If there is one thing 2020 has taught us, it’s that leaders, organizations and communities have to evolve to meet the moment and do what is required to help our neighbors. At Stand for Children Indiana this year, it’s meant delivering meals to IPS parents who are food insecure and creating a tutoring hotline to help children and families transition to remote learning. And it’s also meant re-evaluating our role in standing up for equity and justice in public education, knowing that the school-to-prison pipeline is being fed by systemic racism on all sides.
As we look ahead to our next decade of work in Indiana, we must continue fighting for equity in the classroom, but we also know we can’t ignore the unjust policies that reach into our schools and act as a magnetic force for the criminal justice system. Organizationally, we must fight for the youth and parents who are furthest from opportunity and furthest from justice, no matter what societal system is holding them back or causing harm.
This is why we’ve decided to expand upon Stand Indiana’s mission to include advocacy for changing the youth justice system, in addition to our continued efforts to close the opportunity gap in schools. Many of the same families we work with are being impacted directly by the harmful policies and practices of the youth justice system. And young people caught in the court system are faced with many additional challenges that directly affect their ability to get a good education and reach their full potential.
We are proud to join forces with tremendous organizations like the Children’s Policy and Law Initiative and become part of the Indiana Coalition for Youth Justice, featuring a host of partners who we hope to learn from and support. We look forward to fighting alongside these partners this upcoming legislative session to stop youth from being held in adult facilities pre-trial, to end the terrible practice of juvenile life without parole, and eliminate fees and costs that are strapping children and families with debt and keeping youth under continual court oversight.
We appreciate of every parent, every concerned citizen, and every ally who has supported Stand and our past campaigns and causes. Now we ask you to stand with us once again as we push to end the school to prison pipeline, tearing down every unjust aspect of a system that is preventing children –especially Black and Brown youth – from reaching their full potential.
Let’s get to work.