7 June 2013
An open letter from Greg Johnson
Shortly after the May 7 election outcome, I asked those among the leadership who had been working to promote the Justice Center proposal if it would be okay for me to continue maintaining the website and Facebook page with a new focus.
We have some wonderful organizations in Johnson County that are having demonstrated success with preventing crime, reducing recidivism, and addressing many other concerns raised by voters. I wanted the new focus of the website to be on these organizations and programs that unite us – with an emphasis on the up-stream initiatives, like mentoring, that can eliminate the precursors of crime. The group agreed to let me pursue this goal.
After the election, with over 1,000 ‘Likes’ on our Facebook page, it was clear among supporters and opponents that there were many county residents with an ongoing interest in improving our justice system and related crime prevention services. The conversation and efforts needed to continue. If you’ve not done so already, please visit and “Like” our new Facebook page at Facebook.com/JCJusticeCenter.
What’s Been Accomplished in 30 Days…
- New Facebook Page. On May 15, I launched a new Facebook discussion page to address a diverse and comprehensive array of justice system issues. [View Page]
- Community Engagement. On May 20, I wrote an open letter requesting community engagement, and described this new purpose for the Justice Center website and Facebook page. [Read]
- Steps Toward Cooperation and Trust. Just as I had been doing over the past eight months, in these past few weeks I have continued to reach out to those who had been opposed to the previous Justice Center proposal. With the election behind us, I’ve had many positive responses, and this week even had some of their members defending me on their Facebook page. A vote was being taken by their group, and a majority voted to allow me as a ‘member’ on their Facebook page which gives me a chance to have a voice among their group (something I’d not had for eight months). I’d asked to join their page after seeing the new name for the group: “Reform the Johnson County Criminal Justice System.” As an activist, I look for ways to invest my energy in solutions I can support rather than problems I can protest, so I was very encouraged by the new vision for the group. [Visit RJCCJS on Facebook]
- Unexpected Collaboration. I very much wanted to attend the Johnson County Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee (CJCC) meeting on June 5, but on short notice found out that I would be unable to attend. The only people I knew that would be going who might be able to record the event were those who’d been in the opposition. I put out a call to supporters on the Justice Center Facebook page, hoping someone might record the event. Wouldn’t it be ironic if I had to rely on someone from the opposition to help me out and video record the event so I could watch it? Well, that’s exactly what happened. Aleksey Gurtovoy recorded the event and posted it online. He even permitted me to embed the video on an event page I’d created. With limited time and resources, we’ll all achieve more by working together rather than competing against each other.
- Community Interest Continues. In the three short weeks since its launch, our new Facebook page has grown from only one Like to 200 Likes. It’s nice to reach that landmark today, exactly a month after the election. I think much of the success for the new page is due to the new mission and broad inclusive community engagement that have been shaping the evolving website.
I want to thank everyone who has been supporting this initiative in its new form. I’m particularly appreciative and grateful for those who had voted no, yet are supporting the idea that we should all look for inclusive ways to collaboratively work together in finding solutions to the challenges facing our community.
Volunteer and Facilitator