The Gathering for Justice, a social justice organization founded by Harry Belafonte in 2005, is hosting a three-day multimedia, multicultural, solutions-based juvenile justice conference, Growing Up Locked Down, Sept. 24 through 26 at The New School for Drama’s Tishman Auditorium.

Led by Executive Director Carmen Perez, the mission of the Gathering for Justice is to end child incarceration and correct and replace the societal and institutional pillars that promote mass incarceration with viable community solutions. The featured keynote speakers are Belafonte, Cornel West, Khary Lazarre-White, Erica Ford and Tamika D. Mallory.

Special events include an opening-night networking social and film screening, and a closing-night concert. Conference workshop topics are “Juvenile Detention Alternatives & Community Solutions,” “Stop the Violence: A Community Conversation” and “Systems Accountability: Reducing Racial Disparities.”

African-Americans comprise almost 40 percent of youths arrested but are only 16 percent of the youth population age 11 to 18. They are nine times more likely to be sentenced as adults than their white peers.


The New York State Department of Labor reports that the Bronx County unemployment rate has dropped to single digits, down to 9.8 percent. The borough has had a double-digit unemployment rate since January 2009, when it stood at 10.2 percent, peaking at 13.9 in January 2010. One year ago, in August 2013, the borough’s unemployment rate stood at 12.1 percent.

Since Bronx Borough Ruben President Diaz took office in 2009, the Bronx has seen $5.768 billion in total development and the creation of more than 13,000 new units of housing and more than 14,000 new jobs. With the opening of several new retail centers in recent weeks, as well as major projects such as the Kingsbridge National Ice Center and FreshDirect on the horizon, thousands more new jobs are expected in Bronx County.


New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and New York State Education Department Commissioner John B. King Jr. announced this week a joint initiative on student bullying and harassment. As part of the initiative, the Office of the Attorney General and the Education Department issued a survey today to all 700 school districts in New York seeking information on steps and actions the schools have taken to implement core provisions of the Dignity for All Students Act.

The act is New York’s first comprehensive statewide anti-bullying legislation and stands as a powerful tool against discrimination and harassment in public elementary and secondary schools. The results of the survey will be used to identify steps that schools have taken and to model policies and practices being implemented by districts to help ensure that students are provided with safe school environments, free of harassment, bullying and discrimination. The act became law in 2010, with an effective date of 2012 for its major provisions.

In the decade leading up to the bill’s passage, awareness grew nationally about the epidemic nature of bullying within schools. In 2009, more than 7 million U.S. students ages 12 to 18—28 percent—reported being bullied at school. A 2011 survey of New York high school students revealed that nearly 18 percent had been bullied on school property. Before passage of the act, only 1 in 5 students in New York attended a school with a comprehensive anti-bullying and anti-harassment policy.