At the second Create Justice forum in September, policymakers, artists, funders, activists, researchers, and leaders from non-profit organizations and government agencies will co-design with young people to further refine collective ideas and priorities as they move toward crafting a national plan of action. Participants in the forum continue to grow, generating a national movement grounded in the intersection of arts and youth justice reform. The forum continues to be led, in part, by Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Chief of Program and Pedagogy at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, who is a recipient of the Guggenheim Social Practice initiative and the U.S. Artists Rockefeller Fellowship. The forums include a series of collaborative discussions, workshops, and artist performances centered on developing innovative solutions to help youth succeed during and after justice involvement.
The Create Justice forum this fall will be a landmark event, as it will bring participants to Los Angeles’s new youth detention facility — Campus Kilpatrick — enabling them to explore the driving questions of the forum alongside youth who are directly impacted. It will also be an opportunity to understand and witness the new innovative LA Model, which seeks to reform youth detention into a restorative, supportive model of care over corrections.
At the same time, Create Justice will hold a Youth Leadership Workshop at the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena. Young leaders will convene, so they can reflect and articulate their own priorities in a youth-centered space. They will be supported by facilitators from AIYN members, including Street Poets, Inc., The Unusual Suspects, Rhythm Arts Alliance, Actor’s Gang, and Armory Center for the Arts who are currently working with youth at Camp Kilpatrick as well as the other juvenile detention facilities across Los Angeles County. The second day will bring together youth leaders, national stakeholders, and partners to facilitate a collective action plan.
A highlight of the forum will be a pop-up exhibit at the Armory Center for the Arts that is open to the public on Monday night, September 25th. Art pieces by renowned artists — including Ernesto Yerena, Yosi Sergant of Task Force, and youth in communities and in detention facilities from across the country — will illuminate the ongoing conversations around youth justice reform, arts engagement, and cultural equity.
“These conversations are truly a unique process,” said Kaile Shilling, Executive Director of Arts for Incarcerated Youth Network. “What’s exciting is that the whole series of forums are themselves modeling a process of collaboration — between emerging young leaders and those with years of expertise in the field, between artists and policymakers, between community and government agencies — that’s all grounded in the arts. The way participants are approaching this is itself part of the solution,” added Shilling.
“Create Justice brings together people with a variety of different perspectives who share a belief that the arts can be a tool in reform of the juvenile justice system, and moving toward a more inclusive, restorative approach to juvenile justice,” said Sarah Johnson, Director of Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute. “In the first forum, we heard powerfully the need for young people to be at the table with us in discussions about systems that will impact their lives and the lives of other young people across the country. Collaborative work with young people will therefore be a central part of the upcoming meetings in Los Angeles this fall, and in New York City in March. I’m looking forward to the development of important ideas and concepts from the first forum, and to seeing how these begin to become concrete, actionable strategies for the future.”
Although youth incarceration rates have declined by almost 50% since 2003, the U.S. still incarcerates more children than any other nation, with a youth incarceration rate that is five times that of the next highest country. Approximately 95% of youth have been detained or arrested for non-violent crimes, and time in the system can have lifelong negative consequences. There are 34,000 youth in juvenile prisons, 4,500 youth in adult prisons; an additional 20,000 youth detained in away from home residential placement within the juvenile system. 7,200 youth are incarcerated for status offenses and probation violations actions that are not even considered crimes for adults.
NOTE TO PRESS: Please let us know if you are interested in attending the upcoming Create Justice forum in Los Angeles, September 25 and 26, 2017, or March 11-13, 2018 in New York. If you would like to learn more about Create Justice, Sarah Johnson of WMI and Kaile Shilling of AIYN are available for media interviews upon request.
Visit the Create Justice video playlist to watch presentations from the March 2017 forum in New York City.