I have always been interested in Children’s Justice. I just didn’t have that name for it. The closest name I had was “children’s rights.”
Children’s rights movements have often struggled to gain attention. At best, they have been considered “alternative.” At worst, “fringe.” Most of the children’s organizations I know struggle for attention and funds.
At the same time, social justice movements have had a massive cultural impact. These movements have international name recognition, celebrity endorsements, corporate sponsorship, and regularly receive millions of dollars in donations.
I became curious. What were social justice movements doing that children’s advocates weren’t? Rather than be jealous of their success, I did what anyone who wants to improve their performance should do: I looked at others who were more successful in my field and sought to model their success.
The children’s movements I was familiar with were based in human rights. When I looked at social justice movements, I discovered they were not using the language of human rights. They were using critical theory.
One could approach racial justice issues with the discourse of human rights. For example, police brutality is clearly a human rights violation. Yet, these movements were choosing not to do that and instead speaking about systemic power. They had an entirely different intellectual foundation.
Modeling children’s movements after modern social justice movements would mean more than just borrowing a few tips and tactics, but changing the entire intellectual roots of children’s movements and reimagining them using critical theory.
So I did.
The result was my new book, Children’s Justice.
Children’s Justice explores the treatment of children as a social justice issue using critical social justice theory. The book began as a thought experiment, but the experiment was so successful, that it moved beyond being a mere experiment into a new conclusion.
Children’s Justice is an entirely new way of viewing children’s issues. It is my hope that this book and the ideas it contains bring the same level of success to children’s issues that other social justice movements have found.