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Outreach Blog

November 8, 2013

Approximately 100 young women and girls from cities across Connecticut attended an anti-violence presentation at the Kenney Center at the Yale Bowl, and then the Yale vs. Brown women’s soccer game.  Prior to the game, attendees watched The 5K Motion, a film about a young woman who was sentenced to a long prison term after protecting a boyfriend who was involved in criminal activity.  After the film, they heard from a panel that included Yale women’s soccer coach Rudy Meredith, members of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and other law enforcement agencies, service providers, and ex-offenders, and engaged in a question and answer session with the panelists.  Twenty of the young women sang the National Anthem before the start of the game.  Special thanks to the Yale Women’s Soccer Program, Yale Bands, the Reach Foundation and U.S. Attorney’s Office outreach interns for organizing the event.

September 19, 2013

Yale Law School and the U.S. Attorney’s Office convened a panel of experts to discuss marriage equality.  When Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996, the national debate over same-sex marriage intensified.   More recently,  Supreme Court rulings have been lauded as victories for those seeking marriage equality in the United States. The panel, moderated by Janis Astor del Valle, brought together a group of leading experts who have played key roles in the evolution toward marriage equality—including a married lesbian couple who successfully sued the federal government for benefits denied them under DOMA, a civil rights activist who helped lay the foundation for the legalization of gay marriage in Connecticut, an Assistant U.S. Attorney from the District of Connecticut’s Civil Division and a political journalist with insight into the recent dramatic shift in public opinion relating to LGBT rights nationwide

August 21, 2013

The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Justice Department’s Community Relations Service (“CRS”) held an Arab Muslim Sikh (“AMS”) diversity training program in Hartford for 30 Hartford-area police officers. The AMS program utilizes certified trainers from the “Train the Trainers Program,” which was created by AUSA Krishna Patel, and is designed to provide interactive cultural competency training to first responders and address cultural stereotypes and misconceptions of Arab, Muslim, and Sikh Americans that often prevent victims from reporting hate crimes and other crimes of violence. As a result of this program, the Manchester Police Department contacted the Justice Department and requested that a similar program be presented in Manchester. In September, CRS will begin conducting the program to members of the Manchester Police Department.

June 21, 2013

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Carolyn Ikari and David Nelson spoke to the Connecticut chapter of the American Planners Association at its annual “Hot Topics in the Law” meeting.  The APA is composed of professionals working in the fields of zoning and land use.  Carolyn’s and Dave’s presentation focused how towns can avoid violating federal statutes – particularly the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) – when making land use decisions.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office has handled several of these matters recently and this outreach is part of an ongoing effort to educate municipal officials, attorneys and members of relevant professional organizations in order to prevent discrimination before it occurs.  APA members are often in the best position to prevent discrimination at the local level.

June 20, 2013

Several members of the U.S. Attorney’s Office attended the Bridgeport premiere of The 5K Motion at the historic Klein Theater in Bridgeport.  The fictional short film, produced in Connecticut by STOP Handgun Violence with the support and participation of the U.S. Attorney’s office, focuses on a severe federal sentence imposed on a young woman who assisted her boyfriend in hiding a machine gun used in a homicide, as well as crack cocaine, and subsequently refused to cooperate with law enforcement authorities.  Acting U.S. Attorney Daly welcomed attendees, and Investigator Charlie Grady introduced several of the young actors who were present, including the film’s star, a Bridgeport resident.  Attendees also heard compelling stories from members of You Are Not Alone (YANA), an organization of women who have lost their sons to gun violence, and also from the Danbury Federal Correctional Institute’s CHOICES program, made up of 12 female inmates, including many who are serving mandatory minimum sentences for distributing narcotics.  The inspiring night offered a powerful message:  Life is about choices and one bad choice can change your life.  For more information on The 5K Motion, please contact Assistant U.S. Attorney Felice Duffy at 203-821-3700.

June 5, 2013

Assistant U.S. Attorney Alina Reynolds conducted training for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Police on the Violence Against Women’s Act (VAWA) and the Gun Control Act.  This outreach initiative is part of Department of Justice effort to enhance domestic violence prosecutions and protect victims of domestic violence in Indian Country where there is an alarmingly high rate of domestic violence.  VAWA provides the U.S. Attorney’s Office with many tools to assist in these prosecutions, particularly under the newly reauthorized VAWA statute that, among other things, closed a loophole that previously prevented prosecution of offenders who crossed into Indian Country to commit domestic violence crimes.

AUSA Reynolds covered these statutes in a power point presentation and discussed the various laws and tools available to assist the Tribe.  The training also included part of powerful film produced by the Office of Victims of Crime about domestic violence in Indian Country.

AUSA Reynolds, who serves as the District’s VAWA coordinator, regularly conducts VAWA-related training sessions with law enforcement agencies, service providers and victim advocates.

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