issue

Paving the Way to Healing Conference celebrates its 5th year

By: Kevin Stewart, Training and Development Specialist, Cure Violence 

The fifth annual Paving the Way to Healing conference was held on April 6, 2019 at the St. Francis de Sales School for the Deaf in Brooklyn New York. Paving the Way to Healing serves as one of the only conferences in the country that is dedicated to supporting and uplifting the experiences communities of color and the proven strategies that work to provide healing. The conference brings together grassroots and nonprofit organizations across New York City committed to addressing the impact of trauma and violence on communities of color. Past conferences have highlighted culturally informed, culturally relevant and community driven interventions. Attendees range from victim services professionals, reentry specialists, youth advocates and community leaders. The theme for this year’s conference, Healing Equity: From Practice to Power highlighted community and individual healing approaches by and for young men of color. Specifically, workshops focused on healing strategies deployed by members of the LGBTQ/GNC community, undocumented communities, people with disabilities, and women and men of color who survive violence. Keynote speaker, activist, educator, and curator Mariame Keba spoke about her work to abolish the Prison Industrial complex and end youth incarceration. 

To learn more about the Paving the Way to Healing conference and the phenomenal work happening in New York to uplift healing and transformation in communities of color visit Neighbors In Action at and Common Justice at

Program Spotlight: Santa Cruz County - Project Thrive, CA

Briefly describe your program and the population that it serves Santa Cruz County’s Project Thrive, a project of the countywide Youth Violence Prevention Task Force, is a multi-sector collaborative that is focused on addressing gaps in how the community identifies, supports, and serves young men and boys of color between the ages of 16-24 that reside in the communities of Watsonville, Santa Cruz and Live Oak. Project partners include Santa Cruz County Probation, Applied Survey Research, Community Action Board, Santa Cruz County Behavioral Health, the County Office of Education, and United Way of Santa Cruz County. 

Project Thrive is taking a diversified approach to better meet the needs of this population and their families by providing a combination of direct service approaches as well as supporting systems capacity building to create more trauma informed and equitable web of support for these communities. The direct service component consists of a street outreach program that is working in partnership with behavioral health to provide both clinical and general support services. In transforming systems, Project Thrive is working on a number of strategies including the development of a coordinated critical incident response system, promoting restorative justice in schools, and convening stakeholders for trainings, workshops, and ongoing peer learning and support sessions to advance ideas and tools on the issues of trauma-informed systems, culturally responsive organizations, and addressing implicit bias. 

What have you found to be the biggest need for this population and how has your program addressed that need? 

Since the work of Project Thrive began in 2015, the need to prevent youth and families from falling through the cracks and supporting them in getting their needs met have been top priorities and have informed the direct service and systems strategies that the project has pursued. Recognizing that individuals and families need trauma-informed case management that promotes wellbeing and success in the wake of violence, but that there is also a need to change the ways in which trauma-inducing systems are impacting the community’s wellness as a whole. By utilizing a public health approach and working with systems partners, the project is seeking to shift the culture and narrative around these communities, putting an emphasis on prevention and early intervention, and intentionally focusing on issues of equity. 

What are you proudest of regarding your work through the SMSV grant? 

The Project Thrive team is proud to be addressing issues of equity head on and are excited to see the commitment from other system partners in being a part of this work. The project convenes these stakeholders, known as the Leadership Cohort for Advancing Equity and Cultural Responsivity, on a semi-annual basis to have courageous conversations, participate in 

peer learning, push each other to do things differently, and collaboratively problem solve. The variety of service providers, number of participants, and consistency in participation has been very promising and Project Thrive is seeing a true sense of shared ownership in moving the needle on these issues. Evaluation shows that participants want more time dedicated to this work, wanting to meet more often and for longer sessions. It has been expressed that this is the only place they feel like work is actually happening on these issues. 

What new relationship or resource have you found to help move your work forward? 

Through working together on Project Thrive, the project partners have made great strides in deepening and strengthening their relationships and ability to effectively work together. The dynamic of this team has been instrumental in moving this work forward. Collectively this team has been able to increase trust with one another, which has led to increased transparency and accountability. They have strengthened their skills in processing through difficult issues and have intentionally looked at lessons learned to continually improve. The theme of strengthened relationships has also carried beyond the leadership team to other partners, including law enforcement, which has created the opportunity to do things differently in all of our work. 

