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

My name is Valentina. I am a 17-year-old black female and an intern for Youth Undoing Institutional Racism, a multi-generational program run by the American Friends Service Committee that focuses on developing global leaders and undoing institutional racism. I am against using $210 million of taxpayer money to create new jail beds inside the Children and Family Justice Center, which will be built over the next several years on 12th and Alder.

In 2012, black youth accounted for approximately 10 percent of King County’s total youth population, yet they made up 39 percent of the youth held at the current detention facility, also on 12th and Alder. Black youth in King County are incarcerated twice as often as white youth even though white youth outnumber black youth by a ratio of 7-to-1.

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