POLICY AND SYSTEMS CHANGE
It All Starts With Girls, Young Women and Gender-Expansive Young People of Color
Justice + Joy's advocacy work is driven by an unwavering dedication to eradicating oppression in all its forms and the barriers that spring from it to create ecosystems of support for girls, young women and gender-expansive young people of color.
Our society has deeply embedded injustices, perpetuated implicitly and explicitly by social ideologies and systems designed to marginalize, traumatize, punish, and stigmatize.
Transformational change is personal, it is political and it is complex, and it all starts with girls, young women and gender-expansive young people of color. All of our advocacy is led and informed by their expertise and grounded in data, both quantitative and qualitative. We use our collective power to address policy and systemic issues in order to achieve short and long term transformative change. Working across channels and fields — breaking down silos, and embracing the fact that people do not live single issue lives.
For too long, social ideologies and systems have perpetuated deeply embedded injustices that have marginalized, traumatized, punished, and stigmatized cis and trans girls, women, and gender-expansive young people while disproportionately harming those of color. All forms of oppression — individual, social and systemic — and the false narratives that underlie them, must be disrupted and dismantled in order to build ecosystems of support envisioned by those most impacted.
Justice + Joy acknowledges the difficulty in revamping siloed systems, misguided short-term strategies, and systemic and implicit bias. In response, our advocacy takes a root cause approach to radically reimagining biased and broken policies, services, and programs into an interconnected, just ecosystem of healing and opportunity envisioned by girls, young women and gender-expansive young people of color.
These core practices are central to all of our advocacy efforts:
Following the leadership of cis and trans girls and gender-expansive young people most impacted by social, economic, and political injustice, including the resulting biased and broken systems — because the truth about the context of their lives and wisdom must always guide us.
Collaborating with a wide array of cross cutting partners to build collective power to break down existing silos using an intersectional and intergenerational approach because we do not experience single identity or single issue lives.
See summary list >>.
Telling our own story, using both quantitative and qualitative research, to fill data gaps about girls, young women and gender-expansive young people of color to create affirming narratives as the basis for policy, system, and social change because we will no longer be invisible.
Collaborative Research & Innovative Thought >>
Prioritizing and strengthening connections at the local, county, and state levels and with tribal nations to ensure that a variety of perspectives are elevated in national efforts because we know that problems and innovative solutions happen at home in communities across the country.
Crittenton Family of Agencies >>
Our Work On the Hill
Justice + Joy has deep experience in hosting and co-hosting Hill briefings on a range of topics and specific populations. Additionally, we organize and participate in round tables with and for federal agencies on a broad range of issues, and provide advice and support to Congressional offices and committees on content and speakers as needed. Since 2010 we have worked to ensure that cis and trans young women, and gender-expansive young people are included at the table as experts.
Annually we propose, comment, and advocate with and for girls, young women and gender-expansive young people of color on legislative concepts and bills, as well as endorsing Federal legislation.
Additionally, we review and provide feedback on the development and implementation of Federal regulations on a broad range of issues related to justice for girls, gender-expansive young people, and their families. Finally, each year we join Amicus Briefs and sign-on letters on a wide range of issues with our partners and allies. As of 2022 Justice + Joy has done so more than 65 times.
Providing Support to States
We know that policy and system change is difficult and that the implementation of federal regulations and programs at the local and state levels is a very complicated and political process. Because of this reality, Justice + Joy provides capacity building and technical assistance support to city, county, and state jurisdictions and private advocates. This work is funded through federal contracts, private foundations, and county and state agencies. This includes analyzing data, creating a plan for change, and sharing innovative approaches to providing a robust continuum of prevention and intervention services and support that meets girls, young women and gender-expansive young people of color unique needs in and across systems such as juvenile justice and child welfare.
All of our technical assistance work includes engaging cis and trans girls, gender-expansive young people, and their families, when possible, as leaders and active partners with jurisdictions.
IMPACT is a national advocacy and support network being formed and led by a steering committee of young mamas from across the country.
11 YOUNG MAMAS
3 TRIBAL NATIONS
CRITTENTON FAMILY OF AGENCIES
Connected through shared history, agencies are independent nonprofit organizations ranging in size and services based on the needs of their local communities.
30 STATES & THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
NATIONAL GIRLS INITIATIVE (NGI)
NGI provided technical assistance and training (TTA) to jurisdictions and advocates on how to catalyze efforts to transform the justice system to better support girls impacted by it.
24 STATES RECEIVED TTA
11 INNOVATION AWARDS in
10 STATES & THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act of 2014 successfully advocated for the addition of the unprecedented requirement for states to report the numbers of expectant and parenting youth in foster care.