Initiative will engage 100 faith-based institutions from across Southeast Michigan to raise $50,000
On Thursday, Feb. 18, Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans in partnership with the First Ladies of Wayne County and Prosecutor Kym Worthy launched the Bringing Justice Initiative. The initiative, which was created by Executive Evans and the First Ladies of Wayne County, has a mission to engage faith-based institutions in supporting the testing, investigation and prosecution of backlogged rape kits found more than 5 years ago in a Detroit warehouse.
Approximately 75 leaders of churches and mosques from across Southeast Michigan were encouraged to join the initiative to help bring justice to women affected by sexual assaults at a kickoff brunch hosted at the Greater Grace Temple Banquet Hall & Conference Center. Attendees were asked to make a pledge to raise at least $500 from their institutions to help meet the $50,000 goal. Today an initial pledge of $10,000 was made by members of the First Ladies of Wayne County as a show of commitment to the purpose of the initiative.
Last year, Executive Evans identified $1 million in additional funds for Prosecutor Worthy’s budget to help investigate the backlogged rape kits. Additionally, he accommodated the need for office space to house task force members in the Guardian Building.
“This initiative is about bringing people together to help others and in this case, we are helping those who have been affected by terrible assaults,” said Executive Evans. “Today we took a step closer to closing the gap of bringing justice to victims who have waited too long for answers from these kits.”
Of the more than 11,000 backlogged rap kits, approximately 10,000 of them have been tested. As of February 1, 2016, 729 offenders have been identified as suspected serial sexual offenders. Currently, there are 1,369 cases awaiting investigation. Thirty-six offenders have been convicted.
The Bringing Justice Initiative runs through March 18, 2016 after which all monies donated will be managed by The African American 490 Challenge. The group, which raises funds and awareness to support those silenced by sexual assault, also joined the initiative by providing a web-based option for donations and educational materials.
About the First Ladies of Wayne County
The First Ladies of Wayne County was assembled by Executive Evans to bring attention to and put action behind addressing critical issues that impact women in Wayne County. The First Ladies that comprise this group represent an interdenominational team who represent various faith-organizational bodies and major ministerial alliances and councils in the County.