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Crime Victim Funds Leave Black Men Behind

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Oftentimes, criminals and lawbreakers flood our news streams as the victims who experience the trauma are left in the shadows.

A few activists are reversing that trend and turning their attention to those who’ve survived violence with a three-part investigative series by Colorlines, Life Cycles of Inequality.

Authored by Carla Murphy and reported by the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute, the third installment of the documentary, titled Criminals, Victims and the Black Men Left Behind, takes an in-depth look at the Victims of Crime Act of 1984, a program that provides services and compensation to crime victims.

Researchers uncovered that although the $11 billion fund aims to help, many victims do not benefit, because they are not deemed “innocent.”

“The biases that exist around black men lead people to think of them first and foremost as perpetrators,” said Kai Wright, Colorlines Editor-at-Large. “Law enforcement
should not be the arbiter of who’s a victim.”

Additionally, analysts discovered that local community groups often don’t know the money exists, and victims, their families and communities are left burdened with the financial and psychological costs in the aftermath of a crime.

The year-long investigation includes data on the collection and distribution of the crime victim funds and interviews with community groups youth, clergy, doctors, social workers, Department of Justice and many others.

An online Twitter discussion led by Colorlines will be held on Tuesday, August 5th at 1:00 p.m. ET, where community members will share their personal stories and solutions with audiences using hashtag #livesofblackmen.