On June 23rd at the Stone Avenue Library in Brownsville, Juvenile Justice Corps Members joined community members and staff from the Center for Court Innovation for a presentation of the Brownsville "Op Data" Community Survey results and to participate in a dialogue. Corps Members had conducted the survey of over 800 residents and merchants in Brownsville back in October and were eager to hear the findings and begin working toward positive solutions.
Community members voiced their reaction and analysis of the survey findings and the light they shed on larger issues in Brownsville. Many topics were brought up, including the concern from community members about "outsiders" coming in to try to help but not doing much, the importance of focusing on schools, and frustration about gang violence and lack of job opportunities. One of the highlights of the evening was hearing from a group of young teens who shared their personal experiences about trying to keep from getting caught up in the violence in the community, especially in the summertime. Since October, Corps Members have continued to serve in Brownsville, helping to launch a Youth Court (a restorative justice model in which teens influence the behavior of other teens through positive peer pressure) and engage community members in the planning of a community justice center for the neighborhood.
Corps Members and others learn the results of the survey that asked more than 800 Brownsville residents and merchants about their perceptions of safety, youth crime and opportunities in their community.