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Defeat Anti-Youth Initiative

by Manuel Morales |
October 1, 1999

 Los Angeles, CA - Former Republican governor of California, Pete Wilson is personally sponsoring another oppressive and discriminatory ballot initiative. On March 7, 2000, Californians will vote on the Juvenile Crime Initiative that if approved will allow for the prosecution of teenagers, as young as 14 years old, in the adult court system rather than the juvenile system.

Similar to previous ballot initiatives that eliminated bilingual education and affirmative action, this proposed law will harm people of color and the working class the hardest.

National statistics show a 20.8 percent decrease in juvenile crime offenses in the last decade. Education, not incarceration is a more effective way of reducing the teenage crime rate. Prevention programs have lowered arrest rates by 70 percent when applied with incentives, and the proper parental training programs.

As in the previous cases, the law will affect people of color more than white youth. People of color are detained at a higher rate, they receive stricter sentences, and are more likely to be incarcerated in adult prisons.

While youth of color only make up one third of the national population, according to national statistics, they make up two thirds of the youth in public detention centers. This is another example of the intensification of national oppression against people of color like Blacks and Chicanos.

Some of the more fascist provisions included in the ballot measure allow for the removal of the "confidentiality" rule which restricts access to juvenile records by the public at large, schools and employers for review; the wiretapping of suspected gang members; and the penalizing of individuals for knowing and associating with suspected gang members.

We encourage you to get involved by organizing our community to fight this racist attack against young people in our communities. The New Raza Left with other community and youth groups will be fighting to defeat this attack by educating and organizing various activities, including a November 6th conference in Los Angeles. The focus of the conference will be to defeat this racist anti-youth attack and to help unite and build a movement that will fight for justice and self determination.

We demand jobs, education and justice - not more jails! If you agree then join the New Raza Left. For more information call (323) 266-1408.