Black Wounds Matter

By Sarah Stillman, The New Yorker | October 15, 2015

Stoneleigh Fellow Danielle Sered and Common Justice are featured in the New Yorker.

For most of the past three decades, crime victims’ stories have often been invoked in public forums—in courtrooms, newsrooms, and congressional hearings—to urge a “tough on crime” agenda, including the push for stricter sentencing laws. But recently, a loose network of gun-crime victims, as well as men and women who’ve survived sexual assault, violent robberies, and other violations of the social contract—what we might call a new crime-survivors movement—have emerged with an alternative policy vision. Among its many champions is Danielle Sered, the executive director of Common Justice, a restorative-justice and victim-services group based in Brooklyn. When we first met, at a crowded criminal-justice-reform conference last spring, Sered posed a series of questions that stayed with me: “What if Trayvon Martin lived, but walked with a limp? What if Eric Garner survived, but with aggravated asthma symptoms as a result of his trauma?” Then: “What would we have done for Michael Brown, if he were now in a wheelchair?”

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