Department of Violence Prevention: City of Oakland Did a Good Thing

Posted on 01. Jul, 2017 by .


The City of Oakland did a good thing on June 20, 2017.  It created a Department of Violence Prevention (DVP), with a Chief of Violence Prevention reporting directly to the city administration and a mandate to work directly with victims of violent crime — and those who are most likely to be future victims or perpetrators of violent crime – by pursuing a public health approach to dramatically reduce violent crime and end the cycle of trauma in impacted communities.  

unnamedFor too long, Oakland has endured murders of its youth, domestic violence in its families and sex trafficking in its streets, not to mention myriad issues with the Oakland Police Department.

Councilmembers Lynette McElhaney, Larry Reid and Rebecca Kaplan supported a DVP throughout months of community and council meetings, where there was not always agreement.  At the meetings, person after person came to the microphone to talk about loved ones killed on the streets of Oakland, horrific experiences with domestic violence and human trafficking in this city. They talked about multiple violent deaths in their families, a murder in a church parking lot, a murder near City Hall, attending funeral after funeral, a city where boys and men of color are 62 times more likely to be murdered than their white counterpartsimages_9606_7f81049ce35_original

One woman said we need to rise above the doubt and to look beyond what is, to act for what is possible.  The council and the community did a good thing by creating a DVP.  They honored lost and traumatized lives and took a significant step in the healing work of violence prevention and community building.

Thank you to the East Bay community, the City Council and the Northern CA Peace Alliance/ Department of Peacebuilding supporters for attending council meetings and contacting councilmembers.

Read the article online for more details.

More/Leave a Comment

Pax Christi USA Featured in New Documentary

Posted on 01. Jul, 2017 by .


A new documentary titled “Peace be with you” has just been released by Punnamedeter Stewart. The documentary includes interviews from members of the Pax Christi chapter in Beverly, MA as well as some of the Pax Christi USA National Staff and other social justice peacemakers.

The piece is a beautiful collective of personal stories from regular people sharing their yearnings for peace in our world. With alluring visual images and soothing music, it is a lovely way to take a 30-minute retreat. We invite you watch it when you can this week.

More/Leave a Comment

Restorative Justice Resources

Posted on 01. Jul, 2017 by .

The following are resources that may be used to learn more about restorative justice and get involved.
From the California Catholic Conference: www.restorejustice.com
The Little Book of Restorative Justice is the book that is often reference of the theory of RJ. The following has the entire book: https://www.unicef.org/tdad/littlebookrjpakaf.pdf

Principles of Restorative Justice: 

Our criminal justice system asks these three questions:

  1. What law was broken?
  2. Who broke it?
  3. What punishment is warranted?

Restorative justice asks an entirely different set of questions:

  1. Who was harmed?
  2. What are the needs and responsibilities of all affected?
  3. How do all affected parties together address needs and repair harm?

An emerging approach to justice rooted in indigenous cultures, restorative justice is reparative, inclusive, and balanced. It emphasizes:

  1. Repairing harm
  2. Inviting all affected to dialogue together to figure out how to do so
  3. Giving equal attention to community safety, victim’s needs, and offender accountability and growth

Restorative Justice has diverse applications. It may be applied to address conflict in families, schools, communities, workplace, the justice system, and to even to address mass social conflict 

More/Leave a Comment

‘I Need More Mexicans’: A Kansas Farmer’s Message to Trump

Posted on 01. Jul, 2017 by .


Taken from bloomberg.com –

Undocumented immigrants make up about half the workforce in U.S. agriculture, according to various estimates. But that pool of labor is shrinking, which could spell trouble for farms, feedlots, dairies, and meatpacking plants—particularly in a state such as Kansas, where unemployment in many counties is barely half the already tight national rate. “Two weeks ago, my boss told me, ‘I need more Mexicans like you,’” says a 25-year-old immigrant employed at a farm in the southwest part of the state, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he’s trying to get his paperwork in order. “I said, ‘Well, they’re kind of hard to find.’”

800x-1Arrests of suspected undocumented workers have jumped 38 percent since President Donald Trump signed a pair of executive orders targeting immigration in January. The crackdown is having a deterrent effect along the southern border: Apprehensions by U.S. Customs and Border Protection totaled 118,383 from January through May, a 47 percent decrease from the same period last year, which indicates fewer people are trying to enter the U.S. illegally. Michael Feltman, an immigration lawyer in Cimarron, Kan., says his firm has seen more people coming in with naturalization questions over the past six months than over the previous four years combined. “I’m really worried every little traffic ticket’s going to turn into detention,” he says.

Others feel the same way. “The threat of deportation and the potential loss of our workforce has been very terrifying for all of us businesses here,” says Trista Priest in Satanta, Kan. She’s the chief strategy officer at Cattle Empire, the country’s fifth-largest feed yard, whose workforce is about 86 percent Latino.

In Haskell County, where Cattle Empire is the biggest employer, 77 percent of voters cast ballots for Trump, compared with 57 percent statewide. But Priest and other employers interviewed for this story complained that the immigration policies emanating from Washington, 1,500 miles away, clash with the needs of local businesses.

read more here

More/Leave a Comment

FAQ on Executive Order

Posted on 21. Jun, 2017 by .


