As an introduction to the Justice Corner, I feel compelled to be transparent about my motivation for starting on this blogging journey. I confess that in many ways I am heading down this path blindly and without much knowledge of blogging protocol or even the technology. And yet, I am called to use this powerful communication medium to share my perspective, knowledge and lessons learned after decades of standing up for social justice and civil rights. There are so many outrageous and unacceptable practices that harm kids and families who are caught up in court systems that the average person has no knowledge of. These stories rarely reach the level of high profile media outlets. In fact, most of what happens in juvenile and family court (and even in schools) is protected by a cloak of silence under a doctrine of privacy rights. But I now wonder who these policies actually protect – the families or the decision-makers? Unless an act is so egregious (and caught on videotape) such as recent shootings and killings of unarmed young people, many less newsworthy but nonetheless harmful actions against our youth remain unknown.
I have been cautioned that people may not care about the information that I plan to share in this blog – and yet I dare to think otherwise. It is my hope and my strong faith in what is good and right and just that convinces me to believe that there are hundreds, thousands, maybe even millions (well maybe tens of thousands) 🙂 of like-minded individuals who if made aware of the realities of child-serving systems, will care and perhaps even lend a hand to reform. I believe that people will care to know that kids are being locked up for under-age drinking, smoking or breaking curfew (typical adolescent misbehavior) sometimes for many years in small cells; that they will care that kids are being put out of school for failed science experiments due to zero-tolerance policies that defy any common sense; that they will be alarmed and concerned about the serious racial disparities in how similar incidents are handled. I believe that there are people like me who will care and stand up and give voice to a mandate for fair treatment and equity so that we all can pursue happy and productive lives for ourselves and our children.
WE SHALL SEE…
I hope to inspire champions to act as change agents and ultimately to prove the pessimists wrong. Please join the Justice Corner community and together we can raise the consciousness of our localities, our states and our country! Let’s share with each other and together walk down the path in pursuit of justice.
Justice only exists when it’s available for all!
If you have a story about a young person that was unfairly disciplined or similarly harmed due to unnecessary court involvement that you would like to share, feel free to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Tanya Washington is a social justice advocate who seeks better outcomes for vulnerable youth/ Join the discussion at http://www.justicecorner.com
Follow Tanya on Twitter: @twashesq