On March 28, a group of Seattle-area anti-racist organizers came together to learn, heal, and put the juvenile justice system “on trial.” In this video clip from The Real News.com, organizers and participants talk about their goals for the event, the People’s Tribunal on the U.S. Juvenile Justice System.
Led by youth of color, the tribunal was a response to the history of racism and crimes against humanity by the U.S. justice system. The event was organized by EPIC (Ending the Prison Industrial Complex), a project of AFSC’s Seattle Community Justice Program.
In particular, participants talked about strategies in the ongoing struggle against the planned $210 million juvenile detention center in Seattle.
“It is important that as we're organizing, as we're trying to talk to the politicians and dismantle the system, that we're building and we're healing and we're growing our community,” notes Ariel Hart, an intern in AFSC’s office in Seattle who’s active with EPIC and Youth Undoing Institutional Racism, another AFSC-related project.
Soon after the tribunal, officials announced plans to reduce the number of allotted beds at the detention center by 40, discontinue incarcerating youth for status offenses like truancy, and cut incarceration for probation violation by 50 percent. While they welcome these developments, organizers have pledged to continue developing community based anti-racist alternatives to detention.