Family Response Team


 

The Family Intervention Crisis Team, Family CIT or FCIT, is a collaboration of victims families working together to support each other and embrace newly affected victim families of police brutality, community violence, and incarceration. We are dedicated to bringing holistic healing to families and communities that has suffered the traumatic experience of police brutality, community violence, and incarceration. Services can range from emotional support, families event, vigils, healing circles, navigating the criminal justice system, financial support, to creating space for traumatized victim families to tell their story. 

 

In an article appearing in the Emergency Medicine journal January 2009, it is written that a survey of a random sample of 300 U.S. emergency physicians revealed that virtually all the doctors said they believed that law enforcement officers use excessive force to arrest and detain suspect. Today, after the killing Oscar Grant III, the Bay Area community remains in a state of shock, anger and grief and is braced for the next incident, which could injure or take the life of one of our young people.

While there are efforts to assist businesses affected by the rebellious actions of protestors, little has been acknowledged about the damages and post-traumatic conditions suffered by families directly impacted by the killing of Oscar Grant III or a judicial killing in the community.

The town hall meeting held Saturday January 10, 2009 was an important step in the healing of a community and if continued can not only mobilize faith communities to insist on policy changes but also utilize its strength to put in place a communication system, a rapid-response rescue that much like disaster plans for catastrophic events that would provide assistance to victims of police violence and their families.

We recognize that police brutality threatens the physical, emotional and psychological health of victims and their families and should be addressed not only as an issue of social reforms, but also as one of public health. It is suggested that a framework for disaster response/relief be established as an ongoing function for healing and restoration of victims’ families and the community.

Due to the urgency of the need to assist families in crisis that fall victim to violence and particularly police violence, it is proposed that consideration be given to the development of a Family First Responders Crisis Team. These individual after training by spiritual leaders, psychological and social work counselors would be available on a 24 hour basis to provide comfort, needs assessment, emergency counseling and resource referral information to get the family through the initial aftermath of a traumatic event caused by violence and treatment for injuries sustained at the hands of law enforcement officers.

This much-needed service would bridge the gap between the extended family’s natural emotional response and that of objective caring and knowledgeable individuals who can make appropriate services and resources available to the families in need. Items for discussion must include the funding of the crisis response team and the identification of appropriate personnel to staff hot lines and agencies currently in existence that could provide services to families.

The issue of the police brutality is complex and how it disproportionately affects communities of color is and far-reaching and urgent. The long history of such atrocities has evolved into a chronic condition that requires more immediate and targeted response.

 

Mothers Of The Revolution from cephus on Vimeo.

 

On January 1st 2009, Co-Founder, Cephus ‘Uncle Bobby’ Johnson, nephew Oscar Grant, was murdered by Police Officer Johannes Mehserle, BART Police Department, on the Fruitvale Station Platform. Since that date, Love Not Blood Campaign Co-Founders, Oscar Grant Uncle and Aunt, Cephus Uncle Bobby Johnson and Beatrice Auntie B Johnson, have been supporting families all over the United States and Internationally. “Having victim families interact with other “survivors” helps the survivor through their grieving process, say’s Uncle Bobby”. LNBC Family Crisis Intervention Team have work with well over fifty victims’ families and plan on expanding that approach. Families Crisis Intervention Team is the Foundation of our Campaigns. Dr. Jackson brings a wealth of therapeutic experience including working with families, couples, children, group therapy, treatment of seriously mentally ill patients, working with troubled teens, treatment of drug addiction and biofeedback. His research interests and clinical experience also include treatment with a focus on psycho-nutrition (the use of optimal nutrition to stimulate mental and physical health and healing) and brain technologies. Dr. Tony Jackson, a Love Not Blood  Campaign board member, is a member of the Bay Area chapter of the Association of Black Psychologists and the International Association of Functional Neurology and Behavioral Rehabilitation. He will lead Family Crisis Intervention team.

Our Family Crisis Intervention Team, victims themselves, know the process of navigating the grief stages. Grief reactions may be manifested long after the physical loss of a loved one. For example, parents may find that they re-experience feelings of loss many years later, such as when they see friends of their murdered child graduate from high school or college, get a job or start a family. Parents may have believed that, in the natural order of life, the older generation should die first; if so, they may have great difficulty with the fact that their young or grown children were killed while they themselves still live, thus violating this expectation. 

Siblings may feel guilty in moving on with their lives — for example, getting married or having a family. This may be especially true if these plans were not already in existence when the victim died or if the murder occurred at a time when the victim had similar plans. When the victim was also the survivor’s confidant or best friend, then the love and support which normally might have been available to help the survivor in the aftermath of the murder may be especially missed. The survivor may feel even more alone than ever. Family members may have had a conflicted relationship with the victim. The fact that their loved one has died means that these issues or bad feelings will remain unresolved, leaving the survivor with the additional loss of hope that things could have been worked out while the victim lived. Many need assistance in planning vigils, assistance getting back and forth to court, help in planning funeral services, and so much more.

Homicide survivors may experience many other kinds of loss after the murder. Because of the suddenness of the death and the stigma of the murder itself, family members may find drastic changes in their lifestyle afterward. Some of these other kinds of losses may include:
• Loss of self, a sense of having been “changed” from the person they used to be;
• Loss of a sense of control over their lives;
• Loss of independence or a greater need for dependence on other individuals and/or institutions to address the wrong that was done to them and their loved one;
• Loss of social support or social standing, with increased feelings of isolation and loneliness;
• Loss of a sense of safety and security;
• Loss or questioning of faith or religion. Very often, homicide survivors may question how God could let something like this happen to someone they love. If survivors believe that good things are a reward for a good life and their loved one was a good person, then the question of how this could happen can be very difficult for survivors; and
• Loss of community or physical environment. After the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City left 168 men, women and children dead, the surviving residents had to adapt, not only to the physical alteration of their city by the blast, but also the loss of relatives and friends.

 

Our victim family support groups have trained advocates who can accompany families to hearings, trial proceedings, meetings with the coroner, etc., providing emotional support and information about the process. The criminal justice system of motions and appeals can be quite confusing when you have little or no information about what is happening and why. The need to learn as much as possible about the criminal system presents itself just when family members’ nerves are already stretched close to the breaking point. Through participation in support groups, many homicide survivors have found that others who have been through the same experience have also had similar reactions. They find that they have permission to openly express the pain of their loss, speak the unspeakable and finally reveal “revenge fantasies” — which are a normal reaction to violent victimizations. For these reasons, our support groups can be very “normalizing” for families and friends of victims, allowing them to feel that they are not going crazy and that others are experiencing and surviving the same depth, complexity, and confusion of emotions.

The support group setting also permits survivors who are further along in their healing to give hope to those who are newly bereaved or who are having an especially difficult time. Through providing and receiving support, survivors are able to help each other and to see that some good is able to come out of the pain that they have experienced. Although some people may find that they still prefer one-to-one counseling or support services, it might be useful to try several group support meetings. This is because people are often surprised at how helpful they are over time. However, a word of caution is in order here — sometimes people report feeling worse for a while after attending a support group meeting. This is because many of the painful feelings have been brought to the surface. As difficult as this may be at the time, many survivors state that this process ultimately helps them to progress through the grieving process. What they have found is that there is no way to get through the grief except to just go through it, however difficult it may be. People who have lost family and friends through murder have stated that they often experience an immediate and close bond with other homicide survivors, even if they had never met them before and even if they do not have the opportunity to meet them face-to-face. Your donation is extremely important and will greatly be of a benefit to the grieving families.

The F.C.I.T is a traveling team. Three members and one a clinical psychologist. Dr. Tony Jackson is a clinical psychologist and co-director of PranaMind. His clinical experience includes tours with Children’s Hospital-Oakland, New Leaf Treatment Center, Oakland Community Counseling and Sunset Day Treatment Center in San Francisco. Dr. Jackson will assist the CIT to deal with challenging situations.

Additionally, our F.C.I..T will create a mental health advisory board to assist with developing, recommending, and reviewing training that could greatly aid in helping families recover from the initial trauma experienced.

Family CIT responsibilities will include, but not limited to:

*Traveling to where family has suffered the traumatic loss of a loved one to police shooting
*Escorting families experiencing mental-health crisis to hospitals for evaluation.
*Utilizing Fire Department’s community medical unit to assist in crisis situations.
*When possible, making sure mental-health incidents are not treated as criminal offenses.
*Helping families through their grieving process
*Assisting in organizing vigils.
*Providing space for family support group therapy.

 

According to The Guardian, “The Counted, People Killed by Police in the US”,  the need for a Family Crisis Intervention Team is extremely important.

Why a Family C.I.T
When someone is murdered, the death is sudden, violent, final and incomprehensible. The loved one is no longer there — the shared plans and dreams are no longer possible. The loss of the relationship will be grieved in different ways by all those who felt close to the victim because their relationships with the victim were all different.

Grief reactions may be manifested long after the physical loss of a loved one. For example, parents may find that they re-experience feelings of loss many years later, such as when they see friends of their murdered child graduate from high school or college, get a job or start a family.
Parents may have believed that, in the natural order of life, the older generation should die first; if so, they may have great difficulty with the fact that their young or grown children were killed while they themselves still live, thus violating this expectation.
Siblings may feel guilty in moving on with their lives — for example, getting married or having a family. This may be especially true if these plans were not already in existence when the victim died or if the murder occurred at a time when the victim had similar plans. When the victim was also the survivor’s confidant or best friend, then the love and support which normally might have been available to help the survivor in the aftermath of the murder may be especially missed. The survivor may feel even more alone than ever.
Family members may have had a conflicted relationship with the victim. The fact that their loved one has died means that these issues or bad feelings will remain unresolved, leaving the survivor with the additional loss of hope that things could have been worked out while the victim lived.

