The Movement

Connecting Us to Social Justice Work Around the Country

Issue 3: December 15, 2019

This newsletter highlights some great work being done by Credible Messengers, includes some beautiful holiday book readings (from Sending Some Love) done by students both at Travis Hill and elsewhere, highlights an op-ed from Anquan Boldin and Carl Davis demanding that our presidential candidates to take on juvenile justice reform...and more, including a call to join the Poor People's March in June 2020.

Reporting for Work Where You Once Reported for Probation: The Credible Messenger Movement Takes Hold

Here's a great piece from the Atlantic, describing the groundbreaking work being done in New York, DC and elsewhere leveraging the talents and skills of Credible Messengers. Wow, I wish we could convince leadership in New Orleans to do this.

Sending Some Love: Preview audio recordings to help you get into the holiday spirit

As many of you know, more than 60 youth facilities across the county participate in Sending Some Love, along with our students at Travis Hill. Students read and record children holiday books, then send the books and a recording home to their loved ones. Click below to listen to a handful of recording, both from our own Travis Hill students and students in Orange County. A more complete set of recording will be shared next week on our website.

Anquan Boldin and Carl Davis: NFL players call for criminal justice reform for young people

"Overhauling our juvenile justice system is critical. Setting young people up for success after re-entry into society is just as important. That means supporting youth in sealing or expunging their records, pursuing education and employment opportunities, and encouraging youth voter registration." This Op-Ed calls for Democratic presidential candidates to make juvenile justice reform part of their platform and reform agendas. Read their full op-ed here:

We Must See Our Students as Asset Filled Beings-

Although the authors of this article are primarily focused on working with ELL students, their messages are right on target for our work and our students, even the most hard-to-reach. Here is a link to the full article.

Dr. William Barber Launches the Poor People's Campaign and March on Washington--June 2020

If you are exhausted and down and wonder if we (or you) are alone in this struggle. I urge you to just take a few minutes and watch this launch video, announcing the Poor People's Campaign and March, set for June 20, 2020. You can read more about the planned march here: I hope that Travis Hill NOLA will be sponsoring a bus taking students from the Welcoming Project on the March. And that preparing for and organizing the trip will become a central organizing theme for our youth advocacy and leadership development efforts this spring.

Ashtabula County Juvenile Court--Ending Juvenile Detention For Good

If you are active on Twitter or Instagram and you're looking for inspiration, consider following Ashtabula County Juvenile Court. This amazing county in a not particularly progressive area of Ohio committed to closing its juvenile detention center about 1.5 years ago. They share their successes and are open about the challenges they face as they stay committed to a set of solutions that doesn't include locking kids up in their (now closed) detention center. You can follow them on twitter @AshJuvCourt or or on Instagram at @ashtabulacount_juvenilecourt.

Issue 2: November 19, 2019

This newsletter pulls from a range of articles: a painful series outlining the failures of Juvenile Justice System in Georgia and a call for reform there; the November Newsletter from our partner school in Milwaukee's juvenile detention center, the Vel. R. Philips School--where leadership is committed to bringing the community into the lives of the students they serve; an article about student-leaders in Cincinnati working to find solutions to racial and economic injustice in their juvenile justice system; a reminder from right here in New Orleans from Demario Davis to push on the City Council and Mayor to support full, fair funding for public defenders; and a link to College Beyond Bars, a 4-part documentary showing over the the break. Enjoy. David

Juvenile Justice in Georgia, Parts 1, 2 and 3--and an Editorial and a Plea for Action

This three part series in the Atlanta Journal Constitution exposes the incredible toll the antiquated lock them up system that has been in place in Georgia for years takes on so many, but primarily black and brown teens and young adults who once system-involved have little chance to get what they need--support, care, and a meaningful education. The second part--see below--offers a glimpse at some terrific work being done in one county...

Part 1: This part examines the tragic, violent teen years of a youth caught up in the Georgia system from the age of 13

Part 2: This part highlights the incredible work being done by Judge Steven Teske and his colleagues in Clayton County, GA.

Part 3: This part highlights the racial and political underpinnings of Georgia's punitive juvenile justice system.

From the Editorial Board: Bring Criminal Justice Reform to Juveniles--A plea for state leaders to find a new, better way

The Connector: November Newsletter from our friends at the Vel. R. Philips School in Milwaukee

Our partner school in the Milwaukee's juvenile detention center, this month's newsletter, opens with a pretty amazing quote from Brene' Brown: “What we are ethically called to do is create a safe space in our schools and classrooms where all students can walk in and, for that day or hour, take off the crushing weight of their armor, hang it on a rack, and open their heart to truly be seen.” Read the full newsletter here:

Hamilton County's Youth Councils take a leading role...