Frequently Asked Questions on Executive Order 13780 Related to Refugee Resettlement and Travel Ban

What is the current impact of the Maryland and the Hawaii federal court cases on the refugee resettlement Executive Order (EO) 13780?
The Executive Order (EO) 13780 continues to be partially halted by preliminary injunctions in these two federal court cases.
  • Hawaii: The Hawaii federal district court issued a preliminary injunction halting the national implementation of EO 13780 Sections 2 and 6, (the sections about the 90-day travel ban against six Muslim-majority countries, and about the 120-day halt to refugee admissions, the reduction of refugee admissions to 50,000 for the year, and the consideration of state involvement in refugee resettlement). The Administration appealed the Hawaii case to the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (9th Circuit). On June 12th, the 9th Circuit issued an opinion partially affirming the preliminary injunction. As a result, the nationwide injunction still applies Section 2(c), Section 6(a), and Section 6(b), dealing with the 90-day travel ban, the 120-day halt to refugee admissions, and the reduction of refugee admissions, respectively. The 9th Circuit allowed certain provisions of the Executive Order to be implemented, namely Section 6(d) which calls for the Secretary of State to review the existing law to see how state and local jurisdictions can have greater involvement in determining refugee placement.
  • Maryland: The Maryland federal district court issued a preliminary injunction halting the implementation nationwide of EO 13780 Section 2(c), that is, only the section regarding the 90-day travel ban against six Muslim-majority countries. The Administration appealed the Maryland case to the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (4th Circuit). The 4th Circuit handed down a decision on May 25th to uphold the validity of the preliminary injunction of the Maryland federal court halting Section 2(c) of EO 13780.
What are the next steps in these Maryland and Hawaii federal legal cases?
On June 1, 2017, the Administration appealed the 4th Circuit decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Administration asked the Supreme Court to stay the preliminary injunction pending appeal. Although the Supreme Court has not yet decided to take the case, petitioners IRAP and HIAS filed their response to the appeal and stay on June 12th. The U.S. Supreme Court could decide sometime after the June 12th response whether to hear the case and grant the requested stay pending the appeal. If the Administration seeks to appeal the 9th Circuit decision – which is anticipated – it is highly possible that the Supreme Court will hear both the 4th Circuit and 9th Circuit appeals together, since they relate to the same Executive Order.
What issues are the courts reviewing?
Whether the cases are heard separately or not, the underlying facts and questions for both cases tie them together. These threshold questions include whether the Plaintiffs are likely to succeed on their claims that:
  • The President did not properly invoke his delegated power under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to restrict entry of individuals and refugees. He failed to include proper findings that support the conclusion that entry of individuals from the six countries, entry of refugees for 120 days, and entry of refugees over the 50,000 cap would be harmful to the national interest.
  • There was an improper motivation in issuing the EO that violates the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution. An interrelated issue concerns the extent of the Administration’s power when it comes to national security matters.
  • The President cannot lower the Presidential Determination (PD) in the middle of the year, per 8 U.S.C. § 1157. The law requires the President to set the PD before the start of each fiscal year, in consultation with Congress. It provides a manner in which to increase this number mid-year but not to lower the number. (This claim is only relevant to review of Section 6 in the 9th Circuit case).
What are the potential outcomes of these cases?
  • If the Supreme Court continues to find the preliminary injunction(s) proper and it continues to halt EO 13780, it will likely send the case back to the federal district court(s) for final rulings about the legality and/or constitutionality of EO 13780. Refugees would continue to arrive, pending the final decision.
  • If the Supreme Court finds the preliminary injunction(s) improper and stays the injunction(s) and EO 13780 is allowed to be implemented in whole or part, it will likely send the case back to the federal court(s). Refugees will cease to arrive, during the implementation of the pause called for in the EO and pending the final rulings.
What could be the impact of these court cases on U.S. refugee admissions for FY2017 and FY2018?
  • If the EO continues to be halted by the Hawaii preliminary injunction, refugee arrivals in FY2017 are expected to reach an estimated 70,000 by the end of the year. There is funding for 75,000-85,000 refugees authorized by Congress in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017.
  • If the preliminary injunction is stayed and the EO is implemented in June and completed by the end of September 2017, the refugee arrivals for FY2017 are likely to be approximately whatever the totals are by that time (as of 5/18 they were 44,781) plus possibly some three weeks of refugee arrivals plus most vulnerable arrivals allowed during the 120-day review period. In other words, they are likely to be right around 50,000 refugees for FY2017. That total would be adjusted up or down depending on the EO restart date.
What could be the impact of these court cases on the Presidential Determination for FY2017 and FY2018?
Ordinarily, the President has great power over the annual Presidential Determination (PD) of the number of refugee admissions for a given year. However, for FY2017, the decision by the 9th Circuit has raised questions as to whether the President has the power to unilaterally decrease the PD mid-year. Some Administration officials have been saying for some time that EO 13780 is not meant to undermine resettlement itself, but to make sure it is done safely. If this is indeed the Administration’s view, then after the EO has run its course-either by being reinstated in FY2017 or by being found improper–a PD of 75,000 for FY2018 would be a good way to illustrate that there is no animus toward refugees.

More/Leave a Comment