Remembering Joshua Samuels
Marcy Mistrett, CFYJ CEO
Last week, the movement lost a dedicated champion. Joshua Samuels, who worked as a fellow for CFYJ last spring and this summer, passed away last week in a tragic accident.
Josh joined CFYJ to learn more about advocacy. He helped to outline the themes for a podcast, and he participated in two DC coalitions to advance juvenile and criminal justice reforms. He testified in front of city council twice, emphasizing the need to invest adequately in re-entry supports, including mental health supports. Josh also began learning about policy and whose policies would help and who would still be ineligible to benefit. He remained in touch with other young men who were still incarcerated, and developed a change.org petition asking for D.C. to reconsider its accomplice liability laws. He was wonderfully impatient with the pace of reforms, and was a strong advocate underscoring the urgency for change.
Josh was a poet ambassador with Free Minds Book Club and Writers Workshop - a position he loved because it allowed him access to young people and opened up a world of travel. He was also an entrepreneur, excited about building wealth--not only for himself, but in his community. He loved cars and driving, and he loved to travel whenever the opportunity presented itself. He was also a family man--and was expecting his first child.
We will always remember Josh for his gentleness and for his passion and love for the next generation of young people. A Go Fund Me Page has been started to support his family with burial arrangements.