Ten Years of #IMPACT
By Jill Ward
Ten years of impact. It certainly is something to celebrate and I am proud to have been working with the Campaign for Youth Justice in some capacity for each one of those 10 years.
Over the next weeks and months the Campaign will look back on the last decade and lift up all those moments that define a successful organization and movement. And rightly so. They are significant achievements and deserve to be celebrated. But what makes the Campaign the success that is has been and will continue to be are the little victories. The largely unheralded and unseen ways that the Campaign sees the need or the opportunity and acts.
Whether it is taking one mother’s vision of a more just system and society and helping to elevate that into national month of awareness or making the case about the importance of federal investment both in real dollars for the states and in making sure our national leaders are working for all our kids, the campaign is always looking for ways to advance the conversation, elevate the issue, and make an impact on the policies that touch our kids.
In his book, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, Bryan Stevenson recounts a church meeting where he spoke about a death row client he was representing and encouraged the gathering to recall the Bible story about the accusers who sought to stone an adulterous woman and Jesus’ admonition to them, ‘Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.’
Stevenson goes on to say, “But today, our self-righteousness, our fear, and our anger have caused even the Christians to hurl stones at the people who fall down, even when we know we should forgive or show compassion. I told the congregation that we can't simply watch that happen. I told them we have to be stonecatchers.”
The Campaign is a stonecatcher. In the halls of Congress, in state capitals, in meeting rooms and in newsrooms, the Campaign has been there armed with research, advocacy, strategic know-how and support to empower, educate, and advance policies that treat children as children.
Catalyst for change. Decade of impact. Catching stones. By any name or measure, in ways both visible and invisible, and in partnership with constituencies across the country, the Campaign has helped to create a better world for all our children. Can’t wait for what the next 10 years will bring.
Jill Ward is a juvenile justice advocate and public policy consultant. She served as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Campaign for Youth Justice from 2006-2009 and is currently working with CFYJ as a federal policy advisor.
This post is part of the CFYJ #IMPACT Blog Series, a project celebrating CFYJ's 10 years of commitment to juvenile justice reform.