Encourage opinionated Black teens to become prosecutors, public defenders, and judges because the sassy children are the ones who are usually the quick-thinkers. You know that child who can debate with you to a point that you can’t deny them or the one that finds flaws in your argument that you can’t qualify? Those children have the potential to see through arguments and find truth and justice.
African Americans are incarcerated in state prisons across the United States at more than five times the rate of whites, and at least ten times the rate in five states.
With the violence against Black bodies including George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, the many more names that have become hashtags, those without cameras, and those that came before social media and the advent of mobile phone cameras, we need to ensure that justice is served.
Opinionated Black teens often debate for fairness and when things are not fair, they will let you know about it. They are the perfect ones to encourage exploration of the judicial system. We need more prosecutors and judges that look like us and who don’t subscribe to white supremacy ideology.
We know the system is not only broken but it was never designed for us. Once slavery ended and Jim Crow began, the incarceration of Black men jumped in numbers compared to white men with the same offenses — not because they did anything more treacherous but because putting Black men in prison became the new system of slavery.
African Americans are incarcerated in state prisons across the United States at more than five times the rate of whites, and at least ten times the rate in five states. Black men were the majority of workers you would see in chain gangs working for free on city roads and projects.
Today, we have privatized prisons paying little to nothing for labor that benefits corporations across the United States and helps to create these companies’ fortunes. Is it possible to fix this system? The best we can do is to make sure that we are represented well in every circuit in the country. We know injustice when we see it because most of us have experienced it first hand and some of us repeatedly.
How can we encourage our sassy, quick-thinking, wonderful opinionated Black teens to pursue a justice career? I’ve outlined some steps below to start. The most important thing is not to push a criminal justice career on them but to encourage them to take a look at it as an option because they are good at it!
Once you know they have an interest then, by all means, nurture that interest with books, visits to places like justice museums, civil rights exhibits, and African American museums. When at African American museums talk about the injustices displayed and what should have happened instead of what did. Ask what could the country have done better? What legally should have happened? The key here is to nurture, nurture, nurture — don’t push.
GIVE YOUR CHILD THE TOOLS
- Make ongoing projects out of the social justice theme.
- Identify the stories of Black civil rights attorneys, judges, public defenders, and prosecutors. Find one person that clicks with your child and follow them on social media. Become fans of this person and know their biography.
- Find that person’s resume and/or experience on LinkedIn.
- Reverse their resume to become stepping stones for your child’s career. It becomes a roadmap for your child to reach their career goals.
- Then make those stepping stones into goals with a timeline and a five-year-plan to actually reach those goals.
- Continue to regularly nurture your child’s goals.
If your child has an interest in justice, they may also be interested in getting involved in politics. Parents lead by example, especially if you work in the criminal justice field. Show your children what a leader looks like and their actions.
Publisher and Early Childhood Specialist
Janice Robinson-Celeste started her journey with a degree in education. She became the early childhood specialist and parent educator for Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and for the Philadelphia Child Guidance Center. This is where she began her formal career of public speaking.
Robinson-Celeste was with African American Women on Tour and has traveled nationally speaking to parents and professionals at various expos and includes Disney as a client. She has been a director of NAEYC accredited childcare centers and a multimedia news journalist covering the education beat.
Later, she founded Successful Black Parenting magazine, obtained her M.B.A., and won awards from Allstate as a Woman of Triumph, alongside Patty LaBelle. She was a journalism professor for Hofstra University in New York, taught multimedia to teens at several high schools, and is a contributing writer for The Huffington Post.
In addition, she won a Sarah Award for her work from Women in Communications, the Benjamin Franklin Technology Award, and an Apex Award for her multimedia talent. She is a best-selling author of several parenting and children’s books. Robinson-Celeste once held the title of Mrs. NJ United States (2015) and is currently the executive producer of Ethnic Animations, as well as the publisher of Successful Black Parenting.