Burns Institute 2018 Annual Report: The Urgency of Change

A political climate in which racism is espoused from the nation’s highest office did not temper the W. Haywood Burns Institute’s (BI) work in 2018. With a galvanized internal structure, strengthened and growing partnerships and projects, and a new vision of structural well-being, BI continues to work to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities by growing a community-centered, equitable, and restorative justice model. Now more than ever, our work is necessary, impactful, and urgent.

Redefining Our Safety

As we approach almost 20 years of advocacy for a fair and equitable administration of justice, we have many challenges and opportunities before us. We live in a period of mass incarceration fueled by factors which – at first blush – seem too powerful to overcome. Using incarceration as a primary instrument of social control is backward- looking and fails to meet societal demands in a more connected, competitive and greener world. Crime and punishment in our country has resisted modern notions of dignity and humanity in the treatment of law violators. But change is coming from historically-silenced voices that are growing in number and strength. Communities of color, formerly incarcerated folks, LGTBQ communities, researchers, and policy advocates are challenging the status quo and looking to new approaches to achieve community safety. The Burns Institute has been a part of this movement since its inception. We have extended our work beyond reducing the harms of justice system involvement. We are now setting a vision for transformation. We are moving toward a new north star of accountability steeped in restoration, healing, interventions and well-being for people of color. We are deconstructing structural racism and redefining safety beyond the outdated ideas of custody, control and suppression. This task is not for the faint of heart, but we will continue to move forward fiercely in our efforts to have communities thrive and prosper.

Continue reading the full 2018 Annual Report here.