Spotlight on CA’s Leadership Programs Youth in Action: The Juvenile Justice Project’s Advocacy Work

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Participants in the Juvenile Justice Project’s (JJP) youth advocacy programs, Each One, Teach One (EOTO) and Safe Passages, regularly participate in public education and advocacy activities, and play an integral role in the Project’s ability to carry out its mission. For example, young people from EOTO and Safe Passages conduct workshops and trainings at youth organizations cross the city, educating youth about the juvenile justice system and their rights when stopped by the police, or preparing them for Advocacy Days.

Here are some recent achievements of our young program participants and graduates:

  • This past December, Juanita and Thomas spoke at a Juvenile Justice Coalition (coordinated by JJP) press conference and testified at a State Assembly hearing about the use of restraints against young residents of Office of Children and Family Services facilities; Juanita and Thomas’ statements were well-covered in the press, including pieces on WNYC radio and in Metro. Subsequently, OCFS has revised its restraint policy and expanded its Ombudsman’s Office, which is charged with responding to allegations from young people of abuse and neglect.
  • Renasia recently led a “training for trainers” session for EOTO youth in order to prepare other young people for Advocacy Day. Thirty EOTO youth trained nearly 300 young people to participate in juvenile justice advocacy days this year. In addition, EOTO youth have served as team leaders during meetings with legislators.
  • Keean, Tomara and Thierno helped produce a public service announcement video about the school-to-prison pipeline and the harmful effects of zero tolerance policies in schools. In creating this video, the EOTO youth learned all aspects of video production including developing a storyboard, casting, lighting, camera work and editing.
  • Several young women from EOTO contributed to a recent ACLU and Human Rights Watch report on girls and incarceration; Juanita and Antoinette were interviewed for a New York Times article about the report.
  • Na’sia was featured in a panel at the New School, entitled Working Toward a Common Goal: Safe, Supportive Schools for Every New York Teen, in which she was the only youth participant.
  • Kyle co-hosted a youth rally to remove the police from schools and to end the criminalization of students.
  • Adama worked closely with a New York Times reporter on a story about the November 2006 death of a boy at Tryon Residential Facility, a youth jail run by OCFS, and played a key role in ensuring his story was told.