Critical Conversations in Challenging Times

Susan Vivian Mangold,
"Critical Conversations in Challenging Times" "Juvenile Law Center Turns 45"

Amidst the COVID pandemic, the racial justice reckoning in our hearts and in our streets, and the increasingly toxic rhetoric of the 2020 elections, many of us are looking for ways we can step out of our usual routine, make connections despite our COVID precautions, and perhaps learn something new. Three lunchtime presentations by Juveniles for Justice and Youth Fostering Change conclude October 30, followed by five 45 Minute Lunchtime Conversations to Celebrate our 45th Anniversary beginning November 5th and running through December 10th. These provide an opportunity to spend your lunchtime engaging with us in our work on behalf of youth in the child welfare and justice systems. Join us.

Throughout our work, we elevate the voices of youth who experience the full impact of the child welfare and justice systems in their young lives. We recently released the annual projects of Juveniles for Justice and Youth Fostering Change: Road Map to Reform: Achieving Individualized Supports for Youth in the Justice System and Road Map to Reform: Developing a Trauma Sensitive, Mental Wellness Approach to Supporting Youth and Families in Foster CareThrough three powerful lunchtime presentations, youth advocates are sharing why these topics were chosen, their comprehensive recommendations for change and their personal stories that underscored the urgency for the reforms. In these very challenging times, each of the youth advocates stated that the reason they do this work is so that they can use their own experience to improve the systems for those who follow them. Join us for the third of these presentations on Friday, Oct. 30. Registration is free but required here.

We are launching the commemoration of our 45th anniversary with 45-minute lunchtime conversations on some of the most pressing issues in our work. We will share the time with some of the remarkable colleagues with whom we have worked in partnership, and whose perspectives have strengthened our own work. Throughout the conversations, panelists will discuss structural racism; COVID responses; the role of local, state and federal governments to support families and communities and care for those in crisis. All of these conversations will provide an historical perspective on our work but also look ahead to consider new possibilities for change and improvement in the lives of children and families. Register here for 45th Anniversary Lunchtime Conversations.

Advocates for social justice are grappling with the necessity of reform of the current justice system to address the worse abuses and the disparities that are rampant, and transformation of the justice system to meaningfully attack the structural racism at the foundation. If we articulate an aspirational future for justice and child welfare and work toward that, what about the present reality for children in the systems and harms that are being suffered today? The first 45th Anniversary Lunchtime Conversation on November 5th takes on this question with full recognition of the structural racism at the core of every aspect of the juvenile justice system. Racial Justice, Juvenile Justice Reform and Transformation “In this Moment” will be moderated by Jessica Feierman with James Bell, Frankie Guzman and Kris Henning.

On November 12th, our conversations continue with: Collateral Consequences, Second Chances

moderated by Riya Shah with Marcus Jarvis and Johnny Perez. During the election, especially in Florida, the news was filled with updates on election rights for those who had an adult felony conviction and the added burden of unpaid fines and fees related to those past convictions. This lunchtime conversation l will discuss consequences of justice system involvement for youth in the juvenile justice system and those tried as adults and all the ramifications for housing, education and employment that make it so difficult to transition out of the system and have a second chance for a healthy and successful life.

In subsequent blogs I will discuss the final three conversations: Learning in Lockdown: How COVID-19 Exacerbates the Educational Challenges of the Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare Systems moderated by Nadia Mozaffar with Kristina Moon and Diane Smith Howard on November 19th; Beyond the Death Penalty and Life without Parole: Centering Adolescent Development moderated by Marsha Levick with Tami Benton, MD; Abd’Allah Lateef and Bob Schwartz on Dec. 3; and Children in Families and Communities: Transforming the CW System moderated by Jenny Pokempner with Jennifer Rodriguez and Sixto Cancel on December 10th. I will also reflect on the conversations that have taken place. Follow my blogs and all of our communications at You can also follow us with #JuvLawTurns45.

These are very challenging times but engagement in critical conversations can bring awareness, education and a sense of empowerment. Join us for these lunchtime events and contact me if you want to keep the conversation going:

About the Expert
Susan Vivian Mangold is CEO of Juvenile Law Center and a Professor Emeritus at University at Buffalo School of Law, where she taught for over 20 years and served as Vice Dean for Academics. Mangold was also Chair of the University-wide Strategic Strength in Civic Engagement and Public Policy, and brings her expertise in community-based research to Juvenile Law Center.

More News

In The News
Cluadia Lauer & Samantha Hendrickson, Associated Press •
Blog post
Sue Mangold & Anahi Figueroa-Martinez, The Legal Intelligencer •