What is something positive a client or partner said about your work related to the SMSV grant? 

Through the work of the Leadership Cohort for Advancing Equity & Cultural Responsivity, participants have made commitments to develop equity committees in their organizations, diversify their boards, train all of their staff on implicit bias, and implement assessments to identify areas to improve. 

Quote from two Community Action Board Street Outreach participants: 

  • “Thanks to these programs, they keep people from being discouraged when they’re getting rejected for jobs.” -- a client with a felony record who recently found work after a long period of unanswered job applications. 
  • “They’re super reliable, and always got my back. They help me see the big picture.” -- Street Outreach client, on his CAB case managers. 

What have you learned that you will carry with you as you continue this work? 

As a team, through doing the work of Project Thrive, we have learned that systems work takes strategy and patience. Managing the expectations and hopes for quick results for ourselves and other stakeholders is an ongoing process, but we are seeing that when we tackle tough topics collectively with intentionality and thoughtfulness we can create non-polarizing spaces for courageous conversations and are seeing, in real time, progress unfolding.

Strategic communications for program sustainability
Communications are imbedded in everything you do at your organization. How you talk about your program can impact the type of support you get from hospital administrators, your CEOs, or even elected officials; it also impacts the financial support you may get through a grant, or from a donor; or perhaps you are interested in creating a collaboration with a school based program, being strategic about your communications will help you reach your goals. 

The most important thing to think about is what is your goal, what are you trying to achieve? If you want to create awareness, think a step further: what would you like people to do once they are ‘woke’? Then you can decide who is your target audience, who is going to say: “yes, let’s continue this program”?. Then you can craft your messages to include a description of the problem your program solves, a solution (or your ask), and why this is important (evoking core values). 

As you think about the sustainability of your program, reach out us at BMSG for technical assistance in enhancing your messaging and communications planning. 

In the News

‘I was once a destroyer. Now I’m a rebuilder:’ How a Milwaukee violence prevention program hopes to reduce gun violence
Milwaukee NNS

The four things London needs to do to fix its knife crime epidemic

Families left with emotional, financial toll of gun violence
San Francisco Gate

A Global Public Health Epidemic Going Completely Untreated: Intimate Partner Violence

Media coverage of violent events is found to fuel a cycle of stress
Los Angeles Times

The news coverage of Columbine helped turn the tragedy into an international phenomenon
5280 - Columbine: 20 Years Later

There’s no evidence that hardening schools to make kids safer from gun violence actually works
Washington Post

Fighting crime before it happens: DC funds violence interrupter programs
Trauma-Informed Care Corner
By Ted Corbin, MD 
Drexel University Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice
Submitted in partnership with the Mighty Engine
Far too many young people suffer from traumatic stress, and many unknowingly. The longer they go without understanding what’s happening to them, the more missed opportunities there are for healing.

Like many of the other hospital-based violence intervention programs (HVIPs) around the world, we, at the Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice (CNSJ) and Healing Hurt People (HHP), are committed to deepening, expanding and accelerating this conversation to include discussions of race, gender, sexuality, equity, and the broadest definitions of social justice. And above all, we strive to advance a central belief in our communities’ collective strength and capacity to heal.

We see talking differently about trauma as a waypoint on this journey, not a destination. This is a necessary step as we seek to grow exponentially the numbers of people who see, hear, think and ultimately act differently in helping hurt people heal from traumatic stress.

Traumatic stress is a human reaction to constantly feeling unsafe. It can affect anyone experiencing continued threats of violence. Sharing our stories helps us realize that we are not alone, and our words make it possible for other to understand our reality.

A letter from a participant:

You don’t know me, but I was raised in North Philadelphia seeing violence all my life. I was very traumatized from a very young age. My uncle got killed when I was seven years old. I saw different stuff happen around me in my neighborhood, like seeing people go to jail and being in poverty.

I started smoking marijuana very young because I was stressed about my dad not being in my life. At 17 I became a victim when I got shot. After this happened, I said something’s got to change. I knew within myself I had to change something in my life. I started going to Community College and got a job trying to work.

When I first learned about trauma, I didn’t think I was traumatized until I actually sat down and talked to different people. They made me realize I was traumatized from what I’d been through. Anybody would be after seeing what I have. You don’t have to be shot. You don’t have to be stabbed. You can just be there and see something that can traumatize you for the rest of your life.

