Part 3: Advocacy and the Law

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Activity 3B: Advocacy Responses

Book ‘Em: Under Educated, Over Incarcerated [Video]. (2005). New Haven, CT: Youth Rights Media Project. This video is available online here.

Teacher’s Note: Illustrate How Advocacy Organizations Communicate with the Public


Cradle to Prison Pipeline Campaign

This slideshow by the Children’s Defense Fund is available for viewing online.

Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM)

This site includes informational brochures for the public about mandatory sentencing and the impact on families.

Three Strikes and You’re Out

This organization advocates for sustaining and strengthening three strikes laws. The site contains an editorial page written by the founder, news articles, reports, crime reports, links, and a book page.

Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)

The CAIR campaign, designed to educate media professionals on sterotypes about Islam and Muslims, has created a guide for media journalists to use when covering issues relating to Muslims or Islam. Sample pages can be found here:

The Sentencing Project

This group’s Web site contains many examples of publications and products for outreach to the public and policymakers. Letters, reports, Congressional testimony, and publications for news media in support of efforts to reform sentencing policies to reduce incarceration rates and racial disparities are available here:

The W. Haywood Burns Institute

The Burns Institute is focused on reducing racial disparities in the juvenile justice system. The link below provides examples of data maps, sample letters to legislators, contact information for juvenile justice experts, curricula, and other publications for the community.

National Center for Victims of Crime

An advocacy organization for crime victims and those who serve them, this group hosts a site with examples of a resource library, contact information for civil litigators, information about conferences and trainings, and links to legal information related to victim’s rights.

Activity 3C: Supporting Advocacy with Data

Evaluating an Organization’s Use of Data

These organization’s sites may be useful for modeling for students how to research an advocacy group’s use of data.

Maine Youth Empowerment and Policy Project

The report by the Youth Empowerment and Policy Project is based on data collected by student participants in a project to research underage drinking in Maine. The report includes their methodology and sample size. The second link is the YEPP Information page.,

National Youth Rights Association

“NYRA President Defends Youth Privacy on CNN’s HLN Prime News National Youth Rights Association.” National Youth Rights Association. NYRA News, May 5, 2011.NYRA president Jeffrey Nadel’s televised debate with a New York State senator over parental searches of the belongings of their teenage children. Nadel uses data to argue that teens are safer, less likely to use drugs, and better citizens than their parents.

The Sentencing Project

Juvenile Life Without Parole: Fact Sheet. This resource uses data to identify growing numbers of juveniles being sentenced to life without parole for non-homicide crimes, as well as to highlight racial disparities in the juvenile justice system. Data are used within the text rather than in a graph or table.,

Teacher’s Note: Primary and Secondary Sources

Information Literacy

The Levi Watkins Learning Center at the Alabama State University Web site has a resource titled “How to Distinguish Between Primary and Secondary Sources.” It offers an easy-to-read chart with examples of each kind of source.

Primary and Secondary Sources

This student-friendly site, developed by a media center at Flagler Palm Coast High School in Florida, includes simple descriptions of the differences between primary and secondary sources and links to many other online references and resources. It also lists several collections of primary sources available online.

Primary Sources and Secondary Sources Self-Test

The University of Massachusetts Libraries Web site offers students an online quiz, written in simple language, to check their mastery of the differences between primary and secondary sources.

Primary vs. Secondary Sources [Online Tutorial]

This online tutorial, created by M. Finley Gonzalez for the University of West Florida Libraries, lets students study the differences between primary and secondary sources at their own pace, then take an online quiz to check their understanding. Note that the language is written at the college level and may be challenging for students.

Activity 3D: Public Advocacy and the Legal Landscape


The Greenlining Institute

See this national organization’s Press Room for opinion columns, press releases, and latest news regarding its efforts to empower minority and disadvantaged groups with economic, civil rights, and leadership initiatives.

Fight Crime: Invest in Kids

Visit the Issues page for links to the organization’s federal legislative recommendations, key committees with whom the organization works, and state-specific pages detailing the work the organization does with state legislatures.

Public Advocates, Inc.

The Education page provides examples of this organization’s work targeting the legislature, courts, and grassroots organizers.

MALDEF: The Latino Legal Voice for Civil Rights in America

The section on the Campaign for High School Equity describes some of the groups targeted by MALDEF for action as well as some of its partner organizations. Descriptions of Recent News provide specific examples of actions taken by MALDEF within the legislative and judicial branches.

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

This international organization describes its mission as working for peace, disarmament and gender equality. The site contains news events and a brief description of the organization’s history, which includes a timeline of significant events and actions. Look for examples of the group’s work organizing grassroots protests and postcard campaigns, as well as lobbying efforts at the United Nations.

Activity 3E: Team Research

Discussion Protocols

“Protocols.” National School Reform Faculty. Harmony Education Center, Harmony, Indiana.

This portion of the NSRF site contains a wide variety of discussion protocols that have been designed for adults, but in many cases have been used with students. The section on protocols for “Learning from Text” is particularly useful in a classroom setting.

“Learning Communities Experiences and Processes.” National School Reform Faculty. Harmony Education Center, Harmony, Indiana.

This section of the NSRF site contains resources and protocols related to learning processes, such as giving and receiving feedback, setting goals and action plans, and identifying preferences in group work.