Youth organizers worked with artist Simone Salib to produce a series of posters to expresses youth organizers’ vision for ending youth incarceration. The posters are exhibited throughout Pennsylvania.
Directly-impacted youth and parents shared public testimony that speaks to the racism, cruelty, and ineffectiveness of the juvenile justice system and the treatment of youth as adults by the criminal legal system. Youth and parent advocates presented the coalition’s demands.
The C,NC album project is written, produced and performed by youth who have experienced incarceration. It showcases the talents, hopes, and dreams of youth impacted by the system and tells system stakeholders that youth need community care and support, not prison.
Learn more about the experiences of directly impacted youth and hear from youth leaders and advocates on the campaign. The #Freeouryouth poem was written, edited, and compiled by incarcerated youth in collaboration with Performing Statistics.
I’m free to look out my windowto see doctors, nurses, teachers on their way to work, old heads teaching young ones to do double dutch,
I’m free to playon playgrounds, ungated,no more missing or creaky swings,no yellow tape or cops, no buildings left to rot,
I’m free to wanderpast beautiful houses, full of families,Black businesses in Black communities, gardens attracting butterflies and animals, hella block parties and community talent shows,
I’m free to hearcrickets and frogs, no more gunshots, fireworks, or arguing — just birds you’ve never even heard before,children’s laughter, and a lot of singing,the music from the people’s porches while they cook out,
I’m free to belongin a place where neighbors speak to each other, saying;“Hey can I help you with that?”“I haven’t seen you in a while?”“How are you doing?
I’m free to enjoyall the families here together, looking over photo books of memories created with one another,because no one is separated, because sons and dads are together,and dads and grandparents,talking together, caring for each other,
I’m free to experiencea childhood full of softness, gentleness, where our moms don’t have to be tough on us to prepare us for a dark world,where we don’t feel violated, rushed, or scared,where our moms can just focus on loving us and watching us take up space, where I don’t have to be extra tough.Where I don’t have to prepare for something terrible.
I’m free to just be me. I’m dancing, skipping down the street,because I know, when I walk outside,
that I’m free
to come back home.