A lot of us are traumatized and don’t know it. It’s hard talking about it because I don’t like talking about it, but I wanted you to know you’re not alone in feeling the way you do. Hope it helps to read this letter.

From someone healing from trauma.
Funding Opportunities

The James Irvine Foundation James Irvine Foundation Leadership Awards 

Amount: $250,000 

Deadline: April 26, 2019 

The James Irvine Foundation Leadership Awards recognize leaders in California whose work addresses an issue that is critical to the state's future and will affect the quality of life of a substantial number of Californians. Leaders nominated for the prize must be working to advance an innovative strategy that represents a leap in creativity or a fundamental departure from usual practice; have a measurable record of accomplishment; have a track record of building bridges among people with differing viewpoints or different backgrounds; have a project at a stage at which this recognition could substantially enhance its likelihood of inspiring replication; and be well-positioned and prepared to take the next step in advancing change. 


William T. Grant Foundation Inequality Research Grants 

Amount: up to $600,000 

Deadline: May 1, 2019 

The William T. Grant Foundation, which seeks to improve the lives of youth between the ages 5 and 25, believes that the research community can play a critical role in reversing inequality. The foundation is accepting applications for research that focuses on ways to reduce disparities in youth’s academic, behavioral, social, and economic outcomes. Priority will be given to projects related to inequality on the basis of economic, racial/ethnic, and language backgrounds; research that explores other areas of inequality also will be considered based on a compelling case for its impact. 


U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice Evaluation of Services for Victims of Crime 

Amount: “multiple awards with an estimated total amount awarded of up to $4 million” 

Deadline: May 6, 2019 

NIJ is seeking applications for rigorous evaluations of programs that provide services for victims of crime. This solicitation is focused on formative evaluations and evaluability assessments, not to exceed a 24-month period of performance. This solicitation supports the U.S. Department of Justice’s priority of reducing victimization by examining interventions that may be effective in reducing revictimization and supporting victim needs. 


U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice Research and Evaluation on Promising Reentry Initiatives 

Amount: up to $500,000 

Deadline: May 13, 2019 

With this solicitation, NIJ seeks to build knowledge on best practices in offender reentry initiatives. Specifically, NIJ requests proposals for rigorous research to examine reentry initiatives that incorporate promising practices, strategies, or programs. For this solicitation, NIJ is interested in supporting evaluations of innovative reentry initiatives that focus on juveniles, young adults (aged 18-24), and adults with a moderate-to-high risk of reoffending. A particular focus on the risk of reoffending with a violent crime is encouraged.

Research Desk

Dill, L., Rivera, B., & Sutton, S. (2018). “Don’t Let Nobody Bring You Down”. The Ethnographic Edge, 2(1), 57-65. 

This paper explores the engagement of African-American, Caribbean-American, and immigrant West African girls in the critical analysis and writing of poetry to make sense of their multi-dimensional lives. The authors worked with high-school aged girls from Brooklyn, New York who took part in a weekly school-based violence prevention program, and who became both ‘participants’ in an ethnographic research study with the authors and ‘poets’ as they creatively analyzed themes from research data. The girls cultivated a practice of reading and writing poetry that further explored dating and relationship violence, themes that emerged from the violence prevention program sessions and the ethnographic interviews. The girls then began to develop ‘poetic knowledge’ grounded in their lived experiences as urban Black girls. The authors offer that ‘participatory narrative analysis’ is an active strategy that urban Black girls enlist to foster individual and collective understanding and healing. 


Kulkarni, S. J., Stylianou, A. M., & Wood, L. (2019). Successful Rules Reduction Implementation Process in Domestic Violence Shelters: From Vision to Practice. Social Work, 64(2), 147–156. 

