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Session 280: The Criminalization of Black Youth

The Therapy for Black Girls Podcast is a weekly conversation with Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, a licensed Psychologist in Atlanta, Georgia, about all things mental health, personal development, and all the small decisions we can make to become the best possible versions of ourselves.

If you’re joining us in the United States, our local elections are right around the corner. A time to advocate for what we believe in and call for reform in this country, a political right many Black women fought for in the past and continue to fight  for today. For some of us, the ballots will include options to promote criminal justice reform and, more specifically, police reform. The history of police activity within the Black American community is lengthy and muddled with trauma. Yet, one facet of that history that is too often overlooked is the police’s history with Black children.

This week I’m joined by Blume Professor of Law and Director of the Juvenile Justice Clinic and Initiative at Georgetown Law and former Lead Attorney of the Juvenile Unit at the D.C. Public Defender Service, Kristin Henning. We discussed the narrative that exists around fearing Black children, how Black children are criminalized for adolescent behavior, how over-policing impacts mental health and identify formation, and how public health approaches in schools and within our communities can remove the footprint of police in the everyday lives of Black children.

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Where to Find Kristin

Grab a copy of The Rage of Innocence: How America Criminalizes Black Youth

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Executive Producers: Dennison Bradford & Maya Cole Howard

Producers: Fredia Lucas, Ellice Ellis & Cindy Okereke