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Cameo House Program Secures Funding Going Forward

SF Board of Supervisors meeting confirms secured funding going forward to support inter-generational safety and healing through CJCJ’s Cameo House program.

CJCJ’s Cameo House, along with our colleagues at the Norma Hotel, were recently asked to speak at a Board of Supervisors’ (BOS) hearing in San Francisco this past May. The subject for discussion was the Status of Programming and Funding for Transitional Housing Services and the importance of longstanding, successful programs serving some of our city’s most in need populations.

Cameo House is currently home to 11 women with a total of 22 children, 13 of which reside with us full-time. Over half our mothers are currently on parole or probation, and/​or came to stay with us in lieu of long incarceration sentences. Five of our mothers have infants who live with them, four are currently employed, while three are ready to graduate. We also have mothers in different stages of active reunification with their children through CPS involvement. CJCJ is proud to be San Francisco’s leading long-term transitional housing and alternative sentencing program for justice-involved women and their children currently experiencing houselessness. 

We are ecstatic to report both programs have secured funding by the SF Board of Supervisors! This is an important investment in the work we do to break the intergenerational trauma of incarceration while keeping families together. Cameo House would like to thank the BoS and our partners at the sheriff’s office for prioritizing this investment in our collective future. We appreciate the ongoing support as we work to provide a safe and stable home for our mothers and their children. Secured funding will allow our life-changing work to continue to support the next generation of San Francisco.

Click here to learn more about our incredible Cameo House program

All Youth Are Sacred: Youth Narrative Crime Trends Convening

Statewide agencies and community members gather to challenge headlines and strategize on getting the truth out about youth crime trends.

Did you know youth crime trends are at historic lows, and have been on the decline for decades? This is occurring while probation budgets increase with less youth referred to their supervision. The numbers are a direct challenge to the narrative we see across the state. While we clearly have data and numbers on our side, popular media seems to focus on misleading headlines and cherry picked stories surrounding the current state of youth crime trends.

At the end of April, agencies from throughout California came together to build community and create strategies to combat dangerous and false narratives about crime rates and young people. This event was put on as a collaboration between the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice (CJCJ), Urban Peace Movement, Change Consulting, Sister Warriors Freedom Coalition, and California Alliance for Youth & Community Justice (CAYCJ).

CJCJ Senior researcher Mike Males, PhD presenting his work on youth crime trends.

Youth were in attendance, along with members of CJCJ’s policy team. Senior researcher, Mike Males, PhD presented on statewide youth crime trends, followed by collective strategizing on solutions for changing the narrative while empowering young people with the truth. Their voices are critical to these conversations. They are who will ultimately pay the price of these false narratives and are our best chance for the future. 

Our collective theme for the day became All Kids Are Sacred”. We ended with a visioning session on how we can pivot from stories of criminalization to stories of truth, joy, and possibilities for our futures. Poetry was also shared by one of our youth leaders Bria on what our youth want and their plan to get it. This powerful convening was one of several planned to build collective knowledge, strategy, intentions, and power. We are currently in the planning stages for our next event in July where we hope to have youth co-facilitate these conversations. Thank you to the organizers and planners, CJCJ was honored to be a part of, we look forward to the next one!

Want to see more photos and videos from this powerful event? Click here to see our Instagram post from that day!

NGF Virtual Second Session: Shared Knowledge, Shared Experiences, Elders & Policy panels

Our NGF 2023 cohort is off and running! In April, we held our second two-day session virtually, while in May we faciliated an in-between session teaching fellows to become more effective change makers in their community and statewide. Both online events were powerful opportunities for skills sharing and knowledge building.

For our first day of session two, we held an elders panel. For many of our fellows, the elders they meet through this fellowship represent intergenerational healing, knowledge, and activism missing in their lives. They are also often mirrors of their own loved ones and themselves. We are grateful to Gilbert Bearheart, Watani Stiner (a former NGF fellow!), and Tracy Wells-Huggins for their time and wisdom shared. We are proud to offer this space where we can all benefit from collective knowledge and experiences.

NGF 2023 Cohort in-person meeting in March

For our second day of our virtual session, we held a panel discussion focusing on two powerful women activists from different regions of California. The name of our panel was From the Streets to the Capitol: Policy Work from the Inside Out. Our panelists shared their journey to policy work and the unexpected challenges and celebrations along the way. We also heard how they incorporate changing narrative norms in their own respective areas, and what self-care means to them as activists living on several intersections. Our discussion focused on how geography via place informs one’s approach to their work, as well as the value of lived experience. Fellows came away better informed on what policy work looks like on the daily, and were inspired by the power of representation of formerly incarcerated and system-impacted folks throughout the state.

Thank you to Nicole Lee from Urban Peace Movement and Claudia Gonzalez from Root & Rebound for your work and your voices. We see you and we appreciate you, keep making space for yourselves and others!

Stay tuned for our next newsletter with info on our final NGF session! It will be an in person, team building event that we can’t wait to share with you. For now, click here to meet our speakers for session two!

For more info on NGF, and to find out how to apply, click here.

CJCJ Employee Highlight: Aurora Garza Jimenez

CJCJ is excited to share our employee of the month section of our newsletter. This as a space to meet the amazing individuals working at CJCJ in their own words. Enjoy!

We are exceedingly proud of our Cameo House program, which offers direct services to support inter-generational safety and healing for justice-involved mothers and their children in San Francisco. With that in mind, we started this section by introducing one of our bilingual case managers at Cameo House. We are pleased to introduce Aurora Garza Jimenez below.

Aurora Garza Jimenez, bi-lingual case manager, Cameo House program

Name & PGP: Aurora Garza Jimenez, (gotta always include my momma). Ella, She, Her

Job Title & Department:
I am one of the bi-lingual case managers for CJCJ Cameo House program

Behind the scenes fun fact about you:
LOVE walking barefoot whenever I’m outside. My carnalito, (little bro) is always telling me to wear shoes. I also LOVE hot weather.

How would you describe your job to a friend?:
A jack of all trades, in this place we all end up doing a little of everything, cook, babysitter, mediator, the iron fist. Whatever is needed! lol

Why is this work important to you?:
It’s a personal mission for me. I’ve been in a lot of the situations that some of our clients have been in. I was actually blessed/​lucky that I didn’t fall into the justice system. There were some extremely close calls but never behind the walls. Gracias a Ometeotl/​Dios! I want them to know that even when taking wrong turns on our paths we can always redirect ourselves on our correct path, wherever and whatever that may be. We all learn and grow differently. Don’t smash a sister down, the world already suppresses us enough. Help and uplift each other is what I’m always telling our clients.

Dreaming out loud: If you were given unlimited funds to build out part of your program, what would you create and why?:
I would want to buy the building next door and any abandoned buildings/​houses all throughout the state and open multiple houses like ours, with classes to teach them how and what to do to be able to become self-sufficient such as basic life skills to re-enter into society. We all deserve another chance and proper housing.

Learn more about all of our amazing CJCJ employees here.