On Our Radar: Second Chances, Water Crisis, and Racist Shirts

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  1. The Supreme Court Gives Juvenile Lifers a Second Chance


On Monday, the Supreme Court voted to retroactively make parole an option for people who, as juveniles, got murder convictions and mandatory life sentences. That retroactive part–meaning the decision applies to people who’ve already been locked up–almost never happens. It’s reported that this ruling could affect the lives of over 2,000 incarcerated people who have been serving time since their youth. When the 2012 Supreme Court decision first came out, Youth Radio reported for NPR on how it would affect one man sentenced as a teen to life without parole.

In related news, President Obama penned an op-ed in the Washington Post on Tuesday morning, urging us to rethink solitary confinement for incarcerated youth.


 2. Flint Water Crisis: Who is Helping & Who is Hurting?


The city of Flint, MI has been in the spotlight after toxins were found in the city’s public water supply. To get a better picture of what has transpired in Flint over the last two years, and its effect on children in particular, here’s a timeline of events.

A number of individuals and groups are working to aid people in Flint. Rapper Big Sean, a Detroit native, is starting a #HealFlintKids campaign, where people who make donations have the opportunity to hang out with him. World renowned pop singer Cher got on social media and asked for further investigation into the Flint situation, and said she’s sending thousands of water bottles. And President Barack Obama declared the situation a federal emergency, which allocated up to $5 million in federal aid to efforts to help with the water crisis. Immediate assistance is important, but the looming question is what will happen to the next generation of residents who’ve been exposed to toxins. Think Progress ran a piece claiming the poisoning could create criminals out of young people who’ve unknowingly been drinking the tainted water. 


 3. Students Wear Shirts Spelling Racial Slur


A group of Desert Vista High School students posted an image of themselves wearing clothing that spelled out the word “NI**ER” late last week. The girls are being disciplined, but the action sent greater shock waves through the social media world– causing a number of people to weigh in on the photo. There is even a Change.Org petition to get the students expelled–a rare instance of outside voices attempting to influence one school’s disciplinary practices. 


 4.  Reflections of an Abandoned Chinese Girl: China’s One-Child Policy and Me


From Youth Radio, a story about a teen who was abandoned and sent to an orphanage under China’s One Child policy. She says the policy, which ended late last year, gave her a better life.  


  5. Mental Health for the Youth of Ontario


Last week, the province of Ontario, Canada announced that it would be investing $6 million into mental health services for youth. This investment is reported to support 80 new mental health care providers. It’s the latest financial commitment by the government of Ontario, bringing the total annual investment in the mental health of young people to $444 million!


On Our Radar is Youth Radio’s weekly list of news you need to know now if you care about youth. 

Check in every week for more youth stories. 

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