Here's a great article highlighting the work that youth councils are doing in Cincinnati to address racial disparities and inequities in the juvenile justice system there.

This article is also a part of a larger series that the City Beat has been running about the need for, and attempts at reform there.

Demario Davis leading the charge for fair funding for the Public Defender Service here in New Orleans

In case you missed it, Demario Davis hosted a forum right over at Corpus Christi recently, and has been active on social media, calling for equitable funding for the Public Defender Service right here in New Orleans

This is an incredibly critical issue for our kids, their future, our future. We should all be joining Demario in calling for fair funding for our students public defenders.

College Beyond Bars: Four-part documentary about the Bard Prison Initiative

For those of you looking for some good binge-watching over the Thanksgiving break, this is supposed to be really spectacular. The trailer is below. Here is a link to PBS with information on how to watch it...
Official Extended Trailer | College Behind Bars | PBS

Introduction-November 3, 2019

This is my second attempt to share on a regular basis information from around the country that connects our work at Travis Hill NOLA and CEEAS to the larger movement toward a more just criminal and juvenile legal system, a more equitable and meaningful education system, and a fairer and more honest economic system. Ones that value all teens and young adults as fully human and worthy of our collective embrace. My goal is to send brief updates out 2xs per month. I'm going to try! If you read articles that you'd like me to include, please send them my way. Enjoy. dd

Prison: The Washington Post Magazine features writing and articles from current and formerly incarcerated individuals

Wow! The Washington Post's weekly magazine was devoted solely to articles and art written and produced by currently or formerly incarcerated individuals. The introduction to the issue starts out: "America incarcerates more people than any other nation. As a result, the stark realities of jail and prisons have a far-reaching impact on society....our goal was to help readers learn about the experience of imprisonment, something that is poorly understood by Americans who are untouched by the system." What I know from our work in DC and New Orleans is that for many communities--particularly lower income communities of color, almost everyone is touched--and hard--by the system, often tragically.

Even if you don't have time to read the full issue, I encourage you to click on the link, take in the artwork...consider reading an article that strikes you.

Unsung: Advocacy and protest songs written and produced by JJ students from around the country-

In October, hundreds of students from nearly 40 youth facilities across the country participated in Unsung, CEEAS's nationwide initiative that we sponsor as a part of Youth Justice Awareness Month. Last week we announced the Top 5 songs and dropped them on a Youtube. It's an incredible playlist. I encourage you to listen here:

Rethinking Juvenile Justice: A healing centered approach

Here's DC's Director of Youth Rehabilitation Services take on how to really invest in kids and to not just tinker with the apparatus of juvenile detention and incarceration. Clinton has been the Director in DC for 5+ years. The number of youth held at DC's youth facility for adjudicated teens was over 120 when we went out to start the Maya Academy 12 years ago, it was at 60 when I left 7 years ago; today the number is under 30. For those of you looking for a fresh. dignified, community-focused approach, this is a quick, short read.

Titan Tribune -- Student newspaper from our partner school in Dade County (Miami), Florida

Enjoy the latest edition of the Titan Tribune, a newspaper written by students at the Miami Youth Academy (MYA), the school located inside of the Dade County Juvenile Detention Center. As noted, the class and newspaper is a collaboration between MYA, Exchange for Change and Miami, and the Dade County Public Schools. Exchange for Change is a Miami non-profit that teaches writing classes in youth and adult detention facilities. Our friend and colleague Dan Wynne is the lead teacher at Miami Youth Academy; he supports the class and helps out with design and layout. Enjoy a great student newspaper here:

Ear Hustle Podcast, Last Episode of Season 4: Tell Christy I Love Her

This episode really hits home for me. It's hard to listen to, it's incredibly close up and violent. It feels like this could happen to any of our kids--in New Orleans, in DC, Chicago, and in so many cities where we are working.

It's also about redemption, understanding, and the power of restorative practices. Here it is:

Gimme Five: The XQs bi-weekly newsletter...

Every two weeks, XQ, shares an e-newsletter, Gimme Five, that has great content on a range of topics; it's limited to five articles, so it's easy to get through. I've included a link to the latest one here: One of this week's articles features Chris Emdin's keynote at the SXSW gathering. He really brings home the need to be culturally engaged with students, across all content areas (he's originally a math/science teacher). Here is the link to his keynote:

You can subscribe to the XQ newsletter and keep up with their work by clicking here: