Along with cuts to Title X Family Planning programs, on February 19 the U.S. House of Representatives voted to eliminate funding for the Corporation for National and Community Service, which in effect means doing away with the AmeriCorps and RSVP National Service programs. If passed by the Senate, these cuts will impact King County by devastating programs and services that work to prevent violence, increase literacy, build community and reduce generational poverty in our community, including programs at the Seattle Police Department and more than a dozen other local criminal justice system agencies, schools and social justice organizations.
For example, JustServe AmeriCorps Member Antoinette Spillers, placed at the Seattle Police Department, increased dialogue between community and police at a time when several high-profile incidents created significant concern about police brutality and community-police relations in Seattle. Antoinette carried out the canvassing and networking efforts to engage more community members in the Seattle Police Department’s Native American and East African, Muslim, Sikh and Arab Community Advisory Councils. And JustServe AmeriCorps Member Monique Franklin has played a major role at Open Arms in supporting mothers with young children to lead community-driven violence prevention, infant mortality prevention and early childhood education projects.
JustServe AmeriCorps Members like Antoinette and Monique positively impact our community in countless ways as they work to reduce violence and poverty in King County. Working closely with our partner sites, JustServe AmeriCorps Members have made a difference in the lives of more than 2,000 people in the last few months alone.
Just a few highlights include:
- Youth Violence Prevention & Intervention: 519 youth at risk of violence or incarceration gained leadership and conflict resolution skills, participated in service learning activities, and connected with positive skill building programs that have shown to reduce the risk of violence.
- Victim Advocacy: 427 domestic violence survivors received crisis intervention services and advocacy through JustServe AmeriCorps Members based at the Seattle Police Department Victim Support Team and the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
- Alternatives to Incarceration: 523 adult defendants with low-level misdemeanors participated in JustServe service activities as an alternative to incarceration – led by AmeriCorps Members based at the Seattle Municipal Community Court Program.
While eliminating funding for National Service programs would be a short-sighted move with dire consequences, this outcome is not set in stone. Please contact your senators to let them know that you care about the health and safety of our community.
In Washington State, contact:
Patty Murray: toll free 1 .866.481.9186 or via murray.senate.gov.
Maria Cantwell: toll free 1 .888.648.7328 via cantwell.senate.gov.