Webinar: Youth Leadership for Restorative Justice
Young people most affected by mass incarceration and the school-to-prison pipeline are leading a movement for restorative justice in their schools and communities. In Chicago, Voices for Youth in Chicago Education (VOYCE), a collaborative led by students of color, recently won the passage of a school discipline law that requires all Illinois schools to dramatically change their discipline policies. According to VOYCE, the legislation “represents perhaps the most aggressive and comprehensive effort ever made by a state to address the ‘school-to-prison pipeline.'” Students and social justice educators in New York City are also celebrating their recent victory: $2.4 million of the FY16 New York City budget will pay for a pilot RJ program in 15 schools. In 2012, Denver-based group Padres y Jovenes Unidos (Parents & Youth United) successfully organized for state-wide legislation that significantly decreased suspensions, expulsions, and referrals to law enforcement from Colorado schools. They continue to organize to end the racial disparities that persist despite the overall reduction in punitive approaches. What can we learn from these and other youth-led groups about how to advance restorative justice, racial justice and education equity?