The Youth Justice Project (YJP) is a youth-led group of Durham Public School (DPS) students of color who are committed to ending the school-to-prison pipeline and achieving educational justice. We envision a future in which young people of color attend schools that lift them up, not pat them down; live in communities that follow their lead, not suppress their voice; and are served by governments that invest in their future, not their incarceration. We believe in a world where no child is criminalized and all Black, Latinx, and LGBTQIA+ youth receive the education and support necessary to thrive in their full dignity.
The school-to-prison pipeline is bigger than suspensions and arrests. It also includes biased polices, systemic underinvestment, and outdated, Eurocentric curriculum – all of which push students out of the classroom and into the justice system. A comprehensive, youth-led effort is necessary to dismantle decades-old practices that wear away at the dignity and wellbeing of students of color. We urge the Durham Public Schools Board of Education to work with Youth Justice Project members and students of color throughout DPS to implement this policy platform.
These infographics include recommendations that were developed by Youth Justice Project members and represent a comprehensive view of educational justice that, if fully implemented, will effectively end the school-to-prison pipeline in DPS. In the sage and powerful words of Assata Shakur, “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”