Hi, my name is Sara Jessimy Kruzan. Current Stoneleigh Fellow with Human Rights for Kids. I’m happy to have a chance to introduce myself to you and share about how I came to do advocacy and activism. Having an opportunity to contribute to identifying and uplifting the voices of our incarcerated youth is ever so rewarding. Connecting with fellow community members in a meaningful way produces meaningful outcomes for the greater good of us all. I not only effectively listen to the needs of our children, leaders, and institutional heads; I’m committed to respond in ways that offer compassion, deep resonance, and creative healing change.
I have more than twenty years of experience doing work to improve systems’ responses to survivors of trauma, particularly child sexual abuse, child sex trafficking and child incarceration.
Having seen this work at the federal level, in states, and inside local systems, one thing is clear: we have a lot of laws on the books to protect and support children who have been abused or victimized, but as soon as that child commits an act of trauma violence and or crime, all those protections disappear.
I am our American systemically abused child. When I was released from prison after 19 years, I realized that while there is amazing work being done to reduce the number of kids who touch the systems and to address racial disparities, we are missing two things:
1) a deliberate conversation that are solution focused about impacts of complex and compounded trauma and how our laws and policies can further guard and protect our children, even and exclusively when they commit crimes, especially if they can be directly linked to their victimization.
2) all the beautiful work amongst young people inside American facilities and creating inclusive opportunities to share their experiences while offering tailored supports meeting not only their specified needs to heal in a safe manner but as a community aiding to heal with and for one another.
It’s with gratitude to share space with you all