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Somali Women”'s Proposal Approved by Commission on Health

Somali Women”'s Proposal Approved by Commission on Health

  By Janice Barbee, Cultural Wellness Center The Backyard Initiative”'s Community Commission on Health approved a proposal of the Somali Women”'s Health Support CHAT (Citizen Health Action Team) on June 2, 2011 to promote communication, understanding, and support among women of the Somali community who have children in the justice system. Their project will educate Somali families about how the justice system works, help to connect women together who have children in the system in order to reduce isolation and social stigma, and help to prevent other children in the community from entering the justice system. The Somali women who presented at the Commission meeting spoke of the difficulty of supporting their children throughout the trial process and incarceration. They also spoke of how their cultural systems of authority, personal accountability, and discipline have been undermined and displaced in the move to the U.S. Understanding the justice system is a crucial first step to rebuilding those systems of authority and supporting their youth. The women plan to create a buddy system where each woman will be linked with another woman when they visit their children in prison and will help each other with transportation. This will create a support system for the women who are now feeling isolated and feel that the legal system is inaccessible and foreign. (more…)

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