On Friday, June 24, representatives and community members involved in local efforts to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline gathered together for an open house in the spirit of solidarity and to celebrate Best Starts for Kids’ Stopping the School-to-Prison Pipeline strategy awardees. The gathering illustrated a small piece of the both local and national momentum around dismantling inequitable and unjust systems, and honored the hard work and sacrifices of community members and providers who have been in the movement to end the school-to-prison pipeline for over 30 years.
Attendees included Best Starts for Kids community provider awardees, community members, parents and families, and youth. The event included time for attendees to connect personally and cultivate a stronger network of local efforts to generate collective action. Some attendees commented that it was the first time they had seen King County host an event and lead a strategy that overwhelmingly reflects the ethnic backgrounds of those most impacted by the school-to-prison pipeline.
Here’s what attendees had to say about the gathering:
This gathering was like taking medicine—you felt the soothing and healing effects immediately. This is something you can only get when the reason for gathering is culturally relevant and in alignment with strategic community principles.” – Will Jimerson Jr, Youth Advocate and Community Activist, United Better Thinking.
We came together for the same reasons why we live out this movement each and every day: because we believe the future of our communities depends on it. We need each other to succeed. We came together because we seek to dismantle and replace beliefs, policies, and practices that push our youth and young adults into prisons, homelessness, or cemeteries. We have so much further to go, and we are encouraged and filled with deep gratitude to those who choose to come together to forge a better ‘now’ for our kids.” – Zac Davis, Best Starts for Kids Stopping the School-to-Prison Pipeline Program Manager
As a King County resident, I know there are many fellow residents and organizations who are hard at work, building and developing our young people, families and communities. As a King County employee and part of Executive Constantine’s team, it was gratifying and energizing to see the camaraderie, sincerity, and commitment represented at this event. There was a palpable spirit of ‘we’re doing this together’ in the room – a room full of people who are dedicated, in the spirit of the Frederick Douglass quote, to building strong children rather than fixing broken men and women.” – Rhonda Berry, Deputy County Executive
Thank you to all of those who were able to join us for the Stopping the School-to-Prison Pipeline Program Open House! A special thanks to Creative Justice and 4Culture, Community Passageways, Urban League, King County Employment and Education Resources, and King County’s Executive Office for helping create a welcoming and encouraging space.