Drawing upon 25 years of experience representing Black youth in D.C.'s juvenile court, Henning confronts America's irrational, manufactured fears of Black youth and makes a powerfully compelling case that the crisis in racist American policing begins with its relationship to Black children. Unlike white youth, who are afforded the freedom to test boundaries and figure out who they are and who they want to be, Black youth are seen as a threat to white America and denied the privileges of healthy adolescent play, adventure, and experimentation. Examining the long-term consequences of racism and trauma Black youth experience at schools and in the community at the hands of police and their vigilante surrogates, Henning explains how discriminatory and aggressive policing has socialized a generation of Black teenagers to fear and resent the police. Especially in the wake of the recent unprecedented, worldwide outrage at racial injustice and inequality, THE RAGE OF INNOCENCE is an essential book for our moment.
Author Bio: KRISTIN HENNING has been representing children accused of crime in Washington, DC for more than twenty-five years and is a nationally recognized trainer and consultant on the intersection of race, adolescence, and policing. Henning was previously the Lead Attorney of the Juvenile Unit at the D.C. Public Defender Service and now serves as the Blume Professor of Law and Director of the Juvenile Justice Clinic and Initiative at Georgetown Law. Henning is the co-founder of a number of initiatives to combat racial injustice in the juvenile legal system, including the Ambassadors for Racial Justice program and a Racial Justice Toolkit for youth defenders. She is also the recipient of many awards, including the 2021 Leadership Prize from the Juvenile Law Center. Henning has written numerous law review articles and other publications advocating for reform in the juvenile legal system.