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Congratulations to the 2019 YJLI Cohort

June 29, 2020
NJJN



Dear 2019 YJLI Cohort,
 

Congratulations on completing the 2019-2020 Youth Justice Leadership Institute program! 

We know this cohort year was particularly challenging. You weathered a leadership transition as NJJN said goodbye to Diana Onley-Campbell and Sarah Bryer, and welcomed two new faces - our fellow YJLI alum Tracey Tucker as the program’s new coordinator and myself as the new executive director. Any transition is difficult, but your cohort also got hit with the impact of COVID-19, which hindered our ability to hold the important in-person annual retreat at the historic Highlander Research and Education Center in Tennessee, a highlight for each class of fellows. And if that wasn’t enough, we are all experiencing the pain and heightened sense of urgency around racial justice given the national protest movement taking place in our country right now. 

To say that you’ve had to endure a lot would be an understatement. Still, you persevered and made it to the finish line! We thank you for your tenacity and commitment! 

YJLI was founded specifically to elevate advocates of color so that the leaders of the movement for youth justice transformation reflect the communities most impacted by the system. It is clear today why such a program is necessary. As the nation finally begins to wake up to the white supremacy embedded in our policing and justice systems, voices of color must be centered in the conversation, and we are proud that graduates from YJLI are taking their rightful place as leaders in this fight. 

Thank you 2019 YJLI cohort for making us better advocates and a better network for true youth justice. Welcome to the NJJN Community! 

 
K. Ricky Watson, Jr. 
NJJN Executive Director and YJLI Cohort ‘16 

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