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Apr 15, 2014 A few years ago, I met a young girl, “Denise,” who told me that her uncle had repeatedly raped her since she was eight. To stop the endless abuse, Denise said, she deliberately got pregnant by another man. Her plan worked. The uncle did stop raping her, but by that time, she was a mother at 15. Sadly, I did not meet Denise at a support group for incest survivors or a special high school program for teen mothers. I met Denise in a Delaware detention center...
Apr 11, 2014 Analysis of new data from the United States Department of Education Office for Civil Rights—collected from each of the nation’s 97,000 public schools—paints a troubling picture of unequal access to preschool, disparate teacher pay and quality, and students unprepared for college and a career. For...
Apr 9, 2014 On Tuesday night, Vera held its eight annual benefit, Our Youth – Our Future, and honored Bryan Stevenson and David Fein for their significant contributions to improving our justice systems. Following opening remarks by Vera Board Chairman John Savarese, Vera President Nick Turner asked the audience to imagine what the room would look like if a third of its occupants were absent. If current incarceration rates continue, he said, that is the future in...
Apr 4, 2014 When friends and family who work in different fields ask me to describe Vera’s work in youth justice, they are inevitably perplexed when I first mention our status offense reform efforts. “Status offenses? Never heard of them.” But if I go on to describe what falls under that heading, the conversation gets interesting. People are shocked to learn how frequently children are locked in secure detention facilities for skipping school, running away, or...

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Mar 14, 2014 Last month, President Obama introduced a new initiative, “My Brother’s Keeper,” which brings together government, business, philanthropy, the faith community, nonprofits, and others to work together to create more pathways to success for young men of color. The President spoke of current racial disparities and their historical roots, saying, “The plain fact is, there are some Americans who in the aggregate are consistently doing worse in our society....
Mar 6, 2014 Last week, in a joyous yet sobering White House East Room meeting, President Obama announced a long awaited initiative—My Brother’s Keeper—intended to improve opportunities and life outcomes for young African American  men and, by extension, our communities. He was flanked by some of these young men who would benefit and a cast of philanthropic leaders.   As someone who has dedicated the entirety of his professional career to improving the fate of young...

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