We send you frequent updates on the progress of our Juvenile Justice Project’s efforts to better prepare young people across our community to protect their constitutional rights as they navigate and deescalate encounters with law enforcement, through our unique Know Your Rights Theatre workshops.
So, you may already know that we created these workshops to accompany our comprehensive Know Your Rights Guide that we published and began distributing in 2015, amidst Mid-South Peace & Justice Center’s campaign to strengthen Memphis’ Civilian Law Enforcement Review Board (CLERB) and a national climate of outrage over frequent officer involved deaths of people of color.
After a torrent of requests for our staff to come and talk with young people about their rights, we developed a curriculum that uses interactive theatre to draw upon and center the experiences of participants as a basis for learning. Over the past three years, we’ve facilitated these workshops with over 3000 young people at schools, churches, community centers, libraries, and youth conferences across the City of Memphis. Early on in the project, we began conducting surveys with participants following the workshops to gather feedback and input and gauge the workshops’ effectiveness.
We’ve been crunching those numbers, and they look good!
Out of 2,938 Total Survey Respondents:
- 98.5% or respondents said they had a better understanding of their rights
- 2,229 or 75.8% Identified as Black/African American
- 66 or 2.25% Identified as White/Caucasian
- 140 or 4.8% identified as Latino or Hispanic
- 105 or 3.7% Identified as Multiracial, Mixed, or Other
- 1,234 or 42% Identified as Male
- 1,333 or 45.4% identified as Female
- 86% Said they enjoyed the workshop
[Map shows locations of KYR Workshops Across Memphis]
Our staff believes that youth are the solution, not the problem, and when we dare to challenge popular misconceptions spread by fear mongering for news ratings, and instead validate and uplift the experiences and voices of our young people, they will be self empowered to lead the conversation on solutions to youth crime and contact with the criminal justice system. Part of that work is continuing to arm and prepare Memphis youth with the knowledge to more safely navigate police encounters while protecting their rights. We know it’s working, and we need your help to continue this effective mission. Make an end of year gift today or become a sustaining member of MSPJC.
For more information on the Juvenile Justice Project or to schedule a Know Your Rights Theatre workshop, contact MSPJC Organizing Director, Paul Garner, firstname.lastname@example.org or (901) 725.4990.