California Criminal Justice Funders Group is honored to welcome our newest Steering Committee member: Karren A. Lane, Director of the Youth Organizing Capacity Building Initiative from the Weingart Foundation. We are grateful for her experience and wisdom. Learn more about Karren below!
Tell us about your background and what brought you to this work?
My deep love for my community drives my commitment to the social justice movement. As a Black woman growing up in Los Angeles during the 1980’s and 1990’s, I observed the devastating effect of the war on drugs and mass incarceration on the Black community. The State of California robbed too many of the youth of my generation of their innocence and opportunities to thrive. My experience as a former special education teacher deepened my understanding of the nexus between the education system, child welfare and the juvenile justice system. I had the privilege to work with youth and adults in South Los Angeles to disrupt these systems as a community organizer with Community Coalition for several years. My relationships in the community and my personal experiences as a mother motivate me to fight to end the criminalization of communities of color and strengthen the pipelines for youth leadership.
What are the values that keep you grounded in the work?
The values that ground me are humility, personal integrity and resilience.
What is strengthening you in this moment?
I am strengthened by the new generation of racial justice leaders working to transform this state. I am inspired by their immense talent, creativity, and compassion for one another. Young people’s willingness to put their bodies on the line, share their lived experiences, and fight for their families and communities is a source of hope and motivation.