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ERIC Number: EJ1068853
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Toward a Movement: Uniting Organizers and Direct Service Providers in a Movement for Juvenile Justice Reform
Austria, Ruben S.
Afterschool Matters, n5 p30-40 Spr 2006
This article highlights the importance for the youth justice movement to come to terms with a critical reality: The struggle for justice on a societal level cannot be separated from the work of nurturing, healing, and developing young people. Ruben S. Austria, Juvenile Justice Coalition steering committee member and founding director of BronxConnect, a faith- and community-based alternative-to-incarceration program for Bronx youth, describes some of the tensions between direct service providers and community organizers in New York City's juvenile justice movement and explores how working together to build a movement forces one to overcome the dichotomy between individual development and systemic change. Austria begins by describing how as a court-mandated alternative-to-incarceration program, sought to hold young people accountable for their actions, to diagnose and treat mental health disorders, and to provide educational support so adjudicated youth could develop skills and basic competencies. Yet, it was not long before the work of BronxConnect became intertwined with local and national movements to change juvenile justice policies and practices that unjustly affect poor youth of color. She goes on to define terms such as "direct services" and "organizing" that she uses throughout the article to contrast the individual approach with the systemic approach. This is followed by a discussion on "youth organizing" defined by LISTEN, Inc. (2003) as "a youth development and social justice strategy that trains young people in community organizing and advocacy, and assists them in employing these skills to alter power relations and create meaningful institutional change in their communities" (p. 9). The remainder of the article presents a discussion on the tensions in the youth justice movement and how direct service providers and organizers must work together to effect change.
Descriptors: After School Programs, Juvenile Justice, Educational Change, Social Change, Advocacy, Service Learning, Accountability, Delinquent Rehabilitation, Individual Development, Community Programs, Public Policy, Compliance (Legal), Youth Programs, Minority Groups, Community Cooperation
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A