Action Day 2021

On May 19, 2020 youth organizers gathered in front of the Philadelphia Juvenile Justice Services Center Monday afternoon to advocate for the youth currently incarcerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizers called on Mayor Jim Kenney, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, and local courts to release those youths in detention.

Townhall September 2021

Care not control Townhall September 1
Youth leaders shared public testimony urging Pennsylvania stakeholders to push for bold reform and release all young people from the carceral system due to the Covid 19 pandemic.

Poster Campaign

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.

Townhall December 2021

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.

Graffiti

Album Project

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.

#FreeOurYouth

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.

In the World Without Youth Incarceration, I’m free.
By Rodney Gardner, William Bentley, and Emyne Sanders-Rasul

I’m free
to look out my window
to see doctors, nurses, teachers on their way to work,
old heads teaching young ones to do double dutch,

I’m free to play
on playgrounds, ungated,
no more missing or creaky swings,
no yellow tape or cops, no buildings left to rot,

I’m free to wander
past 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 hear
crickets 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 belong
in 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 enjoy
all 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 experience
a 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.