U.S. ATTORNEY’S OFFICE SPONSORS INTERACTIVE "YOUTH JUSTICE SUMMIT"
September 13, 2011
ATLANTA, GA – More than 120 students from three high schools in Atlanta today attended the first-ever Youth Justice Summit, where they assisted an Atlanta Police Department murder investigator conduct forensic examinations of crime scenes and learned about the variety of career opportunities in the justice field. The event was sponsored by the United States Attorney’s Office, Atlanta Police Department, and the Atlanta Public Schools, and hosted students from Washington, Therrell, and Grady High Schools.
The Summit, held at Georgia State University’s Dahlberg Hall, included a wide-ranging interactive program designed to explore the justice system, from the initiation of a murder investigation at the crime scene, to a mock motion hearing by law students from the Georgia State University Black Law Students Association with V-103 deejay Greg Street presiding as the judge. Music producer and rap artist Kevin “Khao” Cates delivered a motivational presentation about the importance of setting life goals as well as staying on the right path to reach those goals. Between the “hands-on” demonstrations, speakers included U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates, Interim Atlanta Public Schools Superintendant Erroll Davis, and representatives from Georgia State University and Atlanta Technical College who spoke about educational programs offered by the schools.
United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said of today’s event, “I’m inspired by the enthusiasm that the students showed in learning about the justice system. We hope that this provided an opportunity for the students to get to know law enforcement in a positive environment.”
Atlanta Police Chief George Turner said, “Fighting crime is far more complicated than just making arrests and sending people to jail. To make a real impact, we have to join together with our partners - in this case the U.S. Attorney's Office and Atlanta Public Schools - to help young people make good decisions. Kids need to understand that their actions now have consequences that can last a lifetime."
Lester McKee, Program Administrator for Atlanta Public Schools’ Department of K-12 College and Career Readiness, said, “APS is pleased to partner with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Atlanta Police Department to offer our students a unique opportunity to experience the exciting careers and occupations within the field of law. The Department of K-12 College and Career Readiness considers the Youth Justice Summit a critical component of our programming and we look forward to expanding this opportunity to include more students next year. The summit engaged our students and encouraged them to pursue their dreams.”
The morning session featured a rap show and inspirational speech by Khao Cates, whose “Bridge Da Gap” organization has developed a textbook and music CD curriculum to help youth to advance their dreams by building character in positive ways. The students then participated in a “CSI-style” presentation by an APD murder detective, where the students searched for clues and suggested ideas for pursuing investigative leads. The detective, who also is an APD negotiator, led a mock negotiation with a student where she role-played a suicidal citizen.
Afterward, students from Georgia State’s Black Law Students Association assumed the roles of prosecutor, defense attorney, and eyewitness and argued whether a murder case must be dismissed for lack of evidence, with V-103’s Street presiding over the proceedings. The mock hearing led to a lively round of questions from the audience to the law students and federal prosecutors, who gave honest but encouraging advice about applying to college and graduate school, pursuing a career, and enjoying life with a full-time job. The afternoon ended with Street conducting a trivia contest and handing out prizes.
For further information please contact Sally Q. Yates, United States Attorney, or Charysse L. Alexander, Executive Assistant United States Attorney, through Patrick Crosby, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Attorney's Office, at (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the HomePage for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia is www.justice.gov/usao/gan.