Ending 2017 on the Right Note: Happy Holidays From The Campaign Youth Justice
By Aprill O. Turner, Communications Director
What a year it has been! We are so thankful to all of the families, state partners, researchers, journalists, fellows, policy champions, and funders who have contributed to ending the adultification of youth this year. Now, more than ever, we know the power of and need for our movement.
This year we have criss-crossed the country working with our state partners as they continue to lead reform efforts to ensure kids are treated like kids, removing youth from adult jails and prisons, raising the age of criminal responsibility and narrowing transfer laws. We have contributed new research to the field to expand the breadth of knowledge on why children do not belong with adults in jails and prisons. We have worked in coalition to raise our voice in the halls of Congress on why funding for the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act is critical. We have also continued to rally the cause through the media to change the national narrative and raise awareness on more effective responses to youth who come in contact with the law. Finally, thousands of people around the country participated in Youth Justice Action Month (YJAM) activities, using the arts as a way to advocate for change.
However, perhaps one of our most memorable highlights of 2017 was earlier this month when we teamed up with our friends and partners to send 600 holiday cards to incarcerated youth across the country. From one participant who joined us for the first time, “it was great to be able to show the young people how many of us care. It was staggering to see how many cards we signed, and know we are only reaching a small number of those who have been incarcerated since they were children.”
For most of us the holiday season is filled with family, friends, good food, and cheer. But for those in jails and prisons, the holidays are an especially painful time to be separated from loved ones. Many of our Spokespeople share the pain of being separated from their loved ones, you can hear their stories here.
As you send out your holiday cards this season, please remember the boys, girls, men and women who will spend the holidays behind bars. Receiving a holiday card filled with greetings and inspiring words could really mean a lot to someone who has to spend the holidays away from their family.
We encourage you to spread a little holiday cheer this season and join us in uplifting incarcerated individuals. Most of us do not have to look very far to find a connection to an incarcerated person. We encourage you to use such apps as Flikshop which makes it easy to send a photo-postcard message to someone who most certainly needs your support. This simple act of kindness can alleviate the loneliness faced by thousands of children who are incarcerated every night in adult jails and prisons across the U.S.
Thank you again for helping us champion reforms for our children. We hope the holidays allow you time to rest, and be among friends and family who share in the hope for our children and a brighter future for all.
Happy holidays from CFYJ.