We are excited to share this powerful and moving TEDx Northwestern U talk by Xavier McElrath-Bey, who went to prison at 13 after he was involved in a gang-related murder. He joins the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth next week as our youth justice advocate.
In “No Child is Born Bad,” Xavier discusses the violence and poverty he experienced as a child and how that led him to seek family connections in a gang. He also talks about his arrest and incarceration, what led him to change and the need to reform laws that impose adult sentences upon children.
At the CFSY, Xavier will serve as a resource to formerly incarcerated youth and will support the Campaign’s public education and advocacy efforts.
Xavier, a restorative justice practitioner, most recently worked in clinical research at Northwestern University, where he conducted more than 800 clinical field interviews with individuals participating in a longitudinal study of the mental health needs, service utilization and outcomes of formerly incarcerated youth. He previously worked in Chicago for Alternatives Inc. as the juvenile justice diversion program coordinator, as a Catholic Charities street intervention specialist with children in the Back of the Yards neighborhood where he grew up, and as a cease-fire outreach worker.
Xavier holds an undergraduate degree in social science and a Master of Arts in human services, both from Roosevelt University.
View “No Child is Born Bad”
For more information about about efforts to end the practice of sentencing children to die in prison, please visit fairsentencingofyouth.org. Join us on FaceBook and follow us on Twitter at thecfsy.
The Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth is a national coalition and clearinghouse that coordinates, develops and supports efforts to implement just alternatives to the extreme sentencing of America’s youth, with a focus on abolishing life without parole sentences for all youth.
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