Two Social Justice Champions Receive Bimel Award

Posted October 24, 2019
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Frankie Guzman, David Brown and Lynn Ausley

From left: Frankie Guzman with Casey's David Brown and Lynn Ausley

The Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion has named Lynn Aus­ley, a mem­ber of the Juve­nile Court Fam­i­ly Coun­cil in Pierce Coun­ty, Wash­ing­ton, and Frankie Guz­man, direc­tor of the Cal­i­for­nia Youth Jus­tice Ini­tia­tive at the Nation­al Cen­ter for Youth Law, as its 2019 Natal­ie S. Bimel Award recip­i­ents. The Foun­da­tion rec­og­nized Aus­ley and Guz­man for their com­mit­ment to fair­ness and equal­i­ty, human rights and social justice.

The Foundation’s Natal­ie S. Bimel Award rec­og­nizes com­mu­ni­ty lead­ers whose work has advanced jus­tice reform efforts. The award’s name­sake was a crim­i­nal jus­tice reformer who estab­lished a num­ber of high­ly regard­ed com­mu­ni­ty pro­grams that reduced reliance on incar­cer­a­tion and helped for­mer pris­on­ers suc­cess­ful­ly tran­si­tion back into their com­mu­ni­ties. Natal­ie S. Bimel passed away from can­cer in 2004, short­ly after direct­ing the JDAI® doc­u­men­tary These Are Our Kids.” She epit­o­mized the cre­ativ­i­ty, deter­mi­na­tion and influ­ence of com­mu­ni­ty lead­ers who ded­i­cate them­selves to the well-being of local residents.

Frankie Guz­man, Direc­tor of the Cal­i­for­nia Youth Jus­tice Ini­tia­tive at the Nation­al Cen­ter for Youth Law

Guz­man advo­cates for youth in the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem by draw­ing on his per­son­al expe­ri­ence of being incar­cer­at­ed at the age of 15 for six years. He uses his pas­sion and pro­fes­sion­al skills, which include a law degree, to cre­ate oppor­tu­ni­ties for heal­ing and growth for young peo­ple. Guz­man and his team have sup­port­ed 13 land­mark bills that have helped reform the youth jus­tice sys­tem, includ­ing elim­i­nat­ing the pow­er of pros­e­cu­tors to charge youth as adults, abol­ish­ing life with­out parole sen­tences for youth and estab­lish­ing the Youth Rein­vest­ment Fund, a one-time state expen­di­ture of $37 mil­lion to increase the avail­abil­i­ty of trau­ma-informed, com­mu­ni­ty and health-based inter­ven­tions for young peo­ple. Peers cite the hum­ble, tena­cious and inclu­sive spir­it he brings to this work, along with the pos­i­tive influ­ence he has had as a role mod­el to oth­er Lati­no young peo­ple cur­rent­ly and for­mer­ly in the system.

Lynn Aus­ley, Mem­ber of the Fam­i­ly Coun­cil of the Pierce Coun­ty, Wash­ing­ton Juve­nile Court

Aus­ley was rec­og­nized for turn­ing her pain into pur­pose,” in the words of Jeanette Bocane­gra, the direc­tor of fam­i­ly part­ner­ships at Jus­tice for Fam­i­lies. Ausley’s son was involved in the jus­tice sys­tem. Her desire to sup­port her own child became an edu­ca­tion in how the sys­tem worked — or failed — and the levers she need­ed to pull on behalf of her son. She applied that knowl­edge to advo­cate for chil­dren and fam­i­lies who found them­selves in sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tions. Aus­ley is part of a coun­cil that advis­es the juve­nile pro­ba­tion depart­ment from the per­spec­tive of par­ents or oth­er fam­i­ly mem­bers of young peo­ple involved with the court. Work­ing with mul­ti­ple court staff and com­mu­ni­ty part­ners, the coun­cil pro­duced a 47-page infor­ma­tion guide to help fam­i­lies nav­i­gate the Pierce Coun­ty Juve­nile Court process. Its intro­duc­tion reads: We want our com­mu­ni­ty to be one that is safe and sup­port­ive, where all chil­dren are healthy and suc­ceed in school, and where all chil­dren grow up to be pro­duc­tive and con­tribut­ing adults.” Bocane­gra cit­ed four words Aus­ley uses to describe her pur­suit of a bet­ter, more equi­table youth jus­tice sys­tem: hope, pray, trust and believe.

The awards were bestowed at the JDAI Inter-Site Con­fer­ence in Seat­tle before an audi­ence of juve­nile jus­tice prac­ti­tion­ers, pol­i­cy mak­ers and advocates.

Read about the win­ners of the Glo­ria J. Jenk­ins Award

Read about the win­ners of the JDAI Dis­tin­guished Sys­tem Lead­er­ship Award

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