The Gifford Youth Achievement Center recently participated in the Florida Race Equity Challenge presented by the Florida Youth Justice Commission under the State’s Department of Juvenile Justice. The eight-session, web-based experience provided collaborative groups with the education and tools to identify and tackle issues related to race, equity and inclusion.
Barbara Pearce, GYAC’s Executive Assistant, along with Wydee’a Wilson, Teresa Bishop, Ash Baca, Christopher Seagrist, Maureen Simmons and Daniela Stout and others were part of the Circuit 19 collaborative, with whom received the Scalability Award for proposing an idea that could be easily replicated to reshape policies, practices and programs statewide. The Circuit 19 race equity team focused on the arrest rate and zeroed in on the civil citation utilization. Together, they sought to answer the question, “why is youth of color not being offered civil citation for certain eligible misdemeanor offenses?”
After researching the issue, “the team committed to creating a training video for civil citation that will be used for law enforcement agencies across their circuit so current and new officers can better understand the importance of civil citation and learn how to issue the civil citation in a more efficient manner,” stated Minnie Bishop, Statewide Justice Reform Coordinator, during the group’s virtual award ceremony. “Circuit 19 collaborative has committed themselves to ensuring an increase in civil citations across their circuit, reducing the disproportionality in misdemeanor arrests and creating partnerships that will create more equitable practices throughout their circuit.”
The purpose of the Florida Race Equity Challenge is to educate Florida stakeholders in understanding the issues which affects race equity and develop the tools and strategies that will allow each circuit to make a positive impact in their communities.
“The Gifford Youth Achievement Center was honored to be part of the Commission’s Florida Race Equity Challenge. Lessons learned and relationships developed through the sessions better prepare the Center to serve the needs of the community and families we serve,” remarked Pearce about her involvement in the Florida Race Equity Challenge.
For more information about GYAC and the Center’s afterschool and adult and senior programs, visit www.gyac.net.
Gifford Youth Achievement Center, a 501(c)(3), opened its doors in 1998 with the sole purpose of enhancing the academic performance of children in Indian River County. The nonprofit organization, governed by a volunteer board of directors, focuses on vulnerable students who live in the Gifford community and surrounding municipalities of Indian River County. In addition to year-round educational programs and activities for youth, GYAC provides activities for adults and seniors citizens, such as exercise classes, bible study and educational training. The Center also hosts job fairs, health clinics, community gatherings and serves as an information hub for those in need of services.