A campaign that has visited cities across California “impacted by the overuse of punishment and incarceration” is headed to Fresno.
The Schools Not Prisons tour is a free music and art event that encourages young people to call on leaders to spend less money on prisons and more on restorative justice programs in schools.
In nearly 40 years, California has built 22 prisons, but only one UC campus, points out the campaign, which is organized by Revolve Impact – an agency that promotes arts-infused activism.
“In 2014, in Fresno County, youth arrests outnumbered the number of youths who voted here,” said Abre’ Conner, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union who is involved in the Fresno event. “Our students of color are being disproportionately disciplined, and school districts need to do something about it.”
Districts like Fresno Unified have implemented more restorative justice efforts in recent years, leading expulsion and suspension rates to decline, but minority students still are disciplined at disproportionate rates compared to their white peers.
In Fresno County, youth arrests outnumbered the number of youths who voted here.
Abre’ Conner, ACLU
In Fresno County, black youths made up 20 percent of juvenile felony arrests in 2014, according to Kidsdata.org. About 15 percent of students suspended in Fresno County were black. Black students, however, only account for 5 percent of the county’s student body.
Latinos made up more than 60 percent of juvenile arrests, and white youths accounted for about 14 percent. (Nearly 65 percent of Fresno County students are Latino, while about 18 percent are white.)
California’s black students are three times as likely as white students to be suspended and expelled, according to the Black Minds Matter report released by the Education Trust-West in 2015. At Fresno Unified, the suspension rate for black students is 2.5 times higher than the district average.
The event will start at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Fresno City College. Acts include La Santa Cecilia, Fresno rapper Fashawn, Audio Push, Mistah F.A.B., Dulce Upfront, Low Leaf, and Mariachi Arcoiris de Los Angeles.