JDI and its 57 member programs have been deeply engaged in learning and action regarding our work around racial equity. Over the years, we have aimed to intentionally ground our prevention programming and policy priorities within a framework that uplifts the needs of all survivors and resists the root causes of sexual and domestic violence by centering the voices, experiences, and direction of the most marginalized survivors.
While this work has evolved, we acknowledge how much work there remains to do. The country and our movement are also at a crossroads of a public reckoning with the history and legacy of the violence of white supremacy. We are being called upon to consider how our own policies, practices, approaches, and analyses perpetuate and uphold systemic racism and other oppressions.
As survivors, advocates, and leaders within a movement to end gender-based violence, we must recognize our roles in promoting and reinforcing the use of systems that disproportionately harm Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC). Approaches that center criminal legal system (CLS) responses do not always serve, and in fact can cause harm to, survivors of color, LGBTQQI+ survivors, immigrant survivors, and/or survivors with disabilities, among others.
JDI put together a brief to lay out these issues and guide our internal and external work to advocate for survivors through a racial equity and anti-oppression framework. This brief outlines why we feel compelled to reexamine our relationship with the CLS at this time, to identify those approaches that will provide greater safety, autonomy, and justice for survivors and communities, and to act and lead in ways that affirm that #BlackLivesMatter.
We invite you to join us on this journey of learning and exploration. We hope this brief and compiled materials will help you understand our approaches to these issues. Because survivor and community experiences and needs are deeply varied, we are aware that, at times, tensions and conflicts may arise amongst our many stakeholders. We hope to navigate these moments with dialogue, compassion, and a deep grounding in an understanding of the impact of any decision on the most marginalized amongst us.
We also invite you to participate in several forums offered for JDI members and an exciting public event on transformative and restorative justice.
Please share your questions and thoughts as together we determine our paths forward in the coming months and beyond.
For justice and safety,
The JDI Team