diversion: Boy with backpack facing empty road.

Youth in Foster Care Deserve Greater Chance to Enter Diversion Programs

Over the past two decades, I have had the extraordinary experience of working with youth involved in the juvenile justice system and the child welfare system. I am thrilled to bear witness as Los Angeles County finally moves toward using diversion programs to keep kids out of juvenile justice and in school and at home where they belong.

feelings: Young man of color with sad expression

A Deadly Lesson in How Not to Feel

He broke my heart. After that night I’d see him act the same bewildering way many more times. It was, I eventually learned, what too many beers did to him. But the first time my uncle hit me (I was 4 or 5 years old), all I knew was that something had changed. Not in him. No. Something had changed in me. 

gun violence: Young woman looking at phone with concern, worry.

We Can Change Our Culture of Gun Violence: Here’s How

Gun violence occurs in the U.S. more often than in any other nation not at war. It is clear that this is a crisis we own. The propensity to shoot one another in our homes, schools, workplaces or on the streets is not part of our DNA and not biologically inevitable. 

tips: Man with dark beard, mustache, holding certificate and wearing glasses, hat and dark blue Georgetown University sweatshirt is hugged by elderly couple on either side of him.

10 Tips for Youth Defendants Awaiting Trial

Make a release plan now: A mentor of mine once told me he’d started preparing for the day he was released the same day he came to prison. Start to plan for your release now. Whether you get an acquittal or conviction, use every opportunity available while awaiting trial to improve yourself.

foster home: Black friend holding hands of another black person.

I Got Lucky And Found Family

Foster home to foster home to foster home, etc. Twenty-six homes in total. One “family” to the next, passed on like the bubble in my mother’s tweaker circle.