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Voices

MLK’s Dream – Half a Century Later, Bending Our Democracy Towards Justice

Marcy Mistrett Friday, 12 January 2018 Posted in 2018, Voices

By Marcy Mistrett, CEO

Fifty years ago, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life was tragically taken in Memphis, TN.  As we celebrate Dr. King’s birthday and commit ourselves to engage, give back, and continue the fight for racial and social justice, I am saddened by how much of Dr. King’s dream has gone deferred, especially with regards to our children.  In our criminal justice system, Dr. Kings dream is literally locked down, and has been since his death.  Yet, there are glimmers of hope for reforms that can be expanded upon by ensuring questions about the way we treat children are part of the political platform in 2018 mid-year elections.

September is #SuicidePrevention Month

Thursday, 21 September 2017 Posted in 2017, Voices

By Aprill Turner, Communications & Media Director

September is national suicide prevention month. Throughout the month, individuals and organizations alike will be drawing attention to the problem of suicide and advocating the prevention of this terrible tragedy. Suicide is a national health problem that is also one of the leading causes of preventable death in our nation. As we reflect on this month and what we can do help with prevention, we must remember a very vulnerable population-- young people in adult jails and prisons.

Guest Column: Don’t Give Up on Latinx Youth

Thursday, 14 September 2017 Posted in 2017, Voices

By Jesse De La Cruz, CFYJ Spokesperson

September 15 marks the beginning of National Hispanic Heritage Month, a month dedicated to celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

It also marks a dark time in our Nation’s history, where the federal government and Congress are increasingly calling for the closure of US borders; and targeting immigrant youth and families for deportation under the guise of “public safety.” This week, the US House of Representatives will vote on HR 3697, “The Criminal Alien Gang Removal Act”. If passed, the bill will create new vague and overly broad grounds of removability based on a sweeping new definition of "criminal gang," triggering racial profiling and putting the United States in violation of its international obligations to protect asylum seekers. This follows on the heels of the administration’s repeal of DACA in the next 6 months, a decision that will impact 800,000 young people and their families who have lived in this country since they were young children.

Headed Back to School… In the Justice System

Tuesday, 05 September 2017 Posted in 2017, Voices

By Marcy Mistrett, CEO 

With the conclusion of Labor Day Weekend, summer is officially “over”—and hundreds of thousands of children return to school this week.  Across the Internet, we see families readying themselves for the year—buying school supplies, new shoes, and happily attending ‘meet your teacher days.’  Discussions on standardized tests, teachers unions, shortages in school budgets, and achievement gaps begin to fill social conversations.

Remembering Michael Brown; Police Don’t Create Safety, Communities do

Tuesday, 08 August 2017 Posted in 2017, Voices

By Aprill O. Turner, Communications Director

Today we reflect on the memory of Mike Brown, the 18-year old unarmed black teen fatally shot six times, twice in the head, by Ferguson, Mo. police officer, Darren Wilson. The 2014  shooting prompted protests across the nation for weeks. The gripping images of a blood-covered white sheet lying over the form of his motionless body for hours will forever be etched in our memories. As will the image of another black mother with tears streaming down her face grieving the loss of her son to this senseless, yet all too common scenario.Three years and many more police-involved shootings later, we ask ourselves, is this what public safety looks like in our communities?

The Youth Who Remain: Pedro Hernandez and the Youth who Remain on Rikers Island until the Implementation of the Raise the Age Law

Thursday, 27 July 2017 Posted in 2017, Voices

By Eunice Revis, Juvenile Justice Fellow, and Jeree Thomas, Policy Director

In April, Governor Cuomo signed a budget bill that included language to raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction so that the majority of 16 and 17-year olds would no longer be incarcerated, tried, or treated as adults. However, the legislation does not go into effect until October 1, 2018 for 16-year olds and October 2019 for 17-year olds. In addition, it bans the placement of youth under 18 in adult facilities by October 2018.  Finally, the law stops short of protecting all youth under age 18; it allows youth age 14 and older to still be tried as adults if they are charged with serious felonies; as is the case with Bronx Teen, Pedro Hernandez.

2017 Summer Institute: Session 2 – Youth in Solitary Confinement

Wednesday, 26 July 2017 Posted in 2017, Voices

By Eunice Revis, Juvenile Justice Fellow

On July 24, 2017, the Campaign for Youth Justice Fellows hosted the second session of the 2017 Summer Institute for interns and fellows from various juvenile justice organizations to discuss the effects of solitary confinement on children. The Campaign was thrilled to have Jenny Lutz, the Campaign Manager for the Stop Solitary for Kids Campaign, and staff attorney at the Center for Children’s Law and Policy (CCLP) - an organization focused on eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system, reducing the unnecessary and inappropriate incarceration of children, and eliminating dangerous and inhumane practices for youth in custody.

Parenting Without A Voice

Thursday, 20 July 2017 Posted in 2017, Voices

By Michelle Hannemann

When children are charged as adults; their parents aren’t notified of their arrest, or that the police are interrogating them in connection with a crime.  Michelle found it out the hard way, when her 16 year old high school junior was arrested and charged with a felony as an adult.  Based heavily on the statement he provided to the police (without any legal representation), he was waived to adult court and sentenced to 5 years in prison. Michelle’s son was then released on an electronic bracelet, and resentenced in 2016 after appealing his first sentence.. Through this hardship, Michelle has learned a lot about the justice system, and how harmful it is for children to be treated as adults.

In honor of Parents' Day, Michelle tells the story of how hard it is to be a parent when you no longer have a voice. 

Brady’s Story: How a “Child in Need of Supervision” Dies in Juvenile Detention

Tuesday, 20 June 2017 Posted in 2017, Voices

Why the U.S. Senate Needs to Reauthorize the Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention Act

By Jeree Thomas, Esq. and Dawn Folkens, mother of Brady Alan Folkens

“Today I woke up feeling like complete [crap]. It has only gotten worse so far. I anticipate feeling bad tomorrow as well. But hopefully I’ll be better by Saturday when my mom comes to visit.” – Brady Folkens, December 19th- Brady’s final journal entry.

A Commitment Worthy of Pride: End the Criminalization of LGBTQ Youth

Monday, 19 June 2017 Posted in 2017, Voices

By Shannan Wilber

Pride Month is an opportunity to commemorate the history of the LGBTQ civil rights movement and celebrate the milestones of social and political progress. It is also an opportunity to acknowledge LGBTQ people who have not benefited from these gains, and commit to ending their oppression.

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