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"Instead of prison, our children deserve good schools, healthy and safe communities, and opportunities to thrive. We have a blue print for action. We must act to save our children." -Angela Glover Blackwell, Founder and CEO, PolicyLink
On February 27, 2009, CDF and several co-conveners held a two-day National/California Cradle to Prison Pipeline Summit in Sacramento, California. The nearly 500 attendees at the summit shared promising approaches and developed community action plans to stop the funneling of thousands of children down a pipeline to prison.
Participants discussed the role of race and poverty in the pipeline to prison, the importance of reweaving community relationships and surrounding children and youths with the care and services they need to succeed. The Summit also highlighted promising approaches to addressing these challenges.
Some 200 youths led and participated in the deliberations of the first day to help define their own involvement in efforts to dismantle the prison pipeline. During interactive sessions, they shared challenges and discussed their personal experiences in the pipeline, and the interventions that changed their lives. Their report and recommendations were presented to the entire summit.
Co-conveners of the summit included the the NAACP, National Council of La Raza, U.S. Conference of Mayors and PolicyLink, and noted speakers included: Angela Glover Blackwell, founder and CEO of PolicyLink; Ben Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP; The Honorable Kevin Johnson, Mayor of Sacramento, California; The Honorable Karen Bass, Speaker, California State Assembly; The Honorable Darrell Steinberg, President pro Tempore, California State Senate; The Honorable Mark Ridley-Thomas, Los Angeles County Supervisor; Dolores Huerta, Founder and President, Dolores Huerta Foundation; and Jurnee Smollett, actor.
We have no time to waste. It is time to step up and take action. Every step counts.
We must mount a concerted national effort to dismantle the pipeline to prison by eliminating its root causes through implementation of promising approaches articulated at the Summit. The policies and systems that fuel the pipeline to prison are strong but, together so are we! Learn more about CDF's Cradle to Prison Pipeline Campaign.
The urgent challenge for each of us and for our nation is to prevent this waste of our children's lives and our nation's capabilities. Find out ways you and your community can step up and take action and learn more about children in the pipeline in your state.
Step by step, we can and will make a difference. Today. Tomorrow. Together.