Just Kids’ Core Alliance of Youth Leaders (CAYL) was awarded the John P. Sarbanes Courage Award for 2012. The award was presented to CAYL for their “courage as advocates for youth who are charged as adults, their efforts to stop the proposed youth jail,” and for “inspiring us with their courage in the face of injustice.”
CAYL is the youth leadership group of the Just Kids Partnership. CAYL consists of five youth leaders; Jabriera Handy, Kevin Junior, Christian Bailey, Kevin Reverley, and Jaelynn Travis, and is led by Rashad Hawkins.
CAYL leads youth organizing activities, assists with overall community organizing, attends meetings with legislators and other policymakers, and presents testimonies about their experiences at community meetings, legislative hearings, and other events. CAYL were active leaders and organizers in the Alliance to Stop the Youth Jail in Baltimore, a campaign which stopped the unnecessary building of a jail that would have housed youth charged as adults.
CAYL members also serve as the youth representatives on the Just Kids Steering Committee, an advisory committee that meets monthly and helps to guide the activities of the Just Kids staff. Their work is instrumental in spreading the word about the negative effects of automatically prosecuting youth as adults on youth and communities. They dispel misconceptions about youth who are swept into the adult system, and build public opinion in support of the Just Kids campaign and juvenile justice reform.
CAYL members are courageous leaders who work tirelessly to change the lives of youth who come in to contact with the criminal justice system. They bring the energy and real life experiences to the campaign. The Just Kids Partnership is very proud of the youth’s many accomplishments.