Since joining The WAVE Foundation board in 2019, I have been continually inspired and impressed by the partnerships forged between public, private and community-based organizations to quickly respond to emergent needs. Throughout my career, I have been drawn to interdisciplinary approaches to problem-solving. It’s why I’ve focused my legal career on rethinking how the criminal legal system operates, and it’s why I support The WAVE Foundation.
 
I see the magic of interdisciplinary approaches every day in my work at the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. In my current role as a prosecutorial liaison to the LEAD program (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion/Let Everyone Advance with Dignity), I sit at (virtual) tables with case managers, law enforcement, mental health professionals and other community partners to support people engaged in criminal activity due to behavioral health, substance use, and/or extreme poverty in reducing the harm they cause to themselves and to the community.
 
Through this work, I have learned so much about why many people with histories of trauma, often starting in childhood and exacerbated by many systemic failures, end up cycling through the criminal legal system (labeled as both victims and defendants) without ever having the root causes acknowledged or addressed. Incorporating this understanding into the criminal legal system is a paradigm shift.
 
The WAVE Foundation’s Legal Hope program helps rectify the harm done by criminal convictions stemming from a person’s victimization. While the criminal legal system has come a long way in understanding the impacts of trauma, there is still a long way to go, which is why I’m so excited about The WAVE Foundation partnering with Davis Wright Tremaine on a national bench book to help judges understand why survivors may end up in the criminal legal system as defendants and the impact of criminal convictions on survivors. 
   
By supporting The WAVE Foundation, you will help expand The WAVE Foundation’s reach even further. Your support truly makes a huge difference in supporting survivors and creating a future of nonviolent, healthy relationships and communities.
 
-         Maria Manza, Board Member, The WAVE Foundation
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office