In this Issue:
Action Needed for Youth Today -- Call your Assemblymember this morning to end Juvenile Life Without the Possibility of Parole!
Currently youth in California are sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. This practice is in violation of international human rights law, and carried out by no other country in the world. Moreover, this practice of sentencing youth to die in prison ignores everything we have learned about youth maturation and brain development, including youth's unique capacity to change. The Fair Sentencing for Youth Act, Senate Bill 9 (SB 9) would make a small yet crucial change to this policy by allowing youth who have been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole -- over 300 in California -- an opportunity for resentencing. Passing SB 9 in California would send an important message to the rest of the country that throwing away somebody's life for an act they committed during their youth is bad practice -- morally wrong and financially irresponsible.
SB 9 will be voted on in the Assembly this week, as early as today! A similar bill was just two votes away from passing last year, so every vote is crucial. Please make a call this morning to your California State Assemblymember, urging them to vote ‘YES’ on Senate Bill 9, a policy that is better for California’s children. Click here to take action: http://www.fairsentencingforyouth.org/take-action/. We thank you for your support in reforming juvenile justice and restoring children's rights!
Summer 2011 CDF-CA Freedom Schools
This summer, 13 CDF-CA Freedom Schools® were in operation throughout the state of California. The CDF Freedom Schools program is a six-week summer reading program that provides quality out-of-school enrichment for children that boosts motivation to read, develops positive attitudes toward learning, and cultivates self-esteem. To learn more about the CDF Freedom Schools program, visit http://www.childrensdefense.org/programs-campaigns/freedom-schools/ or contact Saira Soto, CDF-CA Program Director, at email@example.com or (213) 355-8793.
CDF board member Katie McGrath and her husband J.J. Abrams read to students and participated in the Harambee celebration at the Community Coalition Freedom School that they generously sponsored together.
CDF board member Katie McGrath with Congresswoman Karen Bass who also visited the Community Coalition Freedom School.
Mr. Carl Ballton of the Union Bank Foundation, a CDF supporter, reads to the Success in Challenges Freedom School.
Young Adult Leaders Convene at CDF's Haley Farm
In July 2011, new and returning Young Adult Leaders and Beat the Odds® scholarship recipients from California convened with young people from across the nation at CDF’s Haley Farm in Clinton, TN. The conference included opportunities to network with youth from other states and engage in a dialogue about the steps young people can take to dismantle the Cradle to Prison Pipeline©. These motivated young leaders returned to California eager to learn more about advocacy work and are better prepared to utilize their leadership skills to effect change in their schools and communities. As a result, CDF-CA is planning a youth training on August 27, 2011. CDF-CA has invited returning Young Adult Leaders to help educate and train our Beat The Odds students and invite them to be allies in the work we do to end school push-out and to dismantle the school to prison pipeline. This training will help develop a core group of young people who are dedicated to making a positive change in their communities. If you are interested or know a young leader who might be interested in our August training, please contact Joanna Flores, Program Associate-Youth Programs, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (213) 355-8787.
Beat the Odds Students Meet Conan O'Brien
CDF-CA’s Beat The Odds scholarship recipients had the wonderful opportunity to meet Conan O’Brien and his staff, TEAM COCO, on July 29, 2011 at the Warner Brothers Studios. The day started with Conan sharing the struggles and trials that led him to his successful career. Conan encouraged the students to take advantage of their youth and work to make a positive difference in their communities. After the time spent with Conan, the students had the opportunity to tour the set of the Conan show. TEAM COCO also facilitated a panel that consisted of a writer, editor, talent coordinator and intern. Each shared how they worked their way up to their positions and how they contribute to making the Conan show successful. While touring Warner Brothers Studios, the students and CDF-CA staff watched filming of the hit NBC show “Harry’s Law" which stars Academy Award winner Kathy Bates. The students had an opportunity to explore more careers, and gathered near the set to learn about the key components of filming a television show. The students remarked that they were moved by Conan O’Brien’s message, felt welcomed by the TEAM COCO staff, and had a great time touring the studio and learning about opportunities in the entertainment industry.
Summer 2011 Intern Corner
CDF-CA would like to recognize and thank our 2011 Los Angeles office interns for their work on behalf of children in California. These talented students were assigned to campaigns and projects that have helped further the work of CDF-CA in Southern California. Our summer interns include: Michelle Jones, a graduate student at Hampton University; Charles Kennedy, a sophomore at New York University; Mariacorazon Garaniel, a graduate student at the University of Southern California; and 2007 Beat the Odds scholarship recipient LaShanee King, a senior at Columbia University. CDF-CA is grateful for their outstanding contributions to our Los Angeles office and wish each of them a great fall semester!
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