The RCN partnered with local grassroots organizations to offer focus groups and dialogue meetings with youth, families, and interested community members to discuss needs, concerns, and experiences related to youth and crime. The meetings sought community perceptions about the judicial process. Shared experiences included:
- A mother stated that her son felt shunned by the community after he was arrested as a youth. She explained that her moral support for him after his arrest was not enough to help him reach his full potential. She felt that the unjust seclusion of the individuals with the criminal background is damaging to both the individual and the health of the community.
- Undocumented citizens at the meetings expressed feelings of distrust toward legal professionals based on previous experiences where their family members were deceived by legal professionals or people posing as lawyers.
- Meeting participants expressed feelings of discrimination against their family members and themselves based on their race and socioeconomic background. Some meeting participants explained that their socioeconomic status impeded their children’s educational opportunities.
- A father stated that he felt he and his family are seen as ‘germs’ in society because of lack of education and social status. He shared that there is a sense of discrimination within the Latino community by documented Latinos toward undocumented Latinos. Because of this, he feels he has nowhere to turn for support.
- Meeting participants repeatedly stated that in order to raise healthy kids, education begins at home and with parent involvement. However, the dilemma they face is working multiple low wage jobs to support their family causes them to be away from home. Type your paragraph here.