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News & Updates
                              
Harvard Ash Center Bright IdeasJI recognized as 2017 Harvard Ash Center Bright Ideas in Government.
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Save the Date 4/27/17
at 6p.m. for the 11th Annual Evening at the Courthouse.
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March 22, 2017
JI Awarded $10,000 from Unite Charlotte Grant to Aid in Rebuilding Community Trust.
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March 17, 2017
JI partners with Belk for the Spring Charity Sale on April 29, 2017.
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March 17, 2017
Applications for Court Camp are now being accepted.
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February 28, 2017
JI FY 2015-2016 Annual Report is now published.
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February 26, 2017
JI welcomes newest Board of Directors members Brian Church and Alyssa Levine.
           
February 14, 2017
Nominations for the tenth annual Raising the Bar Award are now open.
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News & Updates Archive

       
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Continuing Education
   
2013, March – Strengthening Community Relations: Haiti
Justice Initiatives provided funding to the Mecklenburg County Trial Court Administrator's Office to conduct Continuing Education: Lunch and Learn sessions. These sessions build informal social capital within our community by fostering bridge-building communications between individuals, communities, neighbors and organizations.
 
This fiscal year, judges and court personnel participated in an exciting presentation by the Haitian Heritage & Friends of Haiti. Board members of the HHFoH presented practical cultural information about the local Haitian population so that court officials may better understand cultural nuances in the event Haitians encounter the court system.
 
This session was catered by DADA’s Catering and featured traditional Haitian dishes which added to the cultural learning experience.

 

 
    
   
2013, June 28 – Strengthening Community Relations: Refugee Training
In an op-ed published in the June 28, 2013 edition of the New York Times, Vidhyapati Mishra wrote about his expulsion from his native country of Bhutan in 1991 as part of the monarchy’s strict citizenship laws. Because he was of Nepalese decent, Mishra and his family were considered “illegal immigrants” and forced to sign “voluntary migration forms” before being cast out of the country along with 90,000 others. Forced to live in refugee camps in surrounding countries, many never return to their home country. Many settle in other countries and some find their way to the United States. A few find their way to Charlotte.
  
The Trial Court Administrator’s Office recently conducted another session of its Strengthening Community Relationship series in an effort to better understand the refugee population in Charlotte in the event they come in contact with the court system. The session was lead by Perry Griffin with the Mental Health Association of Central Carolinas as they are a resource for refugees in the area. The training focused on teaching judges and court personnel how services or systems like our judicial system might unintentionally cause members of these populations to relive their trauma through a lack of understanding the language and cultural barriers. In addition, participants learned about the various countries refugees come from and some nuances associated with their cultures. One participant remarked that this was “good information that should continue to be shared to help increase awareness for this community.
 
This program is part of a continuing series of programs designed to educate the legal community about various cultures in the area so they can be better served by the courts. The series is funded by a grant from Justice Initiatives, Inc.
 

  
2012, June 22 – Strengthening Community Relationships: Moorish Nation
Justice Initiatives recently hosted a training to educate court personnel on members of the "Moorish Nation" and/or "Sovereign Citizens," a group of citizens who operate as a community of separatists who claim U.S. and state governments have no jurisdiction over them. As a result of their beliefs, they frequently break laws that result in interactions with the law enforcement and the judicial system.
  
Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Deputy James Grant who has conducted trainings for various law enforcement agencies on a local and national level was the presenter. The two training sessions consisted of an in-depth review of the culture, history, behavior, language and philosophy of these groups and included video footage of them in various court-related situations. Twenty-plus attendees comprised of staff from the Trial Court Administrator's Office, District Attorney's Office, Clerk's Office, Sheriff's Office and personnel from various community based organizations participated in each of the 6-hour long workshops. Each attendee left the training with a folder containing a copy of the PowerPoint, presenter's contact information, reference materials and samples of various documents created by these "sovereign citizens."
 
