October is here and it’s Youth Justice Action Month!
In case you missed it, the White House issued the official Presidential Proclamation declaring National Youth Justice Awareness Month, 2016. You can read the proclamation here and share widely!
Here are 7 more ways you can take action:
(1) Live Stream A Community Based Approach to Juvenile Justice
On October 21 at 10:00 am – 12:00 noon EST, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs will host “A Community Based Approach to Juvenile Justice” discussion at their offices at 810 7th Street, Washington, D.C. Featured speakers include: Karol V. Mason, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Justice Programs; Nancy Rodriguez, Director of the National Institute of Justice; Robert L. Listenbee, Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention; Vincent Schiraldi, Senior Research Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School; and Patrick McCarthy, President & CEO, Annie E. Casey Foundation. A moderated discussion will follow. You can live stream the event here.
(2) Sign up for LGBTQ Youth in the Juvenile Justice System webinar
Tuesday, October 11 is National Coming Out Day – a day to celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people and their allies. But what do we know about LGBTQ youth in the juvenile justice system? Surveys find that 20% of youth in juvenile justice facilities identify as LGBT or gender nonconforming compared to just 7-9% of the broader youth population, and the majority of these youth are youth of color. LGBTQ youth in the system are at increased risk for harassment and sexual assault. Join this webinar to learn about what pushes LGBTQ youth into the juvenile justice system, how they are treated in the system, and what you can do to help support these youth. Experts will present the latest research, statistics, and models for innovation from around the country. Cosponsored by Youth First, Equality Federation, Impact Justice, National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the Movement Advancement Project. Register here.
(3) Support Girls Justice Day & Participate on the Briefing Webinar
October 29 is Girls Justice Day, a day during YJAM to join together to recognize focus on girls in the juvenile and criminal justice systems. Despite decades of attention, the proportion of girls in the juvenile justice system continues to increase. At the same time, girls’ challenges have remained remarkably consistent, resulting in deeply rooted, systemic gender injustice. Every day in this country, girls who are survivors of violence, sexual abuse, neglect, and family dysfunction are driven into the justice system. Too often, it’s because we criminalize the actions they take to protect themselves and to deal with their trauma. Girls are rarely detained for offenses that cause a risk to public safety—they are significantly more likely to face arrest for “status offenses,” which are actions that would not be considered a crime if they were adults, such as running away. On October 28, leading experts in the field of girls and juvenile justice will host an informative webinar on girls in the justice system. More details to follow.
(4) Host a Film Screening of Prison Kids: Juvenile Justice in America
Host a Prison Kids: Juvenile Justice in America film screening at your home, neighborhood center, library, or community meeting. This documentary takes a hard look at our nation’s juvenile justice system. Narrated by Academy Award-nominated actress Gabourey Sidibe and featuring an introduction by Russell Simmons, this hour-long film explores America’s failed juvenile justice system through the eyes of young people and their families. The video is free and available online, along with sample materials to help you organize your event here.
(5) Engage Voters & Educate Candidates on Youth Justice
Use the Your Voice Your Vote electoral advocacy toolkit to engage voters and educate candidates. The purpose of this new toolkit is to provide you with the information you need to engage in the political process; to make sure those seeking political power in your state understand the issues facing youth involved in the juvenile justice system and stand ready to work with young people and families if elected. Download your toolkit here.
(6) Get involved in a state campaign
You can make your voice heard by getting involved in a campaign to end youth incarceration in your state. Find our more about current campaigns here.
(7) Spread the word
We will be sharing facts about youth incarceration, upcoming events, and state youth decarceration campaigns throughout the month of October. Follow us on Twitter or Facebook to stay updated and help us spread the word! Use hashtag #YJAM
For more information on Youth Justice Action Month, visit the Campaign for Youth Justice’s YJAM action page here.
Together, we can take action for youth justice!