Youth Justice Action Month Blog

Chainbreaker

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Chainbreaker

Let’s break the chains of the black youth’s mind

So that they will remain devine

We were never monkeys swinging from vines

So never look down on own kind

National Coming Out Day for LGBTQ Youth In Detention?

Thursday, 12 October 2017

By Pepis Rodriguez

This week we recognized National Coming Out Day (NCOD), a celebration of living your truth about who you are, and whom you love.

But as “bathroom bills”, military transgender bans, and elimination of protections for LGBTQ federal employees demonstrate, we are still a long way from a society in which coming out is a realistic option for all. The truth of this likely hits youth the hardest, who still risk family rejection, bullying, even homelessness for coming out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer.

“Open Your Eyes!”

Thursday, 12 October 2017

“Open Your Eyes!”

About twenty of us laid in the grass in front of guard tower 13. Some were cuffed others had their arms thrown out above their heads. It was difficult to say who was maced or bruised as we were forced to lay on our stomachs & plant our faces in the earth. Some of the guards coughed from the mace that lingered & yelled at us to “stay the fuck down.” The struggle to maintain obedience was a challenge for some as they couldn’t stop themselves from grasping for air & trying to relieve their burning skin.

Coming Out for LGBTQ Youth in the Justice System

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Coming Out for LGBTQ Youth in the Justice System

By Molly Tafoya

Tomorrow, October 11th, is National Coming Out Day —a day to celebrate and support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) people—and young people in particular. And so today, as part of Youth Justice Action Month (YJAM), the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) and several other groups are highlighting the experiences of LGBTQ youth in the juvenile and criminal justice system.

Letter to my Mom

Thursday, 05 October 2017

Letter to my Mom

Mom;

Hello! How are you? I know it’s been a while, But I do think about you all the time. Thanks for the card and money order back in may. I would have writ back then, however, I’ve been dealing with some things. 

Create Justice

Thursday, 05 October 2017

By Kaile Shilling

What do you get when you bring together over one hundred juvenile justice activists, youth leaders, artists, and representatives from major foundations?  You get a powerful couple of days of dialogue and action around the intersection of arts and youth justice reform. 

An Adult Burden For My 13 Year-Old Son

Tuesday, 03 October 2017

By Heidi Nuttall

Since he was 13 we’ve fought a never ending battle. How do you protect a young boy from the justice system – a system that, now, we as a family feel we must fight?

Why must we? Our understanding had always been so different.

Youth Justice Action Month (YJAM) is here!

Monday, 02 October 2017

Youth Justice Action Month (YJAM) is here!

By Brian Evans, State Campaign Director

Youth Justice Action Month (YJAM) is here!

Last year, Youth Justice Awareness Month turned into Youth Justice Action Month in recognition of the remarkable growth in action oriented activism and advocacy that has emerged in recent years. For the past nine years, YJAM has encouraged people to organize events that raise awareness, strengthen coalitions, build campaigns, and encourage advocacy on behalf of young people in contact with the justice system.

Fight with Evil

Monday, 25 September 2017

Fight with Evil

By Joshua Aston

His name was Evil. He was the fourth cellie in my first month of being locked up. It was the first time I’d been locked up & was definitely going to be the last, and the process of meeting new people in this stressful environment was exhaustive. The first cellie of mine lasted a day while I went through orientation. Neither of us really slept; I suspect we didn’t know or trust eachother well enough. I got moved to another pod full of new & wild kids the next afternoon. The next cellie was a white boy that was full of excitement & drama. That only lasted a month before I got sent to the hole, a punishment for handling a situation wrongly. The concept of the “hole” was terrifying & I was obviously scared shitless; especially when I walked into a cell with my new cellie. He was a big white boy they all called ‘Big Country.’ I met him as he crawled out of the mattress. We wore only our boxers & were given no bedding when placed on the bread loaf program, but we got along well together & enjoyed each others company for the next week. After that I met Evil. 

Guest Column: Redeemed Juveniles Like Me Are Not the Exceptions

Sunday, 23 October 2016

By Xavier McElrath Bay, Youth Justice Advocate, The Campaign for Fair Sentencing of Youth

Today is special for me for several reasons.

For starters, I will have the honor of spending much of the day in a symposium at San Quentin State Prison in California. I especially look forward to sharing time with the members of KID C.A.T. (Creating Awareness Together), a group of individuals who were sentenced to life without parole when they were children. After years of incarceration, they created their own support group with a mission to organize acts of community service and goodwill.

Guest Column: Youth Justice Awareness Month: Transforming Awareness into Action

Sunday, 23 October 2016

By Jody Kent Lavy, Executive Director of the Campaign for Fair Sentencing of Youth

October is Youth Justice Awareness Month — as proclaimed by President Obama — and we are celebrating and honoring all of the hard work of community leaders, advocates, coalition builders, legislative champions, judicial officials, defenders, and directly impacted individuals who seek to ensure that our country holds children accountable in age-appropriate ways that account for their experiences with trauma and their capacity to grow and change.

 

Guest Column: Words that Hide the Reality of the Juvenile Justice System

Sunday, 23 October 2016

By Laurie Spivey, MST Expert, Multisystemic Therapy Services

A look behind the euphemisms that proliferate the system

Imagine that you are sitting in court with your teenage son or daughter. The judge orders your child to six months living in a “training school” to address the concerns of the court. What would you imagine that to be? Something like a military school or a boot camp? A cluster of cabins in the woods where kids do ropes courses and practice trust falls?

Chalking for Justice During Youth Justice ACTION Month

Monday, 17 October 2016

Chalking for Justice During Youth Justice ACTION Month

#YJAM has started off with a bang! Voices across the nation are raising awareness about youth justice. But there is another more artistic form of activism: Chalking! Chalk is a fun, harmless way of creating art while also sending a message. It's a perfect way to engage all ages into #YJAM festivities! So help us hit it the pavement and chalk up phrases and images to spread the #YJAM message. Then take a picture of your creation, share it on social media, and use the hashtag #YJAM.  No action is too small to bring awareness! Its as simple as chalking!

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Campaign for Youth Justice
1220 L Street, NW, Suite 605, Washington, DC, 20005.
www.campaignforyouthjustice.org