"The presentation was really informative to me as it has given me a clue as to what to look for in documentation and how to better respond to the Sovereign Citizen's attitude," a participant noted on the exit survey.
             

      
2012, June 6 – Strengthening Community Relationships: Islam
In keeping with its mission to work collaboratively with the community to prevent and solve problems to enhance the quality of life for all, Justice Initiatives, sponsored and the Trial Court Administrator’s Office (TCA) hosted a session in the Strengthening Community Relations series on Islam entitled "Understanding Islam and Muslims." The purpose of this series of educational seminars is to better educate judges and court personnel on the various diverse populations, cultures, and/or religions in the Charlotte area to better serve the public when they have business with the court.
 
The presenters gave an overview of Islam and addressed common myths about the Islamic faith and Muslims. For example, one common myth that is often sensationalized by the media is that all terrorists are Muslim and all Muslims are violent. Of course, this is not the case. The word "Islam" is derived from the Arabic root "Salema," which means peace, purity, submission and obedience. In the religious sense, Islam means submission to the will of God and obedience to His law. The word "Muslim" in Arabic means "one who surrenders to the faith."
 
The presenters also talked about the various religious practices associated with Islam. For many people shaking hands when meeting someone is as routine as taking a breath. But for some Muslims shaking hands is not that easy. Many conservative Muslims believe unrelated men and women should never touch one another. But that is not to say every Muslim will refuse to shake the hand of someone of the opposite sex – scholars from different schools of Islamic law all say different things and some even say no such prohibition exists.
 
This seminar was well attended and well received. "This was an excellent presentation. It was very insightful and well done!" someone commented on the exit survey. Another person wrote, "I had incorrect beliefs about the female status. I now know Muslim women are treated as importantly as men."
           

       
2012, March 28 – Strengthening Community Relationships: Montagnard
In continuing its series of presentations on improving communications and interactions with different cultures in our community, the Trial Court Administrator's Office hosted a lunch and learn at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse on the Montagnard community. Forty-five court staff and judges attended the event. The attendees sampled a variety of Vietnamese food and learned about the Montagnard culture. Rachelle Vo, a Prevention Specialist with Anuvia Prevention and Recovery Center, gave a presentation on an assessment she performed of the Montagnard community in Mecklenburg County.
Event Flyer
Rachelle Vo Biography
         

     
2011, August 2 - Strengthening Community Relationships
Mr. Carlos Flores Vizcarra, the Consul General of Mexico in the Carolinas, provided information to court officials and personnel regarding ongoing issues and dilemmas that affect the local Mexican-American community during a lunch and learn that took place Tuesday, August 2nd. Mr. Vizcarra also highlighted cultural nuances officials may encounter when serving this population. To enhance the cultural experience, participants were treated to a sampling of authentic traditional foods catered by Fonda Las Cazuelas, a local restaurant noted for its authentic Mexican cooking. This lunch and learn was created by the Trial Court Administrator's (TCA) Office through a partnership with Justice Initiatives, Inc, who has provided the TCA's Office with a generous grant to host a series of lunch and learn sessions titled "Strengthening Community Relationships." The mission of the series is to build informal social capital within our community by developing programs and projects that foster bridge-building between the court system and diverse individuals, communities, neighborhoods and organizations.
Event Flyer
Mr. Vizcarra's Bio
         

     
2011 - Race Matters for Juvenile Justice Symposium
Justice Initiatives sponsored a Race Matters for Juvenile Justice Symposium on Friday, January 28, 2011 at 8:30am-1:00pm at The Charlotte Westin. The symposium provided an opportunity for judicial officers, systems' experts, and community partners to come together and discuss the disproportionate representation of families and children of color in our juvenile justice court system. Attendants were allowed to ask questions as everyone tried to put forth an effort to reduce such racial disproportionality and disparities, while ultimately moving toward a goal of improving outcomes for ALL children and families.
2011 Race Matters for Juvenile Justice - Press Release
2011 Race Matters for Juvenile Justice - Save the Date
2011 Race Matters for Juvenile Justice - Agenda
2011 Race Matters for Juvenile Justice - Speaker Biographies
Photo Album
         

