29 Jun Reflections on Racial Equity Education Series
Last month TeamChild concluded our 3-part Racial Equity Education Series focusing on racial equity in the juvenile justice system. We launched this series to provide spaces for youth and community partners to tackle many aspects of this topic and to provide learning opportunities. Throughout this project, the young people drove and curated the content, and even facilitated one of the sessions. Thank you to over 500 of you who registered for our series, and a big thanks to our 8 sponsors: Group Health Foundation, Microsoft, Kaiser Permanente, Perkins Coie, Cisco, Baker McKenzie, Columbia Bank and Cairncross & Hempelmann!
In our first session we were able to work with social justice advocate and former Seahawk player, Doug Baldwin, Jr., who has a passion for criminal justice reform. This project was particularly special to us as we got to work alongside Kenan Kenard-Adams and Juwan EveryBodyTalksAbout, who interviewed Doug, based on their own questions, from a juvenile detention facility. Doug, Kenan, and Juwan created a space to discuss their thoughts on the system, and the overall themes that resulted were belonging, love, humanity, meaningful educational opportunities and mutual respect. You can watch the filmed conversation here: Addressing Racial Equity in the Juvenile Justice System.
For Part 2, “Community Solutions to Prevent Incarceration,” The If Project, Reclaiming Our Greatness, The People’s Assembly, TeamChild, and our emcee, Rayneesha, dove into the topic of youth incarceration and some alternative community-driven approaches. This powerful conversation with our partners highlighted the need for community services that reflect the community, meet youth where they are, and provide spaces for youth voice.
Our final topic focused on “Disrupting the School-to-Prison Pipeline.” We featured Spokane’s Every Student Counts Alliance, staff from TeamChild’s King & Spokane offices, Jazzmine (a parent and an advocate for youth), and South King County Discipline Coalition. The group launched into topics about why the school-to-prison pipeline exists and the negative impact of microaggressions and of criminalizing behavior at school. They also discussed the problematic ways in which schools punish students of color and how the pandemic has furthered inequity in schools.
Thank you to our young people that consulted on this educational series! Without the young people’s wisdom, knowledge, and firsthand experience it wouldn’t have been possible to have such rich conversations. Thank you to our partners who were featured in this education series. We are honored to work alongside you in community and are grateful for all your hard work dismantling racist and oppressive systems and being leaders and allies in ending punitive approaches for youth.