Home News Center Jorren Biggs Shares Why Young Leaders Are Important to Youth Justice Advocacy

Jorren Biggs Shares Why Young Leaders Are Important to Youth Justice Advocacy

April 26, 2019
Anna Yankson

How did you get into youth reform work?

I first got introduced to youth reform, in elementary school. I noticed students were treated differently based on the color of their skin. Black and brown students were treated in negative ways compared to white students for some of the same things. For me, this sparked an interest in fighting for the equal treatment of black and brown students and others who were treated unfairly within school and other systems. 


Tell me about your work with the Youth Justice Project. 

What drew me to the Youth Justice Project is its willingness to include and support young leaders who are passionate about youth justice reform. I think it is important for organizations to work alongside young people to achieve these goals, and Youth Justice Project is a perfect example of that. I want to highlight Kristen Powers, Peggy and Ricky who were a huge part of our successful win to pass a “Raise the Age” bill in  North Carolina in 2017. They also work closely with me and the other members of the Youth Justice Project steering committee.  


Tell me about your work with NJJN. 

Working with NJJN has helped me grow as a young advocate and connect with other young people who are also involved in this work. I appreciate that NJJN is supporting young leaders and involving us in things like the annual forum planning committee by allowing us to provide input on the forum agenda. I think making the annual forum more appealing to youth is important, since many of us are involved in youth justice advocacy. Also, working on the Membership Advisory Council (MAC) alongside adult allies at NJJN allows me to bring a youth perspective and help other members to understand what issues young people are facing and how NJJN can provide better support. 


What is one motivational piece of advice that you would share with another young person interested in this work? 

Youth justice reform can be a slow process and you shouldn’t be put off by slow wins or losses. It is important to always remember why you got into this line of work and that patience is key. Also, surrounding yourself with great support and practicing self-care is important because of how intense this work can get. 

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