     
2010, October - Strengthening Community Relationships
On Tuesday, October 12, twenty-six court officials, employees, and service providers of the 26the Judicial District of NC attended the 8th in a series of sessions entitled Strengthening Community Relationships. The Trial Court Administrator's Office received funding from the Charlotte Mecklenburg Community Foundation through its Front Porch Grants program, which is managed by Community Building Initiative. A matching grant was also awarded by Justice Initiatives, Inc. The program is an effort to build informal social capital within our community. Front Porch Grants are awarded to organizations and partnerships for specific programs and projects that foster bridge-building between individuals, communities, neighborhoods and organizations. The goal is to increase trust and expand social connections and informal networks in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. This particular session was designed to educate court officials and employees about the deaf and hard of hearing community. The North Carolina Division of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services and Fluent, Inc. provided an overview of this population and gave attendees valuable tips on how to better serve those who are deaf or hard of hearing.
         

     
2010, March - Strengthening Community Relationships
Diversity Training was presented by African Congolese community service providers from the local Congolese community. The presentation included basic and good-to-know cultural information and differences regarding the local African and Congolese population that help in daily interactions with this community. Attendees were presented with information on how this population views government and law enforcement agencies, family structure, and societal customs. As part of learning about this culture, attendees enjoyed a variety of traditional African cuisine.
       
Justice Initiatives matched funds received by the Trial Court Administrator's Office from the Charlotte Mecklenburg Community Foundation through its Front Porch Grants program, which is managed by Community Building Initiative. The program is an effort to build informal social capital within our community. Front Porch Grants are awarded to organizations and partnerships for specific programs and projects that foster bridge-building between individuals, communities, neighborhoods and organizations. The goal is to increase trust and expand social connections and informal networks in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.
Strengthening Community Relationships Flyer  (190k)
         

     
2009, October - Strengthening Community Relationships
Diversity Training was presented by Middle-Eastern community service providers from the Middle East Council of the Carolinas. The presentation included basic and good-to-know cultural information and differences regarding the local Middle-Eastern population that help in daily interactions with this community. Attendees enjoyed an array of Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean food provided by Leah's Cuisine.

Justice Initiatives matched funds received by the Trial Court Administrator's Office from the Charlotte Mecklenburg Community Foundation through its Front Porch Grants program, which is managed by Community Building Initiative. The program is an effort to build informal social capital within our community. Front Porch Grants are awarded to organizations and partnerships for specific programs and projects that foster bridge-building between individuals, communities, neighborhoods and organizations. The goal is to increase trust and expand social connections and informal networks in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.
Strengthening Community Relationships Flyer  (323k)
      

     
2009, March - Strengthening Community Relationships
Diversity Training was presented by Eastern European service providers from Mecklenburg County. The presentation included basic and good-to-know cultural information and differences regarding the local Eastern-European population that help in daily interactions with this community. Attendees enjoyed a traditional array of Eastern European food provided by Bludov Catering.
 
Justice Initiatives matched funds received by the Trial Court Administrator's Office from the Charlotte Mecklenburg Community Foundation through its Front Porch Grants program, which is managed by Community Building Initiative. The program is an effort to build informal social capital within our community. Front Porch Grants are awarded to organizations and partnerships for specific programs and projects that foster bridge-building between individuals, communities, neighborhoods and organizations. The goal is to increase trust and expand social connections and informal networks in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.
Strengthening Community Relationships Flyer  (480k)
      

     
2008, November - Strengthening Community Relationships
Diversity Training for court staff, court officials and judges was presented by members of the local Asian community service providers from the Girl Scouts' Hornet's Nest Council, Davidson College, The Boat People SOS, Inc., and The Asian Herald. The presentation included basic and good-to-know cultural information and differences regarding the local Asian population that help members of the court provide better service in their daily interactions with this community. Attendees enjoyed an array of Asian foods catered by Chen's Bistro.
 
