Episode 83

Belonging: Kristin Henning on The Rage of Innocence: How America Criminalizes Black Youth, Her Work as a Georgetown Law Professor, and Why Juveniles Are Stereotyped From Just the Word Itself

A nationally recognized writer, trainer, and consultant in juvenile justice reform, Kristin Henning speaks on the intersection of race, adolescence, and policing. Her book,The Rage of Innocence, is a powerful analysis of how the legal system criminalizes normal adolescent behavior in communities of color. In it, she lays bare the long-term consequences of racism and trauma that Black children experience at the hands of police (and their vigilante surrogates) and explains how discriminatory and aggressive policing has socialized a generation of Black teenagers to fear and resent the police. In her lectures and workshops, Henning examines how normal adolescent behaviors are distorted into crime and deviance among Black youth, who are denied the grace and tolerance society extends to their white peers. Drawing upon her experience working in D.C.’s juvenile courts, she examines the physical and psychological harms of constant discriminatory and aggressive police surveillance during adolescence – the last period of significant flexibility in the brain – and discusses the devastating long-term consequences criminalization has on the development of Black youth.

In her timely and essential workshops, Kristin Henning helps organizations identify unconscious racial bias and challenge racial injustice and inequality. In her educational and dynamic talks, she discusses the challenges she encountered in her legal career and the need for police, prosecutors, and judges to examine their personal biases and combat them in favor of equitable treatment.

Kristin Henning is the Blume Professor of Law and Director of the Juvenile Justice Clinic and Initiative at Georgetown Law, where she teaches students about criminal law, family law, and racial bias in the juvenile and criminal legal systems. Before joining Georgetown University, she worked as a public defender, where she organized and led a juvenile unit representing children arrested in the Washington D.C. area. She is currently the Director of the Mid-Atlantic Juvenile Defender Center and serves on the Board of Directors for the Center for Children’s Law and Policy. Henning received her B.A. from Duke University and J.D. from Yale University. She has received numerous awards for commitment to justice, including the 2021 Juvenile Leadership Prize from the Juvenile Law Center, the 2015 Award for Youth Justice from the DC Lawyers for Youth and 2013 Robert E. Shepherd, Jr. Award for Excellence in Juvenile Defense by the National Juvenile Defender Center.

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A World of Difference
A podcast for those who are different and want to make a difference

About your host

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Lori Adams-Brown

Lori Adams-Brown works in business technology and leadership development in Silicon Valley. She is an international speaker and consultant with over 20 years of global management work experience from living and working on 3 continents. Lori has brought a forward-thinking perspective to hundreds of organizations in business, education, government and philanthropy to improve innovation capacity, develop strategies, and design new products and services. Lori’s current approach focuses on how diversity and inclusion is changing the face of major industries, a topic explored in detail in her podcast, A World of Difference. She also leads discussions and interviews global authors and thought leaders on the future of learning and the future of work. Lori helped start a grassroots community development nonprofit in Indonesia and served as Medical Director during the tsunami relief in Sumatra in 2004. Lori has served as Development Director to Echo Compassion, a Silicon Valley nonprofit community outreach organization, which she helped found. Lori has also written for the International Journal of Urban Transformation and spoken on Diversity and Inclusion at conferences in many cities around the globe. Raised in Valencia, Venezuela, Lori has lived in Singapore, Indonesia, Costa Rica and the San Francisco Bay Area. Lori is particularly well suited to see things from a global viewpoint. She has keynoted such international events as a worldwide webinar on Macroeconomics in Urban Strategy for the International Mission Board, and at conventions and churches in Singapore, Venezuela, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Brunei and all over the US. She holds a BA in both Sociology and Spanish and a Master’s of Arts in Intercultural Studies. Lori is on a mission to see people, families, communities, and nations thrive.