Appalshop’s Thousand Kites, a multi-media criminal justice dialogue project, in collaboration with Alternate ROOTS, a series of community residency programs, will work together to break a link in the predictable chain of events ending with youth tragically streamlined from schools into jails and prisons. This project will empower youth to speak about the issues affecting them by providing safe and accessible venues where they can share their problems and successes with other youth in similar circumstances. Through respectful public dialogues, tension will be reduced and a redefinition of community safety, focused on real problems and solutions, can emerge.
Decriminalizing Our Youth will unite the ROOTS and Thousand Kites methodologies, best practices, human capital, and technological assets to mount a community-based campaign to decriminalize youth as a necessary step in the process of racial healing. In Jackson, Mississippi; Richmond, Virginia; and Atlanta, Georgia - the project will include community-based workshops, arts-based experiential learning for youth, families, and communities; and the strategic use of community radio and new media.