Structural Racism Dialogue Session

The Office for Interprofessional Education, Research and Collaborative Practice invites members of the campus community to its upcoming session in the Structural Racism Dialogue Series.

"Juvenile Justice: Stealing Childhood & Other Acts of Systemic Racism"

Feb. 18

Noon–1 p.m.

Gabriella Celeste, JD, Policy Director, Schubert Center for Child Studies

The overrepresentation of Black children in today's juvenile justice system has its roots in the very invention of "delinquency" and establishment of a separate juvenile court in 1899. "Children were different," argued the reformers, "and in need of protection," but only if they were white. Black children were excluded from protection then, and continue to be seen as less innocent, less deserving and treated more harshly at every step of our juvenile justice system, ultimately being stripped of even the status of "childhood." Join Gabriella Celeste for a powerful discussion based on her years of experience as an attorney, advocate for justice and child policy activist.

Please RSVP. Zoom connection information will be sent to registrants ahead of the meeting.

More about our speaker

Gabriella Celeste, JD, is the policy director of the Schubert Center for Child Studies and an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She works to build partnerships that promote effective public policy and practice for the well-being of children and adolescents. She has worked extensively with vulnerable children in various nonprofit and administrative roles, both directly and conducting applied research, evaluation and technical assistance for foundations, nonprofit and government agencies.

Gabriella co-founded the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana in 1997 (now the Louisiana Center for Children's Rights) and has been instrumental in juvenile justice policy reform in Ohio. She convened national and local community partners to create and advocate for the adoption of a comprehensive police policy on how to interact appropriately with children and youth, and just recently the Cleveland Division of Police adopted a first-of-its-kind Youth Interactions policy. She also helped to bring youth training to the entire Cleveland police force on strategies for youth in crisis and recently released a review of highlights of lessons learned from the training.

Gabriella also played a role in OH SB 256, the juvenile life without parole (JLWOP) bill, which was passed and signed into law by Governor Mike DeWine in January 2021. This bipartisan legislation was the culmination of a decade of work following a U.S. Supreme Court decision recognizing that children are developmentally different from adults and require special protections. She was reappointed to the Ohio Public Defender Commission by former Governor John Kasich in 2015 and currently sits on the Board of Directors for Magnolia Clubhouse, the Youth Risk Behavior Survey Community Advisory Board and the Cuyahoga County “Defending Childhood” Governing Board.