March 10, 2015
I attended the Youth Jail 101 Teach-In at Madrona Grace Presbyterian Church February 22. The Teach-In was sponsored and led by determined youth from Youth for Undoing Institutional Racism (YUIR). These young people call their movement unstoppable, and I believe them. Their carefully thought-out philosophy of organizing against racist patterns and institutions they no longer want to live with has undeniable integrity.
Some of what I learned at the Teach-In:
– The disproportionality of back youth in prisons traces back through generations of oppression to early days of slavery.
– Our schools are culpable in perpetuating the school-to-prison pipeline by disproportionately disciplining youth of color.
–The proposed new youth jail was euphemistically and misleadingly called King County Children and Families Justice Center on our ballots. Many voters did not realize they were voting for a youth jail.
– Effective and humane alternatives to imprisonment of our young people. Restorative Justice programs have worked in cities like Oakland, CA.
–We all bear the responsibility and burden of finding alternatives to jailing kids instead of perpetuating a racist status quo.
I plan to attend a follow-up event “What Does It Mean to be Table Flipping Disciples?” at Plymouth, 10 am to noon, Saturday, March 21. If you want to be inspired, please come! (Click here to read more.) –Caroline Becker