National crime survivors network opens Detroit chapter

Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice, CSSJ, works to fight for survivors of crime. Now CSSJ is opening its Detroit chapter to help victims in the Motor City.

CSSJ launched the Detroit chapter Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, to help victims in Detroit.

Shari Ware is the co-coordinator and is providing help she never had. 

"I was victimized at the hands of my now ex-husband. With two small children (I) had to escape that marriage and go into hiding for two years," Ware said Monday.

Ware was one of many deeply impacted by violence who attended the victim resource fair at University Yes Academy on Detroit's west side.

"Back when it happened to me, there was no one else out there, and if there was I didn't know about it," Ware said.

CSSJ, a national organization that brings survivors of crime together, is starting its chapter on Monday to provide those resources to other people.

"Our goal is to create a safe space for survivors to share their stories and heal," Detroit Chapter Coordinator Qiana Wimbley said.

There are about 30,000 members across the country and CSSJ is hoping to help those affected by crime. They also want to promote policies to help crime-ridden communities, like Detroit.

"We work to create safer communities through advocating for rehabilitation versus mass incarceration. Because as we know, if individuals have the resources they need they're less likely to commit crimes," Wimbley said.

She's a survivor herself. She was visiting in Detroit on Christmas in 1998 when she was shot in the right eye and right arm.

"It was simply a domestic incident that occurred and I got caught in the crossfire. It wasn't intended for me," she said.

Wimbley didn't know where to turn and struggled with the aftermath. Now she, Ware, and others are ready to offer other victims - hope. 

"There is an opportunity to heal but what I know to be true is we can't heal from the things we don't acknowledge, so CSSJ creates a space for that," Wimbley said.

For more information about CSSJ and how to get involved or get resources, check out