May 9, 2022
Hey Change Maker! My guests this week are Jennifer Long and Keisha Head of AEquitas. AEquitas is a nonprofit organization focused on developing, evaluating, and refining prosecution practices related to gender-based violence and human trafficking. They are a team of former prosecutors working globally to hold offenders accountable and promote victim safety.
Jennifer began her career as an Assistant District Attorney in Philadelphia, where she prosecuted cases involving adult and child physical and sexual abuse as a member of her office's Family Violence and Sexual Assault Unit.
Through this work, she sought justice on behalf of victims of sexual violence, intimate partner violence and stalking. Many of those victimns were sexually exploited women. This fueled her early commitment to improve a system that seemed to work against, and often failed to protect, countless victims of sexual violence and exploitation.
Intent on improving the systemic response, she joined the National Center on the Prosecution of Violence Against Women as a Senior Attorney in 2004, working for Teresa Scalzo, recognized as one of the foremost leaders on issues related to sexual violence. Later, she served as Director. In 2009, she co-founded AEquitas to improve the quality of justice in sexual violence, intimate partner violence, stalking and human trafficking cases by developing, evaluating, and refining prosecution practices.
Mrs. Keisha Head is more than just a survivor of child sex trafficking. For the past 10 years, she has served as a nationally recognized speaker and advocate aiming to end all forms of human trafficking. She has been called upon by the US Department of Justice and advocates for legislation that protects victims of human trafficking. She has also worked closely with the Children’s Advocacy Center and she uses her personal story of being a victim, turned survivor, emerged leader, to serve as an inspiration for others.
In 2011, Head was awarded the Paul Howard’s Fulton County District Attorney “Voices for Victims” Award. Head has been featured in numerous local and national news articles and appeared on various televised broadcasts, including Fox News and CNN, to spread awareness nationally. In 2012, her first televised interview “How To Stop the Candy Shop” conducted by PBA’s Ross Scott received the Southeastern Emmy. In 2013, Head was awarded the “Voice of Courage” Award from Darkness to Light, an organization that advocates and provides services for sexual abuse victims. Head was also featured in the November 2014 Special Men’s Edition of Ebony Magazine.
Head currently serves as Secretary of the Board for the Sun Gate Foundation, an organization that provides educational assistance to survivors of human trafficking. In 2018, Teresa Pike Tomlinson, Mayor of Columbus, Georgia, declared April 12th “Keisha Head Day” and awarded Head with the key to the city.
In 2020, Keisha started CEO Bizness and CEO Biz Kids, a company that serves as an incubator for entrepreneurs to become successful business owners while breaking the cycles of generational poverty. She is also the lead case manager for the Salvation Army Haven ATL Program.
Apart from Advocating, Head is a wife and mother of four beautiful children. She is also a passionate writer and plans to publish her first novel titled “Survival Mode” in the near future.
AEquitas is a nonprofit based in Washington DC and is the go-to resource for assistance related to the prosecution of human trafficking, sexual violence, intimate partner violence, stalking, and exploitation. They leverage our unparalleled staff expertise and broad network of professionals to empower prosecutors to more effectively respond to these crimes. In doing so, they are fighting to end impunity for offenders while centering and enhancing support for the victims and survivors who are so often left behind in the fight for criminal justice reform.
Their Just Exits Initiative is a partnership between AEquitas and the Just Exits’ Advisory Committee comprised of 8 highly-qualified experts who ensure the practices are survivor-informed and survivor-centered. They support prosecutor leaders in closing onramps to and creating offramps from the Life (sexual exploitation) for survivors. We do this by: (1) Educating criminal justice professionals on the dynamics of sexual exploitation and human trafficking; (2) Collaborating with Communities to Ensure Survivor Access to Services; (3) Implementing Best Practices in Pilot Jurisdictions; (4) Developing a process for measuring data to make meaningful, continuous improvements.
CONNECT WITH JENNIFER & KEISHA:
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
Just Exits: https://aequitasresource.org/singleinitiative/?initiativeId=%2018
Salvation Army: https://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/
Black Girl Alchemy: https://blackgirlalchemy.com/
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