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Tomorrow Talks | Community Safety that Heals: Moving Beyond Punishment

Tue. Dec 12 | 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Tom Tom Foundation, 100 W. South St. #1D, Charlottesville VA 22902

What would it look like to practice community safety that does not solely rely on punishment and prison? And what role can people of faith play in that reality?

Sam Heath and Eddie Howard, two local nonprofit leaders and also active members of faith traditions, will convene a conversation that explores how our notions of “justice” can be expanded to include safety, healing, and accountability that repairs. Many groups in Charlottesville are already practicing community safety and can use the support of people of faith, particularly as these traditions have in them tenets of caring for our neighbors.

Join this discussion that gathers many faith groups to consider how Charlottesville can prevent harm, heal trauma, and respond to violence with tools of reconciliation.


Sam Heath leads Equal Justice USA's engagement with evangelical people and spaces. His faith background in Southern Baptist, Presbyterian, and now Anglican denominations enables him to tell stories about the realities of justice and injustice in America and hold together a view of the world as a place both exceptional and exploitative. He was a church elder in Charlottesville, VA for 6 years, where he still lives with his wife and three kids. He has a master’s in theology from the University of Virginia.

Eddie Howard joined as Abundant Life's Executive Director in the fall of 2021, after serving on staff for eight years in the early 2000s. He grew up in Charlottesville’s Prospect neighborhood, Abundant Life’s focus for ministry. After his initial time with Abundant Life, Eddie moved to VA Beach where he continued mentoring and pastoring through his local church and organizations. Eddie brings experience along with his broad local network to the areas of development, partner building, vision casting, and strategic planning at Abundant Life.

Paul Beyer is the founder of the Tom Tom Foundation and Tom Tom Festival, and in his role as executive director, is responsible for its strategic vision and community partnerships. Beyond Tom Tom, Paul works on a variety of gatherings and events ranging from festivals, dance parties, dinner series, meditations, men's groups, conferences, seminars, and concerts.


Abundant Life demonstrates God’s love through holistic community development in the Prospect neighborhood. The Prospect neighborhood, one of five federally defined low-income neighborhoods in the city of Charlottesville, is home to a vibrant and diverse community of nearly 400 families. Since their founding in 1996, juvenile delinquency in the neighborhood has dropped, high school graduation and college attendance rates have increased, residents have bought homes for the first time, and they have brought new resources to the area.

Equal Justice USA is a national nonprofit organization committed to ending the death penalty, advancing restorative justice, and empowering community safety. They operate at the intersection of the criminal legal system, public health, and trauma-informed work. They are dedicated to pursuing a form of justice that prioritizes safety, healing, and accountability through repair, rather than punitive measures. The EJUSA Evangelical Network collaborates with faith groups across the country to establish community-centered public safety ecosystems.


This year-long series picks up critical themes from our April Festival and continues the conversations to create an impact in Charlottesville. Each Tomorrow Talk session is facilitated with an emphasis on participation, connection, and new collaborations.

Tomorrow Talks begin with a connection exercise or meditation and proceed into a presentation and breakout activities. They aim to impart knowledge that is practical and relevant to people's lived experience; combining academic or theoretical insights, alongside pragmatic tools, and experiential and somatic learnings.


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