Domestic violence (DV) shelters provide safety for survivors to consider their options and heal from abuse. Unfortunately, survivors have reported negative experiences associated with shelter rule enforcement. Rules, such as curfew, decreased access to community social networks; and staff's rule enforcement may trigger survivors' past experiences with abusive control and structural racism. Rule enforcement may deter safe, trusting relationships between staff and residents. Statewide DV coalitions have been innovation leaders in shelter rules reduction efforts over the past decade. Seven DV shelter directors and coalition trainers with expertise implementing reduced-rule shelter models were interviewed for this study. Interview data were then analyzed using modified constructivist grounded theory methods. A three-stage implementation process emerged from the data. The initial stage highlighted efforts to create an organizational vision rooted in shared values. Shelters then intentionally focused on enhancing organizational capacity through staff development and team building. Third, rule-reduction practices were enacted through specific shelter policies and staff practices. Findings have broader implications for social work organizations also implementing anti-oppressive, survivor-centered, trauma-informed approaches, as this process involves considerable intention, training, and resources beyond services as usual. Social workers can support these efforts through student training, program development, and research efforts. 


Formica, M. K., Rajan, S., & Simons, N. (2019). Healthcare indicators and firearm homicide: an ecologic study. Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research, 11(2), 88–99.

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship between rates of firearm homicide in New York State (NYS) and indicators of access to and quality of healthcare from 2011 to 2017. 

Design/methodology/approach: Utilizing data from the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services Uniform Crime Reporting Supplemental Homicide Reports and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation County Health Rankings Program, a county-level ecologic study was conducted, descriptive statistics provided and multivariable analyses conducted to determine the associations between critical indicators of county health and firearm homicide. 

Findings: The majority of firearm homicide victims (n=2,619) were young, Black, men and the highest rates of firearm homicide were situated in urban centers. Subgroup analyses excluding large urban centers and controlling for key demographics illustrated that those counties with lower rates of clinicians were significantly associated with higher rates of firearm homicide. 

Research limitations/implications: Despite challenges integrating two large data sets, the present findings were able to illustrate the critical relationship between access to healthcare and prevalence of firearm homicide. 

Practical implications: The results of this study reinforce the importance of access to primary healthcare services and its relationship to critical health outcomes. 

Social implications: In urban settings, firearm homicides disproportionately impact young Black men, who are among the least likely to have access to healthcare. In more rural areas, access to healthcare is related directly to improved health outcomes, including reduced rates of firearm homicides. 

Originality/value: This is the first study to explore and subsequently establish the relationship between indicators of community health and firearm homicide in NYS. 


Kao, A. M., Schlosser, K. A., Arnold, M. R., Kasten, K. R., Colavita, P. D., Davis, B. R., … Heniford, B. T. (2019). Trauma Recidivism and Mortality Following Violent Injuries in Young Adults. Journal of Surgical Research, 237, 140–147. 

Background: Trauma recidivism accounts for approximately 44% of emergency department admissions and remains a significant health burden with this patient cohort carrying higher rates of morbidity and mortality. 

Methods: A level 1 trauma center registry was queried for patients aged 18-25 y presented between 2009 and 2015. Patients with nonaccidental gunshot wounds, stab wounds, or blunt assault-related injuries were categorized as violent injuries. Primary outcomes included mortality and recidivism, which were defined as patients with two unrelated traumas during the study period. Hospital records and the Social Security Death Index were used to aid in outcomes. 

Results: A total of 6484 patients presented with 1215 (18.7%) sustaining violent injuries (87.4% male, median age 22.2 y). Mechanism of violent injuries included 64.4% gunshot wound, 21.1% stab, and 14.8% blunt assault. Compared with nonviolent injuries, violent injury patients had increased risk of mortality (9.3% versus 2.1%, P < 0.0001). Out-of-hospital mortality was 2.6% (versus 0.5% nonviolent, P < 0.0005), with an average time to death being 6.4 mo from initial injury. Recidivism was 24.9% with mean time to second violent injury at 31.9 ± 21.0 mo; 14.9% had two trauma readmissions, and 8.0% had ≥3. Ninety percent of subsequent injuries occurred within 5 y, with 19.1% in the first year. 

Conclusions: The burden of injury after violent trauma extends past discharge as patients have significantly higher mortality rates following hospital release. Over one-quarter present with a second unrelated trauma or death. Improved medical, psychological, and social collaborative treatment of these high-risk patients is needed to interrupt the cycle of violent injury.

This newsletter is funded in part through a grant from the Office for Victims of Crime, Project # 2015-VF-GX-K025, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. Neither the U.S. Department of Justice nor any of its components operate, control, are responsible for, or necessarily endorse, this Web site (including, without limitation, its content, technical infrastructure, and policies, and any services or tools provided).

Copyright © 2019 Healing Justice Alliance, All rights reserved.

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