By Kathleen KelleyJPI Intern
Maybe it was the location or my personal perspective being a first timer on the Hill, but Rep. Tony Cardenas opening remarks for the Building Safe and Strong Communities: A Conversation about Community-Based Alternatives for Juvenile Justice-Involved Youth Congressional Briefing really resonated with me. His words were powerful and passionate.
He was addressing the gathering of policy makers, advocates, lawyers, and other juvenilejustice related professionals that filled the seats, but yet Rep. Cardenas was also reaching out to the whole Hill, the others beyond the room. He asked just how committed are we? Are we as committed as Martin Luther King Jr. who marched on Washington with thousands of committed individuals? He expressed the dire need for truly committed individuals to express their commitment strongly with the issue of the incarceration of juveniles and the overrepresentation of minority youth, especially African-American youth.
Rep. Cardenas makes an excellent point, but as I enter the public policy sector of criminal justice and especially of public policy, I see the march being made. The current group of extremely passionate and driven individuals making that march is very much present and devoted. Good examples are the very panelists that were introduced by Rep.Cardenas.