Youth Justice Action Month

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Take Part in YJAM this Month

By: Ruma Dewal, CJJ Intern

This October, join us by taking part in Youth Justice Action Month (YJAM).

Youth Justice Awareness Month started in 2008, when Tracy McClard started advocating for the youth justice movement by organizing a 5K race. McClard lost her son in 2007 when he committed suicide while in adult jail. YJAM started in order to raise awareness about the harms that exist within the juvenile justice system. In 2016 Youth Justice Awareness Month was renamed Youth Justice Action Month to highlight the need to take action to improve our youth justice system. 

The theme for YJAM 2022 is “Youth Justice is…” focusing on listening to young people, families, State Advisory Groups, advocates, practitioners, and others to tell us what real youth justice means to them and what they hope to see accomplished. 

To kick off the month, President Joe Biden issued a proclamation on Sept. 30, proclaiming October as National Youth Justice Action Month. 

"By investing more in all children's health and well-being, our youth can build a foundation for full lives and our whole country can benefit from their unlimited potential," President Joe Biden stated in the proclamation. 

What President Biden said reigns true, we must work to protect our youth since they are the future of this country. To help accomplish this goal, consider joining in one of the many events that are scheduled this month to honor Youth Justice Action Month:

  • October 6-9 there will be four virtual events on the topic of “A New Deal for Youth: If Not Us, The Who.” 
  • October 8-16 will focus on dignity in schools and taking action against school pushouts.
  • October 13 is a social media event day to promote police-free schools.
  • October 17 we will hold a conference hosted by the Gault Center to touch on the generation gap of children’s lawyering. 
  • October 18 the New Jersey Youth Initiative will be hosting a discussion on the problem of youth in adult prisons. 
  • October 26 will be a Capitol Hill Forum to find a youth policy solution.
  • October 28 is Rights 4 Girls, Girls’s Justice Day.


All of these events individually target different problems that arise when it comes to the youth justice system. Each event aims to not only raise awareness, but to create a spark in people to take action against the various issues that affect the youth in this nation. By creating these conversations, the youth justice field strives to create meaningful policy change.

 This month, we seek to build a new and better future. To us at CJJ, “Youth justice is…”: 

“Youth Justice is investing in the care and support of communities that have been affected by our judicial system. It is advocating for equality so individuals have the opportunity to reach their fullest potential,” Samantha Bartell, Intern for the Coalition for Juvenile Justice.

“Youth Justice is equal opportunity for all young people to thrive in whatever environment they are placed in. True justice would mean a world in which all young people are able to live successful lives, regardless of their current circumstances,” Ruma Dewal, Intern for the Coalition for Juvenile Justice.

“Youth Justice is becoming the voice of the ‘voiceless.’ Advocating for, protecting, and supporting all youth regardless of their backgrounds and life experiences,” Kaya-Nadine Edmondson-Deigh, Intern for the Coalition for Juvenile Justice.

“Youth Justice is opportunities for all young people to stay in their communities, while receiving the services and support they need to lead successful lives,” Naomi Evans, Executive Director of the Coalition for Juvenile Justice.

“Youth Justice is a world where every young person is given the support, opportunities, tools and love needed to not only survive but thrive among the community,” Ridha Kapoor, Policy and Field Relations Associate for the Coalition for Juvenile Justice.

“Youth Justice is a system that needs to change from ‘just us’ to ‘all of us’ working together towards a world where youth are given true blue opportunities to change and become the people who they want to be versus who they have been conditioned to become. By removing the threat or intimidation of a weaponized system for coming of age experiences, we create equitable opportunity, meaningful connections, and safer communities,” Aide Samatha Moore, Youth Partnership and Training Associate for the Coalition for Juvenile Justice.