Justice Rising: Project 77

In 2021, a group of community partners joined together to transform the criminal justice system for youth in Chicago. And Justice Rising: Project 77 was born.

1 out of 3 African American boys born today can expect to be sentenced to prison.* And youth within the criminal justice system routinely return to the system through the cycle of arrest / incarcerate / release / repeat. This isn’t only happening in Chicago’s North Lawndale community. It’s happening throughout our city, our state and our country.

That’s why Justice Rising: Project 77 began.

A coalition committed to holistic, community-led restorative justice throughout the 77 neighborhoods of Chicago, the current partners include Breakthrough in East Garfield Park, BUILD in Austin, Lawndale Christian Legal Center in North Lawndale and New Life Centers in Little Village.

In each of these neighborhoods, clients under age 25, who have pending cases in the juvenile and adult courts of the Circuit Court of Cook County are provided with an attorney from LCLC. And in collaboration with our new partners, we connect clients to services for employment, school, trauma counseling, health care, mental health, entrepreneurship, mentoring, housing, spiritual guidance, sports, violence prevention and substance use.

The vision for Justice Rising doesn’t stop here, however.

As Cliff Nellis, our executive director has said, “This is just the beginning. When we make it work in these four communities, we’ll be ready to work with partners in any of the city’s 77 neighborhoods.”

If you’re working for justice and equity as a community organizer, through a community center or with a local justice-focused organization, or working as a community lawyer, or through community courts and would like to learn more about how you could join us, please contact Dr. Dennis Deer.

Our shared beliefs.

Restoring the community begins by being a part of it.

Holistic healing and support is better for our communities than punishment through criminal records and incarceration.

Working for restorative justice means serving youth and communities not processing arrests and cases.

Youth under 25 have unique needs neurobiologically, developmentally and socially and deserve holistic care and support.

We can be stronger together.