May 10, 2024

AFJ's Co-Founder and Executive Director, Angel Rodriguez, Honored with the Juvenile Law Center’s Leadership Prize on May 8th in Philadelphia

On May 8th, Avenues for Justice’s (AFJ) Co-Founder and Executive Director, Angel Rodriguez, was honored alongside Elizabeth Scott, Lawrence Steinberg, and Bryan Stevenson with the 2024 Leadership Prize by the Juvenile Law Center (JLC) in Philadelphia. The entire AFJ team, along with 300 guests, celebrated in community at the National Constitution Center “the power of shared ideals and the promise that every child carries.” 

The Juvenile Law Center’s Leadership Prize recognizes outstanding individuals working in any field—law, government, the arts, media, entertainment, sports, business, or any other sector—who are fighting for the rights and well-being of youth in the child welfare and justice systems. Awardees have achieved lasting change either through a lifetime of work on behalf of youth, a landmark contribution to the field of children’s rights, or exceptional efforts to shine a light on the most important issues affecting youth today.

During his speech, Angel outlined AFJ’s 45-year history as one of the first Alternative to Incarceration (ATI) programs in the country to focus on providing court advocacy services to youth and young adults. Following Angel, Lawrence Steinberg and Elizabeth Scott shared the stage to discuss how their work on adolescent psychology and brain development impacts the protection of youth in the criminal legal system. Finally, Bryan Stevenson, Founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, shared how his family history led him to Harvard Law and to his lifelong work of defending those condemned to life without parole. His leadership helped establish the U.S. Supreme Court precedent that people  under the age of 18 cannot be sentenced to life without parole. In conclusion, there was an electrifying moment as Bryan asked guests, who were previously condemned to life without parole, to stand up, saying "Tonight we celebrate, but when we go home, there is more work to be done."

2024 Juvenile Law Center Leadership Prize Recipients

Angel Rodriguez; Co-Founder& Executive Director | Avenues for Justice

Laurence Steinberg; LauraH. Carnell Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience | Temple University

Elizabeth Scott; HaroldR. Medina Professor Emerita of Law | Columbia Law School

Bryan Stevenson; Founder& Executive Director | Equal Justice Initiative


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