Many students, parents,teachers, businesses, pretty much the entire community is anticipating the upcoming start of the 2016-2017 school year. Purchasing school supplies and new clothes and who their homeroom teacher will be is normal for students heading back to the classroom. Then there are those that experience school in such a way that is polar opposite. “Why go to school, if I’m only going to be in trouble and suspended all the time”. This experience echos intensely and loud in the black, hispanic and poor white communities around the nation, but specifically, targeted areas of the north, east and south sides of town in Kalamazoo.
S.E.E (social, economic & educational) Change, a grassroots social action group from Kalamazoo working to eradicate the School to Prison to Pipeline that lock black and brown youth, especially males.
Raise the Age, a campaign aims to raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to 18. Michigan remains one of the few states that automatically prosecutes all 17-year olds as adults. This policy is at odds with state laws and national and international policies that declare adulthood to begin at age 18.
The Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency has published, Youth Behind Bars
S.E.E. Change and Michigan United are sponsoring a free community to bring awareness, to what many do not realize is the school to prison pipeline. Victims for past and present will share their stories as well as providing local music entertainment, spoken word and information on efforts to dismantle and S.E.E real Change for urban community sustainability and vitality.
Elisheva Johnson, community organizer for Michigan United, shared a quote, “In these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunities for education-Earl Warren. Johnson also invites the community to fellowship and celebrate our youth on September 2, 2016 at Majyckradio studio based in Kalamazoo.