From Laura’s Desk: On Black Lives Matter and living through a pandemic Written by Laura Toledo, Executive Director of the Center for Women in Transition
Welcome to the inaugural Center for Women in Transition blog! This blog is meant to provide information about our work with the women we serve, as well as our work to promote criminal justice reform.
The Center was founded on principles of restorative justice with the aim of helping women successfully transition from incarceration, while also promoting alternatives to the traditional criminal justice approach.
Today, we look at our work through the lens of current events. We are in the midst of a global health pandemic that has disproportionately impacted communities of color, and are also in the midst of a global surge of activism against police brutality of Black and Brown people. Although we have long known about the social determinants of health, the coronavirus pandemic put in stark relief that these truly are a matter of life and death.
And though we have long known that the criminal justice system is most punitive to Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color, George Floyd’s video-taped killing showing calm indifference to the right of a Black man to live and breathe shocked the conscience of our nation, and even the world. These are emotional times for all, including Center staff and clients.
Here at Center for Women in Transition, we believe that Black lives matter, and we reaffirm our stance against racism and in promotion of racial equity. We have committed ourselves to:
Listen to and support each other as we process these events
Call out racism and injustice when we see it
Support and be an active participant in practices that reduce reliance on police and the criminal justice system alone to solve problems, and invest in solutions that address root causes or crime, such as housing instability, substance use, mental illness, and poverty
We are hopeful that the current crises will lead to meaningful change. Our commitment at the Center for Women in Transition is to do everything we can to end systemic racism in our region.