Dear Parents, Friends, Supporters, and Youth,
As we approach the end of the year here at FFLIC we are looking back on our struggles and our accomplishments of 2014, as well as our hopes for the New Year. The fight for justice reform is long and there are many setbacks. However, in the words of Martin Luther King Jr, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” We believe that here at FFLIC, as anyone who does social justice work must believe and hope for a better future.
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Special thanks to Katie Frassinelli who wrote this moving song for FFLIC!
Watch her video here!
Family Bill of Rights
FFLIC is pleased to announce that the New Orleans Children & Youth Planning Board has adopted the Family Bill of Rights at the request of FFLIC executive director Gina Womack.
Click here to learn more about what that means for children and families in New Orleans.
Don't miss FFLIC's annual membership meeting on Jan 31st from 10am-4pm. RSVP on Facebook today!
Youth Football Jerseys
FFLIC, along with attorney Rich Schroeder & the Jones & Walker law firm are proud to have sponsored the Hardin/Hunters youth football team. Check out their new jerseys!
Beginninng January 1st, FFLIC has a new address! We're now across the street at 1307 Oretha C. Haley Blvd. Come visit us!
Youth Justice Is Human Justice
by Ernest Johnson, Organizer
Recently, protests against police brutality, and specifically the deaths of Mike Brown and Eric Garner, have swept the nation. These incidents have drawn attention to the devaluation of human life, especially the lives of Black men, by the same institutions that are supposed to protect and serve everyone’s public safety. We have seen protests here in Louisiana focus on the death of Victor White in New Iberia and the shooting of Armand Bennett in New Orleans, which was not publicly disclosed by the police for days. We have also witnessed outrage against the mismanagement of policies such as the Sheriff Department’s ankle monitor program and the police department’s failure to properly report sex crimes. So are we really safe in our communities when we don’t trust the people who are supposed to protect us?
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December Member of the Month: Valerie Branch!
FFLIC is excited to honor Ms. Valerie Branch as our December Member of the Month! Ms. Valerie has been with FFLIC for over 10 years and has worked with us on a variety of issues, from parent advocacy to protecting youth in secure care facilities to combatting the school-to-prison pipeline. She was recently nominated by FFLIC and honored with a Human Development Award from Catholic Charities for Human Development (CCHD). Congratulations, Ms. Valerie!
Click here to continue to read her story.
FFLIC's 50/2017 Campaign: Building a Movement to Stop the School to Prison Pipeline
FFLIC’s 50/2017 Campaign: Building A Movement to Stop the School to Prison Pipeline is in full swing. FFLIC’s 50/2017 Campaign is designed with FFLIC’s core belief that every child, regardless of circumstance, deserves the opportunity to receive a proper education and should not be locked in prison for minor infractions. Education is key to the success of any community. A better and more inclusive educational system, especially if it invests in keeping children OUT of jail, can also result in a stronger economy, a healthier community, and a safer city. FFLIC works daily to provide the critical training needed to increase the knowledge of our parents and families to be able to traverse through systems that continue to keep them oppressed because they are unaware of how everything works. FFLIC believes the people themselves, using their collective power, can build a system based on principles of justice and self-determined democratic participation allowing them the ability to also teach and demand from policymakers what is needed to keep their children in school learning and not on the streets or sitting idle in prison. The campaign has 3 goals: Transformative Leadership Development which is designed to develop more leaders at FFLIC and the community at large; Education Reform to decrease unecessary suspensions, expulsions and school pushouts and lastly Juvenile Justice Reform in order to continue to help parents advocate for ALL children and reduce the number of children who are locked in prison and ensure children are recieveing rehabiliative treatment. Since lauching our campaign in April 2013, we have developed more than 15 new leaders and increased our membership by 50%. As well as we continue to organize and push for PBIS in schools, train parents and other advocacy groups on the Dignity in Schools Model Code suspensions are down tremendously and we have helped more than 50 parents advocate for their children who are behind bars. We have worked with the Dignity in Schools Campaign to release Charter School Accountability Guidelines and will continue to share with folks in Louisiana and work to get those guidelines passed in New Orleans and Louisiana. Click here to read more updates.
The past few months we have been busy speaking around Louisiana as well as around the nation. FFLIC has traveled to Boston, the West Coast, and throughout Louisiana. Most recently, both Gina and Mr Johnson were honored to participate in a recent criminal justice panel at Sci Academy, in which they also helped judge their Senior Project Citizen presentations.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!! CLICK HERE TO WATCH HOLIDAY GREETING. PLEASE CONSIDER DONATING TO FFLIC.
PEOPLE'S DATA CAMPAIGN!!!! Click here to complete survey!!
In Louisiana, children are being suspended, expelled and pushed out of school which has a direct relationship with children ending up in prison. In 2003 Louisiana passed sweeping reform (Act 1225) that closed our Country’s most notorious juvenile prison and set in motion other reforms that if implemented fully and with fidelity would halt the school to prison pipeline. School should provide a safe and nurturing environment for children and out-of-school suspensions and expulsions cut classroom time for those who need it most. During the 2011 – 2012 school year Louisiana doled out over 67,000 out of school suspensions which is a .4% reduction over last year and expelled 300 less students according to the Louisiana Department of Education. While that seems like progress on the surface, on the ground in the trenches we are hearing disturbing trends of children who are being placed on probation. Probation is described as something like “zero tolerance” where, among other things, children can be recommended for expulsion simply for skipping class which clearly violates Positive Behavior Intervention Supports (PBIS) which is a state mandate. PBIS if used correctly is designed to keep children from being suspended or expelled. Another trend we are hearing is that children/families are being forced to withdraw their children or risk facing expulsion on their permanent records. The families we have spoken to are feeling frustrated at an education system that holds their children to a zero tolerance policy while the school system has no accountability.
FFLIC is embarking upon a “People’s Data Campaign” in order to get a more accurate account of how the lack of proper implementation affects our youth, family and communities. The “People’s Data Campaign” is designed to deploy families, youth, and other concerned community to conduct surveys and outreach in communities by door knocking, walking the street, setting up tables at malls and department stores, near school, develop PSA’s and where ever we can find families and youth willing to tell their story. We invite every person and organization to join this opportunity to have your voice heard and your story told. We aim to collect surveys and petitions across Louisiana to tell our legislators to: In Honor of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, “Keep the Dream Alive: End the School to Prison Pipeline” and call for Accountability for Juvenile Justice Reform.
Click here to complete survey!!!