CU has been working to advance racial justice and ending mass incarceration of communities and shifting resources from policing and incarceration into school and community supports that are restorative and address the root causes of trauma. Towards this end, young people impacted by the justice system and adults formerly incarcerated individuals have developed and are advancing a multi-faceted strategy that is intergenerational and that cuts across issues of school policing and decriminalization.
Survivors Alliance for Healing & Justice (SAHJ)
Survivors Alliance for Healing & Justice (SAHJ). One of CU’s core leadership development vehicles through which it works to engage individuals impacted by the justice system, community, and police violence is the Survivors Alliance for Healing and Justice (SAHJ). SAHJ brings together young people and adults who identify as survivors, including formerly incarcerated individuals, through transformative healing and justice spaces, working to shift narrative away from victim-perpetrator to addressing the root causes of trauma and advancing community justice reinvestment.
In May of this year, SAHJ organized its annual Our Road to Springfield Advocacy Day, where SAHJ leaders joined youth and faith leaders to advocate for alternatives to school and the need to shift resources from incarceration to alternative support systems, with a healing through art component and call to action on justice reinvestment. Through SAHJ, CU has expanded base-building to key urban-rural centers in Illinois that have high populations of communities of color and have high rates of incarceration.
The Reimagine Justice Illinois Campaign
Having been a leading group in the release of the $3.4 Trillion Mistake, The Cost of Mass Incarceration and Criminalization, that showed that the expansion of the justice system over the past 30 years totaled $3.4 Trillion, and a follow-up Illinois analysis that showed the expansion of justice system spending in Illinois over the past 30 years totaled over $83 billion, CU convened The Reimagine Justice Illinois Campaign, bringing together over 40 organizations, faith and policy institutions working to reclassify certain felonies to misdemeanors, apply retroactively, and create a statewide justice reinvestment fund that would into communities hardest hit by violence and incarceration. Through its organizing CU and allies are leading statewide efforts to reclassify theft and retail theft offenses (a huge contributor to incarceration among youth and adults in our communities), and shift resources from incarceration to community supports.
To learn more about our Healing Justice work or to get involved, please contact Evelin Rodriguez at [email protected].