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Advocacy Groups Make Statement on Ferguson Grand Jury Decision

Photo credit: David Boyle via Flickr

Editor’s Note: Nine national juvenile justice advocacy organizations collaborated on the statement below in response to the Ferguson, Mo., grand jury decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for fatally shooting Michael Brown. We stand in solidarity with Michael Brown and his family and their supporters in Ferguson, Mo., and across the nation.  Michael Brown’s fate — killed by a police officer and denied justice — is yet another example that black and brown children are not always protected by our nation’s laws and that the justice system works differently for different people. We fully understand how some communities have lost faith in the system. In both Ferguson and other communities, we have failed our youth of color in profound ways. Continue Reading →

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Food Truck Steering Juvenile Offenders Back on Track

Drive Change

NEW YORK — Jordyn Lexton used to teach high school English to minors at Riker’s Island.

Until the day one student said, “No disrespect, I really appreciate what you’re trying to do here, but you are selling dreams.”

At this moment, she realized she wasn’t doing enough “to lower barriers for my students. If young people can’t access opportunities then they’re going to revert back to tactics that got them arrested in the first place. That was the moment for me where I recognized that I wanted to do something very direct when it came to re-entry,” Lexton said. Continue Reading →

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Op-ed: Ferguson Latest Example That Courts Don’t Bring Justice

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In this moment of high drama when the nation’s attention is focused on Ferguson, it is important to remember something:

The entire saga of Michael Brown’s killing is simultaneously an individual tragedy and a window into the much larger injustice of ongoing white oppression. For the latter concern the particular outcome of the jury’s deliberations are less relevant, though of course the failure of the grand jury to indict Darren Wilson brings tremendous pain to those who have fought to see a trial happen. Do any of us imagine that convicting Darren Wilson of murder would begin to address the larger injustice? The very system that we have been asking to create justice in this instance is the agent of injustice across the nation, as schools, police, courts and prisons carry out the implementation of what writer Michelle Alexander so aptly calls The New Jim Crow. Real justice on a societal level doesn’t come from courts, it comes from struggle against the system of injustice. Continue Reading →

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Reporter’s Notebook: Teenage Idiocy a Huge Gamble in Many States

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I was 13, and my girlfriends and I had just begun to hang out with some older boys. It was the summer before the eighth grade, and they were 16, going to be juniors, and they had a car. We’d hang out late at night, each telling our mothers that we were at the other friend’s house, and we’d mostly hang out on the jungle gyms at the park or drive out to the Las Vegas desert and drink wine coolers. Continue Reading →

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Reporter’s Notebook: Life on the Island

Rikers Island

When you step off the Q100 bus on Rikers Island, the scent of saltwater hangs in the air, at least in warm-weather months. Within a few feet, however, you’re staring at cement on cement and inhaling some combination of cigarettes, steaming blacktop and too many people. Continue Reading →

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When Kids Are Killed by Police

Sedonte Ward Scholarship

On a Sunday afternoon this past summer, a little boy who recently lost a baby tooth stood amid a throng of angry protesters marching their way from a house on East 229th Street through quiet residential streets in the Bronx to the 47th Precinct, where police brass waited behind a metal enclosure. The little boy held a bright red sign, difficult to make out since he was so small. Continue Reading →

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Parents Turn Pain into Policy

Sedonte Ward Scholarship

Arlene Ward knew the choice she made that night would change the lives of the young people from the housing projects that define Manhattan’s Lower East Side skyline. She sat in the hospital room where her son’s dead body lay, still warm, a tube jammed down his throat after a gunshot to the chest. it.” Continue Reading →

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