Assistant Director of Trauma Support Services at Common Justice, Sergia Andrade has more than two decades of experience in the social service field and international women’s work. She graduated from City College of New York with a BA in Black Studies and a minor in Women’s Studies, while there she represented the University at several international conferences, including the United Nations Conference on Women & NGO Conference on Women Beijing China. In 1994 she studied abroad in Senegal & Guinea (Fouta Djallon) with Association of African Women for Research and Development, and in 1995 she participated in study abroad at the Universidad Autonoma De Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic, and conducted her field study at INSTRAW (United Nations International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women).
Sergia believed at the time that her life’s work would be advocating for the inclusion of African women’s voices not only United Nation processes but also in feminist circles making room for non-traditional and indigenous women. The fall of 1997 changed this forever. Sergia was the victim of a violent crime by someone who was chemically dependent and mentally ill. After recovering from her injuries, she had to engage the criminal justice system, and this experience changed her forever. Sergia wanted the person who harmed her to get treatment and not jail time. After expressing this to the district attorney’s office and being treated disrespectfully, she took matters into her own hands and assisted the defense attorney of the person who harmed her in securing a reduced sentence. This began her active engagement with the mental health and criminal justice systems. She has since worked as an ICM (Intensive Case Management) for the New York State Department of Mental Health now OPWDD (Office for People with Developmental Disabilities); an AOT Worker (Assisted Out Patient Treatment) for Mental Health Court; a Reintegration Case Manager at Brooklyn CCC (Community Corrections Center) Halfway House for Federal Bureau of Prisons; and as the Parenting Teacher at Federal Bureau of Prisons Detention Center MCC (Metropolitan Correctional Center).
In 2009 Sergia graduated from The New School: Milano School of International Affairs, Management & Urban Policy as a Master of Science in Organizational Change & Management with hopes of using her experience and passion to bring both harmed and responsible parties justice. Sergia is polyglot, loves African history, is an activist/aspiring prison abolitionist and a proud mother of two.
Sergia now leads Common Justice’s work with people who survive violence. In this role, she connects survivors to appropriate services and supports, conducts safety planning, delivers trauma-informed curriculum and services to survivors; facilitates groups for survivors with a focus on violence, trauma, coping tactics, and culturally-rooted healing strategies; co-facilitates dialogues with survivors/harmed parties and responsible parties; and collaborate with Common Justice’s project, HealingWorks, a field- and movement-building effort focused on advancing healing equity.
"Because Justice isn't a commodity, it is our right."