New York, NY—The Vera Institute of Justice today announced a first-in-kind learning collaborative for people and organizations working with young men of color who have been harmed by trauma and violence.
Young men of color are disproportionately victimized by crime. Data collected by the Bureau of Statistics at the U.S. Department of Justice from 1996 through 2007 show that young black men were most likely to be robbed each year, and most likely to be victimized by violence overall in six of the 11 years. For young men of color, the violence against them is also more likely to include homicide. Yet, few services exist to address their specific experiences, culture, and needs in the aftermath of such violence. The HealingWorks Learning Collaborative addresses the wide service gap faced by these young survivors by delivering tools, resources, and community-building support—available in an online resource center—to the people and organizations that serve them.
HealingWorks is a project of Common Justice, a victim service and alternative-to-incarceration program based in restorative justice principles, which is a Vera demonstration project and is supported by the Langeloth Foundation. The collaborative’s online resource center—found at www.healingworks.org—is a hub for the members of this learning community and provides a framework for working with young men of color, tools for increasing access to funding and support for such work, perspectives of young survivors, and a forum for peer-to-peer communication, among other resources.
“The violence we suffer as men of color has been normalized by the larger society,” said Michael Rowe, case coordinator for harmed parties at Common Justice. “It is imperative that we find ways to let these young men know that it’s acceptable and healthy to address their pain, and to help them learn how to do so in a constructive manner. Uniting the individuals and organizations taking on this work is a critical step in improving our responses to these young men.”
An increasing number of people and organizations are becoming members of the HealingWorks collaborative and have contributed articles, resources, upcoming events, personal stories, and comments on the collaborative forum for peer-to-peer communications. These include groups like Healing4Our Families and Our Nation, Healing Brothers, and the Precedential Group, all small community-based groups that address trauma and violence as part of other services they provide. HealingWorks also works with larger, dedicated victim service programs that want to begin or enhance their work with young men of color.
Located in Brooklyn, New York, Common Justice develops and advances solutions to violent crime that transform the lives of victims and foster racial equity without relying on incarceration. Locally, the project operates the first alternative-to-incarceration and victim service program in the United States that focuses on violent felonies in the adult courts. Seventy percent of the victims served by their work are young men of color.