Vision Behind JBP
How can we expect our communities to be filled with love, peace and happiness when we do not lay the groundwork for future generations to become directly involved in sustaining such concepts? Our country is mired in wars abroad, yet many of us feel we are good people–we do not steal, lie, or kill. However, indirectly, our food, clothes and freedoms may be committing the crimes for us, even though we miss the correlation. Perhaps Dr. Martin Luther king said it best when speaking about the Vietnam War:
“The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit…” -MLK
There are many past movements where lessons can be drawn. One in particular has given inspiration to Justice by the Pen. Please read an excerpt form Grace Lee Bogg’s book, “The Next American Revolution”, which perfectly illustrates how the youth of Birmingham Alabama during the civil rights movement were able to pull off a miracle that the adults found themselves incapable (click here).
We realize many of the issues we are faced with today are bigger than any single person. It will take a community to deconstruct these issues and discover sustainable solutions. For us, it starts with an internal struggle and a deep commitment to empowering the youth, whom often times anxiously await the opportunity to contribute.
Why Justice by the Pen?
“This generation has information, but no context. Butter but no bread. Craving, but no longing.” (Wolitzer, “The Uncoupling”)
Our schools today have put their time and money into producing higher English and math literacy test scores, which is an absolutely necessary investment. Unfortunately, as globalization is becoming a fact of life, social studies, a less frequently tested subject, has been pushed off to the side, resulting in a generation detached from its history and the rest of the world. Simultaneously, parents are relying on schools to give their children a holistic education, but with the fear of breaching separation of church and state, schools rarely include community building and empathy education in the curriculum. What does this system produce? Literate and computationally savvy kids with little practical knowledge of how to think critically or use this education to better the world around them. After school programs are one method communities used to nurture well-rounded youth, and they have been statistically proven to work. However, when people look at the options elementary school children have to choose from, they will find sports programs, academic programs, art programs, and a few lasting music programs, but rarely does one find community service programs. By the time they reach middle school and high school, where social justice initiatives are more likely to be offered, kids have already subconsciously been told that academics and sports are valued more than community service. Training kids to think critically about the world and to serve others for the greater good need to be taught from a very young age so it can be wired into their character. JBP will channel our youth’s feelings and passions into concrete ways to take creative actions working for social equality.