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Invest In Our Children, Invest In our Youth: Ending Youth Criminalization in North Carolina highlights the harms of, and alternatives to, vilifying and incarcerating our young ones. Throughout America’s history, Black, Latine, and Indigenous youth have been traumatized by racial violence and dehumanized by a society that often views their presence as a threat to public safety. These same young people are at constant risk of state-sanctioned violence from discriminatory law enforcement, which criminalizes age-appropriate behaviors and suppresses their freedom of movement.

Disparities for Black, Latine, and Indigenous youth exist at almost every stage of the juvenile criminal legal process in North Carolina, and the disparities are most stark for Black youth. These disparities are not due to higher rates of misbehavior but are driven by intentional policy choices and structural factors.

Our report follows a divest/invest framework, which brings attention to the choices that resource a misguided and racist system as we call for a reinvestment in community-led alternatives that support and nourish youth of color and their communities.

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Felecia Phillips Ollie DD (h.c.) is the inspiring leader and founder of The Equality Network LLC (TEN). With a background in coaching, travel, and a career in news, Felecia brings a unique perspective to promoting diversity and inclusion. Holding a Bachelor's Degree in English/Communications, she is passionate about creating a more inclusive future. From graduating from Mississippi Valley State University to leading initiatives like the Washington State Department of Ecology’s Equal Employment Opportunity Program, Felecia is dedicated to making a positive impact. Join her journey on our blog as she shares insights and leads the charge for equity through The Equality Network.

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