JDI’s Spring into Action Breakfast
Held In-Person After Two Years

On Tuesday, June 14, 2022, JDI members, community leaders, committed sponsors, and friends came together in person and virtually in support of JDI’s work to end sexual assault and domestic violence and to celebrate 2022 Justice in Action awardees – the Honorable Rachael Rollins and The Massachusetts Treasurer’s Office of Economic Empowerment, led by Executive Director Alayna Van Tassel.

Held at the Boston College Club in downtown Boston, this year’s breakfast was extra special because it was the first time in two years that we were able to gather in person after engaging with one another via small screens and chat boxes. This year’s breakfast raised just under $150,000 – a testament to the commitment of our wonderful sponsors, the generosity of individual supporters, and the hard work of the Spring into Action Host Committee! We thank everyone for their continual support and generosity.

JDI ED Debra Robbin, US Attorney Rachael Rollins, HarborCOV CEO Kourou Pich, Love Life Now Foundation Director Lovern Gordon, and Verizon Government Affairs Director New England Stephanie Lee

CHECK OUT THE PHOTO GALLERY HERE; VIDEO LINK BELOW: https://janedoeinc.smugmug.com/Spring-Into-Action-2022

The breakfast event began with remarks by Denella Clark and Maria Harris, Co-Chairs of this year’s Spring into Action. Following the Land Acknowledgement, attendees were treated to a performance of “A Painting of Peace” by Caleb McCoy, a Bostonian rapper, musician and producer who has branded his style as OAK music. OAK stands for One of a Kind – and Caleb lives up to that moniker! As Caleb has said: “Honesty is a beautiful thing, and even more beautiful when put to dope beats and smooth melodies.” Caleb also closed the morning with “Be a Man,” a piece that JDI commissioned for the 15th anniversary Massachusetts White Ribbon Day Campaign.

The highlight of the breakfast was the heartfelt and personal conversation among Rachael (as she insisted we call her!), Alayna, Denella and Maria. Getting beyond their resumes, the awardees shared what they considered their greatest accomplishments and what keeps them motivated.

L-R Maria Harris, Rachael Rollins, Alayna Van Tassel, Denella Clark SIA Panal

“When Treasurer Goldberg established OEE seven years ago it was the first of its kind in the country and has become a national model. Treasurer Goldberg had a vision to bring economic empowerment to this state. I am incredibly proud to be part of a team making sure that all Massachusetts residents have access to the knowledge and tools to make informed financial decisions throughout their lives.” ~ Alayna Van Tassel

Alayna also gave a shout out to JDI’s Director of Membership and Programs for the partnership with OEE on addressing the economic and financial issues faced by survivors. “Any bankers in the room? Please get this training! It was so eye-opening. This training is so important to recognize when survivors are looking for safe places, there’s a role that banks can play.”

US Attorney Rollins shared the positive results of her data and community driven approaches to divert resources from overcriminalization of lesser crimes to focus instead on more serious crimes and seek alternative approaches to accountability.

“We are smart on crime. [When I joined the Suffolk DA’s office, I decided to] flip the presumption from always prosecuting to instead…push them into a city, state or federal service because close to 80% suffer from mental health disorder, are in crisis, have a substance abuse disorder or have food or housing insecurity…. This is the last face you want to see if you commit a violent serious crime. I promise you because this face looks you dead in the face and says to you and your family, I know you are more than this moment, but in this moment, you will be held accountable.”  ~ Rachael Rollins

Rollins also shared an anecdote that speaks to her commitment to flip the conversation and assumptions about crime, victimhood, and accountability. “One of the first things that happened under my leadership as DA was when Jassy Correia was kidnapped and murdered in 2019. At the press conference, I said, ‘You know what we aren’t going to do? We aren’t going to talk about what Jassy was wearing or her friends. We are going to tell men to stop raping and kidnapping and murdering us and to start speaking to other men about violence. This is an issue for everyone.”

Being all about engagement, Denella invited the audience to ask a question of the honorees. Host Committee member Arcadia Ewell, Miss Blackstone Valley, drew on her background as a PhD Student at Boston University where she is studying Developmental Science to ask about how a scientist can help contribute to some of those mentality shifts and focus on evidence-based approaches to violence crime that Rollins described.

Rollins responded, “We need you – we need scientists, psychologists, and others to help us stay current and bring an additional level of inquiry that allows us to consider brain development, impact of trauma. Reach out and offer information and resources. Don’t be afraid to jump in!”

That is a message for all of us!

Whether it’s being an active bystander, getting involved in civic issues, using our expertise and experience to address social concerns, or finding ways to support the mission of JDI, we all have a role to play! You are part of the movement and your contributions – here today, in your personal lives and professional settings – will make a difference!

Want to get inspired? Watch the breakfast program!

Want to help make sure JDI continues to have the resources it needs?

Please consider making a one-time gift or become a sustaining donor through JDI’s Grand Circle of Giving. Log on to bit.ly/JDIgrandcircle.

No donation is too small. We offer special programming for these donors throughout the year. Whether you give $50 a month or, as we figured out, an annual donation of $1000 comes to $83.33 a month, your support will mean that JDI can pivot when new challenges arise, can take a chance on innovative approaches, and can continue to be a bold leader for Massachusetts.

Thank you for your generosity for this year’s breakfast and always. We can’t wait to continue this vital work in partnership with all of you!

To learn about more ways that you can support JDI, please contact: Toni Troop, JDI’s Director of Communications and Development at 617-557-1807 or ttroop@janedoe.org