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NJJN Forum 2023

NJJN Forum

NJJN Forum 2023
July 24th - July 26th
Justice is Healing: Community for Collective Well-Being & Liberation

Annually, NJJN convenes youth justice advocates nationwide to create deeper connections and strategies for changing how the legal system treats young people. Join us for this year's Forum as we return to in-person community to recharge, network, and gain a renewed outlook on youth justice advocacy! 

(NJJN Member organizations, YJLI Alumni and National Partners)

Forum 2023: Justice is Healing: Community for Collective Liberation & Well-Being

Date: July 24th - 26th 
Location: Four Points by Sheraton Los Angeles, 5990 Green Valley Circle, Culver City, CA 90230

Registration Fee: $50
A registration fee of $50 is payable during registration. NJJN does not wish the registration fee to prohibit anyone from attending Forum. There is no registration fee required for youth participants. Please contact Tracey Tucker at tucker@njjn.org to request a registration scholarship if necessary. 

Book Your Hotel: Four Points by Sheraton Los Angeles, 5990 Green Valley Circle, Culver City, CA 90230. Reserve your room today by calling 1-888-236-2427 with the Group Name: National Juvenile Justice Network. The special rate is $202 a night and includes breakfast.

Subject to Changes.
Pre-Forum - YJLI Reunion: July 22-23
Option to register for YJLI Reunion appears when you click "YJLI Member" under general registration.

Monday, July 24th

9:30 a.m. - 9:45 a.m.: Welcome and Kickoff of Forum
Join us for a site visit to Chuco's Justice Center to witness how Youth Justice Coalition has reimagined a former courthouse. Chuco's Justice Center now serves as a youth and community space, resource center and gathering place for organizers, artists, educators and organizations building a social justice movement in Los Angeles.

9:45 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.: What is Healing Justice? 

  • Dr. Tierra T. Ellis, Licensed Clinical, School Psychologist, and Community Psychologist; Founder/Executive Director of Psyches of Color, Inc.; CEO of Ellis Psychological Services, Inc.; Co-owner of Authentically Black Services, LLC; Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
  • Dr. Maria León, Manager of Advocacy and Strategic Communications, Youth Justice Initiatives Team, Columbia Justice Lab 
10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.: Visioning Liberated Communities
Facilitated by NJJN YJLI Alum Amore Alvarenga, Senior Program Associate for Impact Justice. Amore will guide participants through a collaborative and creative activity that will give us the opportunity to individually and then collectively imagine the future that our youth justice work is building towards.

11:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.: Break

11:45 a.m. - 1:15 p.m.: Awards Luncheon and Speaker
Guest Speaker: Ashley Sawyer, Senior Attorney, Advancement Project National Office

1:15 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.: Break

1:30 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.: Creative Storytelling as a Transformative Practice
Facilitated by Arts for Healing and Justice Network. The law is too often utilized to tell the parts of a story that have the consequence of justifying systemic harms and outcomes of shame, punishment and isolation. Art, on the other hand, is a powerful tool that allows young people to take agency of their true story and to present complicated narratives in creative ways. When we really hear, see and feel a person, and learn about their identities, gifts, struggles, vision, etc., we are practicing Transformative Justice and we are creating collective safety as a powerful alternative to mass criminalization and incarceration.

2:45 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.: Break

3:00 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.: Mapping NJJN’s Youth Justice Narrative Strategy
Facilitated by Courtney M. McSwain, Communications Director, NJJN. In the spring of 2023, NJJN began a narrative mapping process with members, partners and youth advocates to create a collective narrative strategy for our movement. During this session, we will present the major narrative themes identified during the narrative mapping process and offer a final opportunity for members and partners to offer feedback on NJJN’s narrative strategy. Then we will create mock narrative campaigns, based on the narrative themes presented, to begin imagining the journey from narrative mapping to implementation. The narrative themes and mock campaigns will be a part of NJJN’s final youth justice narrative strategy and toolkit, to be presented this fall.

4:15 - 4:30 General Afternoon Close

4:30 - 5:30: Additional concurrent sessions for youth participants and funders 

  • Youth Focus Groups. NJJN’s Policy Platform this year is focused on investing in serving youth in the community rather than incarcerating youth. In order to ground the platform in youth experience and expertise, we gather a diverse group of youth to engage in focus groups on the issue to inform our recommendations. Please join us and share your thoughts!
  • Funder’s Roundtable. Funder session to learn more about the National Juvenile Justice Network, hear from NJJN members and current funders about the importance of investing in youth justice reform

5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.: Reception

Tuesday, July 25th

9:30 a.m. - 9:45 a.m.: Welcome

9:45 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. Overview of the Campaign to Raise the Minimum Age
Facilitated by Melissa C. Goemann, Senior Policy Counsel, NJJN. In 2018, California and Massachusetts established a minimum age of 12 years old for youth prosecution. Join us for a discussion of the research supporting setting a high minimum age, how advocates were able to successfully pass these bills, implementing the new standards, and what the current landscape looks like.

  • Laura Abrams, Professor of Social Welfare and Department Chair, Luskin School of Public Affairs, University of California Los Angeles
  • Patricia Soung, Juvenile Justice Consultant
  • Leon Smith, Executive Director, Citizens for Juvenile Justice

10:45 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Break

11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Embracing Community-Based Approaches
Facilitated by Reese Artero, NJJN Policy Intern. Gain valuable insights into the effectiveness of community-based alternatives in the realm of youth justice. Attend our panel discussion to learn how these alternatives can reshape the future for our youth.


  • Dustina Gill, Nis’to Incorporated
  • Luis Klein, Juvenile Justice Initiative

12:00 p.m.: Box Lunch and Depart for Youth Rally

1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.: Youth Rally and Resource Fair
#FreeLAYouth: We need your support and solidarity Tuesday July 25, 2023 at the LA County Board of Supervisors for a youth- led action and the re-creation of a Youth Center on the steps of Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration demanding County officials to release young people from horrific conditions under probation custody & defund probation to invest in Youth! This is not a drill. We continue to lift up the name of  Bryan Diaz, an 18 year old who lost his life inside the Barry J Nidorf juvenile hall this spring.

4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.: Visit Chuco’s Justice Center and return to the hotel
Join us for a site visit to Chuco's Justice Center to witness how Youth Justice Coalition has reimagined a former courthouse. Chuco's Justice Center now serves as a youth and community space, resource center and gathering place for organizers, artists, educators and organizations building a social justice movement in Los Angeles.

Wednesday, July 26th

9:30 a.m. - 9:45 a.m: Welcome

9:45 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.: Film Screening - A Million Dollar Cage
Featuring Kent Mendoza, Anti-Recidivism Coalition, and panelists, in partnership with Represent Justice.

11:00 - 11:15 Break

11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.: Changing the Landscape of Youth Justice in California
California advocates discussing lessons learned and challenges from closing the Department of Juvenile Justice and how we can prepare communities to serve youth and families. 

12:15 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.: Lunch and Breakouts

1:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.: Forum Closing Session

For more questions, email info@njjn.org.