STUDY: Youth Incarceration Rates Have Dropped Dramatically

According to a report by the Anne E. Casey Foundation, youth incarceration rates have dropped by 41% since its peak in 1995.

In 2010 there were 70,792 young people incarcerated, compared to a whopping 107,637 in 1995.

There are a variety of factors that have contributed to this trend. Juvenile crime rates have fallen, long-term sentences for young people aren’t as prevalent, and the economic downturn has forced states and counties to pursue alternatives to incarceration.

Of course for young people of color, the odds are still stacked against them. Black youth are five times as likely as their white peers to be incarcerated; Latino and Native American youth are 2-3 times as likely.

‘This American Life – Harper High School’ Takes Closer Look at Chicago Gun Violence

A recent installment of This American Life takes a closer look at the crisis of gun violence in Chicago’s South and West Sides.

A team of journalists spent five months at Harper High School in Englewood, following the lives of faculty and students immersed in the systemic obstacles that create and perpetuate the violence that is robbing us of our youth.

It’s an incredibly engrossing program that may raise eyebrows for some, or sound tragically familiar for others.

REPORT: Learning Gaps for Black Students Start in 2nd Grade

According to a recent report focused on education in Los Angeles, Black students display significant learning gaps by the 2nd grade, and they only grow larger with age.

Black students are less likely to take college preparatory courses necessary to attend a state university, and miss more school days due to suspensions.

If these trends persist, only 1 in 20 black kindergartners will go on to graduate from a 4-year university.

Rahm Emanuel Announces Five-Year Plan to Invest $50 Million in Youth Programs

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel has announces a five-year plan to invest $50 million in youth-serving programs.

Money to finance the programs will come from wealthy and corporate donors.

Allstate CEO Tom Wilson and Loop Capital Markets Chairman Jim Reynolds will lead fundraising efforts.

From ABC 7 Chicago:

“We have a very bright future. And we’re going to continue to have a bright future. And making it even brighter will be investing in our children,” said Emanuel.

New Report Addresses America’s Unequal Education System; Pushes for Large-Scale Reform

A federal report released by 27 education experts, civil rights leaders, and economists addresses the persistent inequality in America’s education system.

The report addresses longstanding inequities in education; including the availability of good teachers, school funding, and gaps in standardized testing results along racial and socioeconomic lines.

Authored by the Equity and Excellence Commission, the report calls America’s education inequities a “dire” situation.

We All Have Work to Do to End Gun Violence

Last Friday, February 15th, President Obama came to Chicago and addressed the city’s gun violence crisis.  Many across the city and country had called on the President to come to Chicago and give such a speech. As those familiar with the Black Youth Project already know, we lent our voice to that effort by launching a petition asking the President to come to Chicago and give a major speech on gun violence that would provide a comprehensive analysis of the root causes of this epidemic, as well as a plan of action. Incredibly, in about 13 days we were able to secure nearly 50,000 signatures on our petition. 

Mr. President, We are Still Waiting for a Comprehensive Discussion of Gun Violence

Tuesday night President Obama gave his State of the Union Address.  He turned to the topic of gun control at the end of his speech and used that opportunity to make an emotional call for a vote by the Congress on various pieces of legislation meant to strengthen gun control in the United States.


The President also discussed the senseless death of Hadiay Pendleton, the young 15 year old who was killed in a park only one mile from the President’s Chicago home.  Without a doubt the President’s discussion of Hadiya’s life and her tragic and horrific death was incredibly moving. We at the Black Youth Project continue to keep Hadiya’s family and friends in our thoughts and prayers. 


While we mourn Hadiya and all the young people in Chicago who are the victims of gun violence, the Black Youth Project is still waiting for the President to comprehensively address gun violence in the city. In the State of the Union address the President made a plea for his legislative agenda.  We urge the President to go further on Friday during his time in Chicago, and make a substantive speech that addresses the underlying factors that perpetuate violence in Black and Latino communities across the nation. 

What Did You Think of President Obama’s State of the Union Address?

Last night President Obama delivered a State of the Union address that’s being called “bold,” “uncompromising,” and “progressive” by pundits, and a call to “tax more, borrow more and spend more” by the GOP.

He called for government money to create jobs and strengthen the middle class, announced troop withdrawals from Afghanistan within the year, and advocated for immigration reform, gun control, and action to combat climate change.

From the

Jobs and growth dominated Obama’s address. Many elements of his economic blueprint were repacked proposals from his first term that failed to gain traction on Capitol Hill.

President Obama Will Visit Chicago This Friday to Address Gun Violence

A week and a half ago, the Black Youth Project launched a petition asking that President Obama visit Chicago and address the city’s gun violence crisis.

BYP is pleased to report that President Obama will visit Chicago this Friday. 

According to the Sun-Times, his remarks will address a variety of post-State of the Union topics, but will shine a particular spotlight on Chicago’s gun violence crisis. 

SIGN THIS PETITION: President Obama! Make a Speech in Chicago Addressing the Crisis of Gun Violence!


 Click here to sign a petition asking that President Obama make a speech in Chicago addressing the crisis of gun violence in Black and Latino communities!


This speech must layout specific policies on how the current administration and the country will work to save the lives and improve the futures of Black and Latino youth.

We know that President Obama cannot solve the issue of gun violence alone. However, he can call the nation to consciousness about the need for a response to this crisis.