brother: activists, some wearing Black Lives Matter T-shirts, gather for march to protest alleged police brutality

My Brother’s Killing Messed Me Up

March 7, 2012 my oldest brother was killed. He was killed by the NOPD (New Orleans Police Department). Coming home from school March 7, 2012, my oldest brother and his friend was sitting outside. They were just chilling and talking. Once he saw my siblings and I get off the school bus, he told us not to come outside until we finished our homework.

Review: ‘The Central Park Five’


 An imperfect film reminds Americans of chilling crime and those wrongfully convicted

It’s often said that the more you know about something, the less you are apt to like a film about it. So let me state up front that I was living in New York City (in a single room occupancy hotel not far from Central Park, in fact — I went running in the park almost every day), in 1989, so I remember the Central Park jogger case quite well. In fact, if you lived in the city at the time, it was almost impossible not to hear about the case, including the controversy over the treatment of the young men arrested and later convicted of this crime. The case also received nationwide coverage, as did the fact that someone else later confessed to the crime, and that the Five’s convictions were overturned in 2002. Apparently most Americans don’t know much about this case, however, and they may be better served than I was by The Central Park Five, a new documentary by Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, and David McMahon.

Prisoners Are Human Beings Too

Sometimes I forget I was in prison, even though I spent nearly a quarter century there. Maybe, I just get caught up in the day-to-day concerns of my life out here in the “free world.”

I am a student in a fast-paced master’s program, so I am studying, reading, writing and attending 13 hours of class every other weekend. I write for two websites. I have an internship. When I can fit it in, I have the rest of my life to focus on, with a girlfriend, a house, pets, cooking and the other details of living an ordinary life. Maybe it’s not these things that cause me to forget my past though.

Bryan Stevenson at TED 2012: Full Spectrum

TED2012 Helps Equal Justice Initiative Founder Raise $1 Million

“All of our survival is tied to the survival of everyone,” said Bryan Stevenson Thursday at the 2012 TED Conference in Long Beach California. Stevenson is an attorney and the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit organization that litigates on behalf of condemned prisoners, juvenile offenders and others whose trials are marked by racism and misconduct. Stevenson spoke passionately about how the American justice system is distorted around race and poverty. Our prisons are overflowing and the U.S. is still the only industrialized nation in the world that will sentence juveniles to life in prison. Following his talk, $1 million was raised for a campaign run by Stevenson that ends excessive sentencing of children and stops the practice of putting kids in adult jails and prisons.

Leonard Witt

Truth Telling: Civil Rights Era to

Our Juvenile Justice Information Exchange,, has its roots in part in The Race Beat, the Pulitzer Prize-winning book co-written by Hank Klibanoff, former managing editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. I was taken by how important it was for the press to shine a spotlight on the injustices taking place in the South before and during the Civil Rights era. Today that same kind of spotlight must be shone on the juvenile justice system, which, with its share of injustices, remains in the shadows of the collective American consciousness. When John Fleming came our way as the prospective editor of the, I knew he was a kindred spirit who cares deeply about high quality, ethically sound journalism and equal justice for all. That dual commitment is illustrated in his just published essay in the Nieman Reports entitled: Compelled to Remember What Others Want to Forget.

Traumatic Stress Grant

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services announces a one-year grant to continue and expand grant activities funded under the National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative, Treatment and Service Adaption Centers, Category II and Community Treatment and Services Centers – Category III. This grant is to increase activity and services of the nation’s child welfare system, juvenile justice/dependency court systems as well as to fund child mental health systems. The goal is to create a national network of grantees known as the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) that works to develop and promote effective trauma treatment, services and other resources, such as child-serving community service systems, for kids exposed to trauma. The deadline for this is June 3, 2011.  

Grant To Support Kids Wanting to go to College

The Lumina Foundation supports programs that benefit access to and help prepare kids for college. The goal is to focus on underserved populations, such as low-income students.  Lumina’s goal is to increase the rate of those in higher education rate in the United States to 60 percent. While the mission of the Lumina foundation is for access and success, the emphasis is on attainment of a degree.  

Grant Aims to Keep Kids Out of Trouble Through the Arts

Target is offering a grant to bring the arts into the schools.  Music, art, dance, drama and visual arts are all part of the well-rounded education for kids.  This helps expand creativity and horizons and could even help keep kids out of trouble. The grants are worth $2,000 and are accepted between March 1 and April 30, 2011.