Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Youth Justice Awareness Month

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I met Michelle Stephens just about a year ago. She was referred to me as a mother who was working to bring awareness of the issues of youth justice. 

As she shared her journey as a mother, a citizen and a woman, she revealed her faith that change is possible. She also expressed her fear that working for change would put her son at risk within the system. As we continued getting to know each other and continued to speak about the issues, she became clear that she wanted to DO something. I bore witness to her courage and deep belief in what is right.

After  a bit of researching she found the Campaign for Youth Justice. As she learned more, it became clear that their work aligned to her beliefs and her passion to create change.

As she explored, we began discussing being brave enough to create an event here in Jacksonville. One conversation led to another and as she became impassioned about the event, enthusiasm built.

She worked to bring meaningful content and partners around the table including The Southern Poverty Center;  the Children's Campaign; Author, Betty Burney; Film Director, Karen Grau and Character Counts! in Jacksonville.

On October 13th in Jacksonville, Florida, Alliance for Youth Justice Parent Michelle Stephens and the Southern Poverty Law Center are hosting a film screening and discussion of Young Kids, Hard Time, which aired on MSNBC in November 2011. Film Director Karen Grau will attend to discuss the experience of filming young kids serving multi-decade sentences and her thoughts on the practice of trying youth as adults.

The event is designed to shed light on the current situation and educate on ways we can work together to make change. 

For more information call Michelle Stephens
at 904-338-1734 or krmdstephens@comcast.net

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