09 Oct Kat’s Korner: Please Support DC Lawyers for Youth!
A few month’s back I had the opportunity to interview Daniel Okonkwo who serves as the executive director of DC Lawyers for Youth. During the show, he spoke passionately about his work and the importance of youth advocacy in the justice system. I had met Daniel earlier at one of the screenings we organized around the Ken Burns’s documentary, The Central Park Five. Since then we have remained in touch and traded stories about our experience in the area of youth support. As a college professor, I interact with students of all ages. The younger set are still trying to figure things out and some have had issues that have ultimately led to run-ins with the law.
Just the other day, one of my students came to my office to talk about his missing textbook. He is a memorable student and hadn’t been in class the previous week. I noticed he had a scratch on his face, and asked him what happened. He proceeded to explain how he and a group of friends had been stopped by the cops, who suspected them of being part of an earlier melee. They were forced to the ground and in an effort to breath, my student scratched his face on the cement when he turned his head. I was pissed! I asked if he told his mother, he said no. In fact, he hadn’t told anyone because, for him, that’s just how it goes. For that young man, being pinned to the ground by the police was a normal occurrence.
And this is why organizations like DCLY exist. It is important that all people are protected, but especially youth who are often at the mercy of adults and unaware of their legal rights. As an advocacy group, DCLY works with communities to support the needs of young people. On Wednesday, October 23rd, you can support DCLY by attending their fall ball. The proceeds go to support their programming and outreach services. If you can’t make the event, you can still support by making a donation and if you have a business, please consider donating product or services to their silent auction. There are too many young people suffering at the hands of a justice system that favors the informed. Let’s support DCLY and help turn the tide. To purchase tickets or make a donation click here. For more information on DCLY, please contact Daniel Okonkwo at www.dcly.org.