The Community Justice Network for Youth (CJNY) is a program of the W. Haywood Burns Institute. This program is comprised of community-based programs, grassroots organizations, service-providing agencies, residential facilities and advocacy groups that focus their work on youth of color. The CJNY's primary function is to be a support network for organizers and practitioners who are on the ground working with youth who are at risk or already involved in juvenile justice systems.
The idea for CJNY was conceived in the late nineties, amid a flurry of activity around policies and initiatives regarding youth in trouble with the law. At that time, people most impacted by the decision of public officials and foundations were often left out of the conversation. In order to address this deficiency, James Bell of the Haywood Burns Institute and Bart Lubow of the Annie E. Casey Foundation invited seven community-based programs that represented a cross-section of communities of color, and specialized in delivering exemplary services to youth in their communities, to the Alex Haley Farm retreat to share ideas about best practices and determine the feasibility of an national network.
There, it was determined that many other organizations across the country were facing similar situations and that the initial group should explore forming a network. Such a network would be a national force of grass-roots organizations that serve young people of color, and serve as a place for organizations within the network to support one another. Such organizations were approached and invited to a national organizing meeting to launch the effort, in November 2000 in Austin, Texas. The host organization was one of the original programs, the Southwest Key Program, and the more than 100 people in attendance represented approximately 40 organizations, youth leadership and cultural artistry. Here, the Community Justice Network for Youth was born.
CJNY's full-time staff are Malachi Larrabee-Garza, Katina Castillo, Tracy Benson and Roselyn Berry. Together they lead this innovative organizing endeavor.
The Advisory Council is a national body that advises the CJNY regarding the direction, development and implementation of its functions. The Advisory Council is lead by two co-chairs who coordinate and facilitate Advisory Council meetings. They are also responsible for maintaining funding relationships and strategically seeking new funding opportunities.
The Advisory Council is selected to maximize diversity and reflect our network. Membership is determined by age, size of program, gender, ethnicity and geography. It includes some of the founding members of CJNY. Their continued involvement ensures continuity throughout the entire effort.
The CJNY national office is responsible for raising funds to facilitate all CJNY state, regional and national gatherings, including travel, lodging and food for all member groups. Current Structure: Two co-chairs, 15 to 18 members, one annual Advisory Council meeting.
Meet Our Council Members...