Justice Initiatives, Inc. matched funds received by the Trial Court Administrator's Office from the Charlotte Mecklenburg Community Foundation through its Front Porch Grants program, which is managed by Community Building Initiative. The program is an effort to build informal social capital within our community. Front Porch Grants are awarded to organizations and partnerships for specific programs and projects that foster bridge-building between individuals, communities, neighborhoods and organizations. The goal is to increase trust in the local judicial system and expand social connections and informal networks in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.
Strengthening Community Relationships (297k)
      

     
2008, September - Parenting Coordination Training
Parenting Coordination Training was presented by the North Carolina Psychological Association, the Center for Cooperative Parenting, Inc., the Family Court Administrator's Office of the 26th Judicial District and Justice Initiatives. The three-day training fulfilled the 24-hours training requirement under N.C.G.S. § 50-93(a) to serve as a Parenting Coordinator.
  
Parenting Coordination is a child focused alternative dispute resolution process in which a mental health or legal professional with mediation training and experience assists high conflict parents to implement their parenting plan by facilitating the resolution of their disputes in a timely manner, educating parents about children's needs, and with prior approval of the parties and/or the court, making decisions within the scope of the court order or appointment contract.
Parenting Coordination Training Flyer (561kb)
      

   
2008, June - Strengthening Community Relationships
Diversity Training was presented by Hispanic community service providers from CPCC and Women's Commission. The presentation included basic and good-to-know cultural information and differences regarding the local Latin population that help in daily interactions with this community. Attendees enjoyed an array of Latin American foods catered by one of Charlotte's finest Hispanic-owned restaurants.
  
Justice Initiatives, Inc. matched funds received by the Trial Court Administrator's Office from the Charlotte Mecklenburg Community Foundation through its Front Porch Grants program, which is managed by Community Building Initiative. The program is an effort to build informal social capital within our community. Front Porch Grants are awarded to organizations and partnerships for specific programs and projects that foster bridge-building between individuals, communities, neighborhoods and organizations. The goal is to increase trust and expand social connections and informal networks in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.
Strengthening Community Relationships Flyer  (182k)
      

    
2008, March - Family Court Simplifying Equitable Distributions CLE
The CLE Introducing the New Excel Equitable Distribution Final Pretrial Order: CCF-38A was held at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse on March 14, March 28 and April 4, 2008. This training event was sponsored by Justice Initiatives, Inc., the Family Court Administrator's Office and the Domestic Court Committee of the 26th Judicial District. Attendees received hands on instruction from the designer of the Excel tool and learned how to enter and calculate data using a single schedule of property interests that is completed by the parties and the presiding judge.

Speakers:
-Alan Kaplan, Attorney and Designer of Excel Tool
-The Honorable Rebecca T. Tin, Lead Domestic District Court Judge
-The Honorable Christy T. Mann, Family Court Domestic Judge
-Attorney Robert P. Hanner II and Paralegal Le Moore, Casstevens, Hanner, -Gunter, Riopel,& Wofford, P.A.
-Attorney Tate K. Sterrett and Paralegal Cathy Lamarca, Horack, Talley, Pharr & Lowndes, P.A.

Continuing Legal Education Credit: 2.0 general hours
Simplifying Equitable Distribution Flyer  (111kb)
      

    
Family Law Paralegal Conference
Annually, with the support of Justice Initiatives, the Family Court hosts the Family Law Paralegal Conference which gives paralegals an opportunity to put faces with the names of Family Court staff members. The goal of this conference is to educate paralegals and provide them with the resources that they need to better assist the attorneys for whom they work with in processing cases through Family Court.
   
 
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...to educate the community about the court system and advocate, support and advance its needs and interests.