Want to know more about what we're doing at TAVP? Watch this short video to learn!
Texas After Violence is a dynamic non-profit organization working to cultivate narratives for justice. We work with all types of people whose lives have been affected by a violent act, whether it's family members of victims, family members of offenders, law enforcement, prison personnel, attorneys, judges or community activists.
Our process is two-fold: through oral history and in-depth workshops, we use storytelling to help the process of individual healing. And through community conversations, we hope that listening will cultivate empathy and break down stereotypes.
Through our Storytelling Project, we interview people who have been affected by violence in Texas, with a special emphasis on those who have been affected by capital punishment or murder. We publish full-length videos online through a partnership with the University of Texas Libraries’ Human Rights Documentation Initiative, where they will be preserved for history.
Through our Conversations Project, we use these stories as educational tools to inspire community conversations. So often, discussions about violence and the criminal justice system leave out the experiences of real people. We strive to bring human elements back to this discussion so that we can all understand the causes and effects of violence and the context in which violence occurs. We prefer participatory methods and our hope is that we will inspire communities to create their own solutions for diminishing violence.
And in our Culture Project, we use the stories we have gathered to create virtual galleries and public presentations that explore the cultural lives of violence, the criminal justice system and the law. Using a variety of artistic media we create pieces that challenge the viewers’ assumptions about who is affected by violence, invite viewers to think more broadly about how violence and the law enters our lives and the lives of neighbors, and urge viewers to think both critically and creatively about the culture of violence in Texas.
Texas After Violence is a 501(c)3 organization and does not lobby or advocate political candidates or issues. We are committed to helping people understand the context in which violence occurs, and the ramifications violent acts have on so many people. We believe a widespread understand of the causes and effects of violence will help people find ways to achieve a more just and less violent Texas.
We oppose violence, whether it is perpetrated by a private individual or by the state. But we don't actively lobby or advocate on any policy issues, including the death penalty. We believe our role is deeper than that. We’re not going to stand up and tell people what we think is right and wrong about our criminal justice system. Instead we capture the voices of people who have a stake in the issue, and work to assure that these diverse voices and experiences are heard throughout our community by policy makers, students, communities, and advocates. Our goal isn't to lobby the legislature, it's to enable communities to discover ways to heal from the violence they have experienced in their own lives, ways to prevent future violence in their neighborhoods, and ways to learn from one another’s experiences.
Texas After Violence Project Staff
Rebecca Lorins has been TAVP’s Acting Director since November 2013. She served as the Program Director from January 2012 to November 2013, and prior to that was on the Board of Directors. Her background is as a scholar and educator. She has worked in documentary film, and has contributed to numerous community-based participatory theatre and video initiatives, including with a youth cultural troupe in Sudan and at The Door, a multi-service youth center in New York.
Rebecca has lived in Texas for over 15 years, having moved here to earn a PhD in literature from the University of Texas at Austin with an interdisciplinary dissertation on a Sudanese cultural center who used theatre as a vehicle for peacebuilding, cultural revival and social change.
She earned a BA from Oberlin College. In 2011, Rebecca was a fellow at Columbia University's Center for Oral History's 2011 Summer Institute and in 2013 she studied Narrative for Healing, Conflict Transformation and Community Organizing as a fellow at Eastern Mennonite University's Summer Peacebuilding Institute. She has taught courses in literature, religion, and cultural studies at the college level and is committed to bridging community initiatives and higher education.
Texas After Violence Project Board of Directors
Jane Peddicord, President
Louis Akin, Vice President
And a special thank you to all of our current volunteers and interns: Simi Aliu, Edgar Arrellano, Bridget Carter, Shane Cruz, Taylor Johnson, Shannon Kintner, Alina Odom, Joanna Vaughn, and Jason Wolcott. And from Spring 2013: Katelyn Allen, Edgar Arellano, Louis Keller, Shannon Kintner, Anne Kuhnen, Lysette Martinez, Erika Mittag, Courtney Payne, Greg Thomas and Joanna Vaughn. And from Fall 2012: Anat Benzvi, Maurice Chammah, Shannon Kintner, Sara Malowanczyk, Lysette Martinez, Lizz Melville, Courtney Payne, Adrienne Tramel, and Jason Wolcott.