Losing a child to police killing is one of the most traumatic experiences that any family can experience. Recovery from such a loss can not happen without support. Our Family Crisis Intervention Team, as victims themselves, knows the process of navigating the grief stages. Your donations will greatly enable our Family CIT to continue to assist these victims families. Many need assistance in planning vigils, assistance getting back and forth to court, help in planning funeral services, and so much more.

Why now? Financial Losses
Homicide survivors may lose much more than their loved one following the murder. There may be a significant loss of income in the family, especially if the victim was the primary “breadwinner.” Other family members may find they are unable to go to work because they cannot concentrate or because they need to be present at court hearings and may subsequently lose their jobs. There may be loss of the family home if mortgage payments cannot be made. Plans for school may have to be postponed because of financial difficulties or because survivors cannot concentrate on work or studies. If the victim survived briefly before dying, extraordinary medical bills may have been incurred for which the family may not have had sufficient insurance coverage. In the last 30 days, families needing assistance is critical. The emotional loss combine with the financial loss creates and a tremendous amount of stress that leads to mental unstableness. Your donations in supporting our fundraising goals of $20,000 in 30 days, will assist us in traveling to families affected by this traumatic experience, providing financial assistance in the burial process, paying for obituaries, assisting families in paying their rent to avoid evictions, and in other areas that can help these families survive their financial loss.

Other Losses
Homicide survivors may experience many other kinds of loss after the murder. Because of the suddenness of the death and the stigma of the murder itself, family members may find drastic changes in their lifestyle afterward. Some of these other kinds of losses may include:
• Loss of self, a sense of having been “changed” from the person they used to be;
• Loss of a sense of control over their lives;
• Loss of independence or a greater need for dependence on other individuals and/or institutions to address the wrong that was done to them and their loved one;
• Loss of social support or social standing, with increased feelings of isolation and loneliness;
• Loss of a sense of safety and security;
• Loss or questioning of faith or religion. Very often, homicide survivors may question how God could let something like this happen to someone they love. If survivors believe that good things are a reward for a good life and their loved one was a good person, then the question of how this could happen can be very difficult for survivors; and
• Loss of community or physical environment. After the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City left 168 men, women and children dead, the surviving residents had to adapt, not only to the physical alteration of their city by the blast, but also the loss of relatives and friends.

California Families held the first Statewide Network Gathering Conference in Oxnard Ca on April 27 2013. Love Not Blood Campaign,   the family of Oscar Grant, held the First National Network Gathering Conference Retreat in Oakland, Ca on October 21 2014.  Families United 4 Justice held the second National Network Gathering Conference Retreat.The next step in the Healing process will be the development of a Toolkit.

The foundation for development of  Family CIT toolkit

Black Health Matters

A tribute to Families who have loss loved ones to police and community violence

Families United Justice Or Else – “Riseup, Which Side Are You On” from cephus on Vimeo.

 

What for?
Our victim support groups have trained advocates who can accompany families to hearings, trial proceedings, meetings with the coroner, etc., providing emotional support and information about the process. The criminal justice system of motions and appeals can be quite confusing when you have little or no information about what is happening and why. The need to learn as much as possible about the criminal system presents itself just when family members’ nerves are already stretched close to the breaking point.
Through participation in support groups, many homicide survivors have found that others who have been through the same experience have also had similar reactions. They find that they have permission to openly express the pain of their loss, speak the unspeakable and finally reveal “revenge fantasies” — which are a normal reaction to violent victimizations. For these reasons, our support groups can be very “normalizing” for families and friends of victims, allowing them to feel that they are not going crazy and that others are experiencing and surviving the same depth, complexity and confusion of emotions.
The support group setting also permits survivors who are further along in their healing to give hope to those who are newly bereaved or who are having an especially difficult time. Through providing and receiving support, survivors are able to help each other and to see that some good is able to come out of the pain that they have experienced.
Although some people may find that they still prefer one-to-one counseling or support services, it might be useful to try several group support meetings. This is because people are often surprised at how helpful they are over time. However, a word of caution is in order here — sometimes people report feeling worse for a while after attending a support group meeting. This is because many of the painful feelings have been brought to the surface. As difficult as this may be at the time, many survivors state that this process ultimately helps them to progress through the grieving process. What they have found is that there is no way to get through the grief except to just go through it, however difficult it may be. People who have lost family and friends through murder have stated that they often experience an immediate and close bond with other homicide survivors, even if they had never met them before and even if they do not have the opportunity to meet them face-to-face. Your donation is extremely important and will greatly be of a benefit to the grieving families.

 

From Hurt to Healing an interview with Uncle Bobby

An Intimate Look at Oscar Grant Family 

 




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