Washington D.C. Congressional Briefing on Gun Violence and Trauma

Image of Camiella Williams at Congressional Briefing
Photos of Videos Shot Courtesy of C-SPAN

November 1, 2016
U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, Room HVC-201 A & B
East Capitol St. and 1st St. NE, Washington, D.C. 20515 (map)
12 Noon ET (9:00 a.m. PT, 11:00 a.m. CT)

The Initiative for Studying Gun Violence and Trauma is a national task force focused on expanding awareness, discourse, and public policy on gun violence trauma. Assembled under the aegis of the University of California, Irvine School of Law’s Center for Biotechnology and Global Health Policy, the task force features a diverse collaboration of lawyers, scholars, physicians, psychologists, and advocates committed to initiating, sustaining, and acting upon this critical discourse.

In the wake of tragic encounters with law enforcement, communities across the nation are demanding answers and articulating frustration and mistrust in the institutions designed to serve and protect them.  Is reform possible given the fiscal structures that underlie high risk policing, including mass incarceration, privatized prisons, targeting of the poor for low-level ticketing and traffic violations?  If reform is possible, what are the barriers and how to move forward?

The Congressional Briefing underscores the importance of educating lawmakers and expanding awareness, discourse, and public policy on gun violence, policing, and trauma, particularly as it relates to how gun violence impacts low-income communities throughout the U.S. In just the past 14 years, firearm deaths accounted for over 470,000 fatalities, making death by firearm the second-leading cause of all violence-related deaths in our nation.

Are lawmakers paying sufficient attention to these issues? Participants will offer recommendations for pathways forward.


Confirmed Participants

  • Michele Goodwin

    Michele Goodwin

    UC Irvine School of Law
    Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Director, Center for Biotechnology and Global Health Policy
    Professor Goodwin holds faculty appointments in Public Health; Criminology, Law and Society; and Gender & Sexuality Studies. She is a leading voice on the incarceration of women and girls and the trauma that results from policing and mass incarceration. Her research on these issues have resulted in meetings at the White House, a summit on women and mass incarceration, a congressional briefing, and work with women and girls most impacted by policing and violence. Her publications on these issues can be read in the Huffington Post, Texas Law Review, and California Law Review among others.  She is the co-chair of the taskforce investigating gun violence and trauma.

  • Dr. George W. Woods, Jr.

    Dr. George W. Woods, Jr.

    George Woods, MD, F.A.P.A. is a practicing neuropsychiatrist and internationally known mental health expert. Over the past several decades, Dr. Woods has consulted on and testified in numerous high profile civil and criminal cases. He is currently President of the International Academy of Law and Mental Health. Since 2002, he has taught a course in forensic psychiatry at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia and he is a Lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. He has published extensively on topics including neurobehavioral assessment, cultural factors in assessing the mentally disordered, trauma, financial fraud, and intellectual disability. Dr. Woods has also consulted with forensic systems internationally, including Malawi, The Hague, Uganda, Kenya, Zanzibar, Senegal, Tanzania, Italy, and Japan.
  • Judge Hatchett

    Judge Glenda Hatchett (ret.)

    Judge Glenda A. Hatchett has dedicated over 30 years to serving the needs of people and the community, as a corporate lawyer, judge, author, and advocate. She is currently representing Philando Castille’s family. Judge Hatchett served eight years as judge of Fulton County Georgia Juvenile Court. She is Georgia’s first African American chief presiding judge of a state court and was the department head of one of the largest juvenile court systems in the country. She developed partnerships with community organizations and businesses, including the Boys and Girls Clubs, The Urban League, and others, and helped found the Truancy Intervention Project. Her many awards include the Roscoe Pound Award, the highest award for “Outstanding Work in Criminal Justice” from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, and the NAACP Thurgood Marshall Award.

  • Robert Bennett

    Robert Bennett, Esq.

    Robert Bennett is a trial lawyer and has been one for more than 30 years. He has successfully tried to verdict scores of matters, including cases involving civil rights law and police misconduct, auto and truck accident cases, product liability cases, and commercial disputes of all types, more often on behalf of the plaintiff or claimant. He has been the lead trial lawyer in a number of high profile cases in the last 20 years, including the Abbey Taylor kiddie pool, wrongful death case, the police shooting case involving Duy Ngo, the mechanical asphyxiation of David Cornelius Smith, the Rickia Russell “flash-bang” grenade case, and the recent Koochiching County jail suicide action. He is a perennial “Super Lawyer” and was selected by Minnesota Lawyer as one of their “Attorneys of the Year” for 2007, 2008, 2013, 2014.

  • Camiella Williams

    Camiella Williams

    Camiella Williams has lost 23 loved ones to gun violence. She is now a Regional Organizing Fellow at Generation Progress and an advocate for gun violence prevention in Chicago. She is a member of Congresswoman Robin Kelly’s Violence Prevention Task Force, the Executive Director for Drew Sidora's Dreamakers Charity and Youth Director of the Blair Holt Memorial Foundation. She also has her own radio show on rejoice 102.3 FM, “Talk with Camiella Williams and Martinez Sutton.” 

  • Nardyne Jefferies

    Nardyne Jefferies

    Nardyne Jefferies is the Founder of Stop Killing Innocent People (S.K.I.P.) and mother of Brishell Jones, who was murdered in the Nation’s Capital by a group of young males with 3 different caliber weapons, one an AK-47, on March 30, 2010 on South Capitol Street, SE, along with 4 other youth, and where 6 others were injured, including her best friend. Nardyne later worked along with The Honorable David Catania, Council Member-At-Large,  and the Council of the District of Columbia, to create “SOUTH CAPITOL STREET MEMORIAL AMENDMENT ACT OF 2012,” which was passed unanimously by the City Council on March 20, 2012.  The act creates a comprehensive youth behavioral health infrastructure in the District of Columbia.

  • Dr. Blessman

    Dr. Patricia Jones Blessman Ph.D.

    Psychologist, expert on child trauma
    The Family Defense Center, Chicago

    Dr. Patricia Jones Blessman is a licensed clinical psychologist with over 25 years of experience as a clinician and administrator of mental health programs. The integrating theme throughout her varied work experience has been the consistent focus on access to and development of appropriate mental health care for children and their families.