Mariame Kaba doesn't want Illinois's legislators to forget that nearly one in six youths incarcerated in the state have experienced sexual misconduct while in jail.
That sobering statistic was one of many found in a Bureau of Justice Statistics report earlier this year, which showed that the state's juvenile detentions are among the worst in the nation for sexual abuse. When state legislators meet Tuesday morning to address the report's findings, Kaba will be among a handful of youth advocates rallying in downtown Chicago.
The rally was set to begin at 8:30 a.m. outside the Michael A. Bilandic Building at 160 N. LaSalle St.. Legislators will be meeting there later in the morning for a special hearing on the report.
"We're basically trying to make sure that the elected officials and everybody involved knows that the community is watching and actually cares about these issues, beyond the families of the kids that are directly impacted," said Kaba, the founding director of Project NIA, a local nonprofit that opposes youth incarceration. "The hearing is at 10, so we want to catch the legislators as they come in."
Kaba said about 25 people have RSVP'd for the rally, but she hopes more will show up. During the rally, which is being called a "silent action" participants will stand in a line wearing the color red and holding signs with slogans that oppose sexual abuse in prisons.
Arthur Bishop, the director of the Department of Juvenile Justice, and officials from the Bureau of Justice Statistics are among those slated to testify at the hearing.
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