One of the biggest contributions to mass incarceration in America is the school to prison pipeline — a term used to describe how public schools across America are funneling students into the criminal justice system. This epidemic is one that primarily affects students of color in low-income communities as Black students are nearly four times more likely to be suspended and twice as likely to be expelled than white students.
Activist Pilar Barreyro is working to change that with the “Suspended For What” campaign through non-profit organization DoSomething.org. She shares how her fight for change began and what you can do to get involved today.
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Full Name: Pilar Barreyro
Title/Company: Campaigns Associate/ DoSomething.org
Location: New York City
Hometown: Washington D.C.
The Suspended for What Campaign
The “Suspended For What” campaign is a campaign about empowering young people to help dismantle and take a stand against the school-to-prison pipeline in two ways: amplify and advocate.
Her Passionate For Change
As a young person of color and someone who grew up in a pretty policed school, I believe that this campaign is so important now, more than ever. Especially as we look at how both for profit and private prison industries are not getting rolled back; there’s even more of a need for a fight.
The Goal Of The Program
The goal is just to really show young people that their voices matter and that local advocacy is powerful. We’re trying to get as many young people training and resources to breed stronger activists in our communities.
Why We Should Speak Up In Today’s Political Climate
Any person who is proud to call themselves an American needs to really critically think about the system of education and the system of incarceration and how they have historically worked together to just rip people out of our communities.
Why We All Need To Use Our Voice To Impact Change
We all have to really use our platform to demand change. There are millions of people being taken out of their communities and put into systems that they don’t belong in. I think that we should all agree that people have a right to life and a right to education. And seeing these human rights violations in our country, we have to be proactive.
Advice For Young Activists Fighting For Social Justice
Know that what you believe in is important and that even if change comes slowly, that change is profound and powerful.
What She Does To Relax
Playing the piano and cooking.
Her Theme Song
“Soul Rebel” by Bob Marley & The Wailers
To get involved with the Suspended For What campaign, visit here.