Healing Justice Alliance a Mile High
Once each year, usually in late summer or early fall, like migrating birds, they gather. This year’s Healing Justice Alliance Conference happened in Denver, in September, and brought together over 370 men and women who work in hospitals and on the streets of their cities to heal lives wounded by violence. (Check out hundreds of great images of the conference.) This year’s featured speakers brought both inspiration and perspective to the conference theme: Historical Trauma: Treating the Symptom, Healing The Root. Speakers included Dr. Joy DeGruy, nationally and internationally renowned researcher, educator, author, and Francisco “Cisco” Gallardo, a dynamic and well-respected leader from Denver who serves as the Program Director for Gang Rescue and Support Project (GRASP) a nonprofit and gang-intervention effort. This year, physicians, nurses, agency leaders, program managers, public health professionals, elected leaders joined frontline prevention workers to listen and share, to strengthen the movement to address violence as a public health issue, as a problem that needs a cure, for people who need care, understanding and attention.
Youth ALIVE!/National Network of Hospital-based Violence Intervention Programs (NNHVIP) staff organized the massive conference and presented some of the best-attended sessions. Intervention Manager Ricardo Garcia-Acosta and Intervention Director Kyndra Simmons led a session on starting your own hospital-based violence intervention program, covering everything from garnering program support to how best to help your clients; YA! Violence Interrupter Doral Myles and Executive Director Anne Marks led a session on violence recidivism, a problem which plagues many in our community but which our programs address profoundly and with real success. YA! Deputy Director John Torres joined Garcia-Acosta in a crowded session on responding to families in the aftermath of a homicide, which is the work of our Khadafy Washington Project. The session covered the importance of coordinating your response with violence outreach programs, County victim services and compensation, and how to help devastate families after the initial crisis period. Read more about the conference and the NNHVIP.
Here’s a graphic created during the conference that beautifully expresses all the topics discussed and covered: