Damien Durr is a native of Cleveland, Ohio who answered his call to ministry in 2001. Damien served at the Mt. Haven Baptist church until he came to Nashville in August of 2004 to attend American Baptist College. Prior to that he spent years working multiple jobs and looking for life purpose. As a result of not graduating from high school because of his inability to pass the Ohio Proficiency Test. Due to the personal and vocational hardships connected to that experience Damien has attempted to equip, empower young people ( from juvenile facilities, to churches to the public school system) in an effort to help them reach their full potential, challenge systems of inequality and be change agents in the world. Part of CDF Nashville Team working on the Zero Tolerance Policies and Dismantling the Cradle to Prison pipeline. As a preacher, teacher and seeker of justice he brings that desire to the Children’s Defense Fund to not only address zero tolerance policies but the other interlocking forces of poverty, racism, violence, trauma etc.. as they attempt to destroy the future of so many children.
Stories from the Cradle to Prison Pipeline
Nationally, 1 in 3 Black and 1 in 6 Latino boys born in 2001 are at risk of imprisonment during their lifetime. While boys are five times as likely to be incarcerated as girls, there also are a significant number of girls in the juvenile justice system. This rate of incarceration is endangering children at younger and younger ages. Do you know their stories? This is America’s pipeline to prison — a trajectory that leads to marginalized lives, imprisonment and often premature death. Although the majority of fourth graders cannot read at grade level, states spend about three times as much money per prisoner as per public school pupil. CDF’s vision with its Cradle to Prison Pipeline campaign is to reduce detention and incarceration by increasing preventive supports and services children need, such as access to quality early childhood development and education services and accessible, comprehensive health and mental health coverage. Emphasis must be shifted for the sake of our children and our nation’s future. This workshop will open your eyes to the stories of children and adults who have been caught up in the cradle to prison pipeline and how you can be involved in real change.