Youth Undoing Institutional Racism

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Minnesota Friends examine roots of structural racism

By Lane Holden

March 6 marked the first day of AFSC Twin Cities Healing Justice Program’s Healing Justice Film Series. The series brings to light systems that perpetuate racism in our society today in order to create a conversation about our role in disrupting these systems. The first of the four films in the series was titled Traces of the Trade.

Curriculum for racial justice

Marcel Purnell

Marcel Purnell at Friends Center in Philadelphia

Marcel Purnell has worked with AFSC in Seattle for three years. 

Structural violence is rarely covered by school curriculums, but many students know they’re not learning the whole picture. In Seattle, Marcel Purnell and Dustin Washington provide an alternative education, equipping young people with organizing skills that they’re using to undo institutional racism.

King County sees drop in juvenile defendants but not as much for youth of color

King County Juvenile Detention Center

King County Juvenile Detention Center

King County Juvenile Detention Center

Fewer kids are being referred to King County courts each year ­– and most of these disappearing defendants are white.

Last year 2,298 white juveniles were referred to the courts compared to 5,107 in 2002. That’s a 55 percent decrease. Black youth saw a 21 percent drop in referrals over the same period.

An analysis of the juvenile prosecutions shows that black kids are more likely to be referred to the courts, more likely to be formally charged, less likely to have their cases diverted, and more likely to be sentenced to secure detention or tried as adults.

Editorial: If youth are the future, why does King County want to lock so many of us up?

King County Juvenile Detention Center

King County Juvenile Detention Center

King County Juvenile Detention Center

Valentina Gonzales-Marth wrote this piece as a guest writer for Real Change News.

Freedom School, Part I: Speaking truths to undo racism

Freedom School participants outside

Twenty-five young people, ranging from 15 to 21 years old, took part in this summer's Tyree Scott Freedom School in South Seattle.

In Seattle, AFSC’s Tyree Scott Freedom School brings together young adults to discuss issues of institutional racism, systemic poverty, and the prison-industrial complex, and to learn organizing skills to tackle these issues.

At Tyree Scott Freedom School, young people gain skills to undo institutional racism

Freedom fighters

Real Change published this article about the Tyree Scott Freedom School in Seattle on Aug. 14, 2013. 

Khalil Lee-Butler remembered the time a play fight turned into a run-in with the cops.

It was last year, and Lee-Butler was hanging in South Seattle with a 16-year-old friend. His friend’s younger brother, 14, joined them, and the two brothers started horsing around. Nothing serious, said Lee-Butler, but seemingly out of nowhere, the police showed up.

Youth Undoing Institutional Racism (YUIR)

YUIR is a multi-racial, intergenerational community organizing group. YUIR is youth-focused and committed to promoting meaningful and sustained youth engagement in civic society.

Questions? Contact Marcel Purnell at or 206-632-0500 ext 14

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AFSC is a Quaker organization devoted to service, development, and peace programs throughout the world. Our work is based on the belief in the worth of every person, and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice. Learn more

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