Agenda for a Just Future,Grantee Spotlight,Youth & Transformative Justice

Voices From the Frontlines: President & CEO Shane Goldsmith Talks With Mainor From Arts for Incarcerated Youth Network

August 27, 2020
By raymond

Mainor is a Youth Policy Advocate working to keep Brown and Black youth out of the system at The Arts for Incarcerated Youth Network (AIYN). After navigating his youth without proper guidance or mentorship, he found himself in jail as a teenager. Fast forward to today where he advocates for youth justice and proudly stands in front of lawmakers to share his story and experience to help win real change. Through his work, the coalition he’s a part of, the activism he’s done, he is helping to change laws, change practices, and shutting down jails. He continues to do incredible work to make sure other Brown and Black kids don’t ever have to be in the same situation.

Q. Did you have any support as a kid?

A. I was always alone. By the time I got out of school my parents went to work and when they got home it was already late. Having all that free time led me to know all the kids from the block and eventually led me to going to jail. 

Q. What is your life like today?

A. It feels good to be able to say I have a job and its dope that there’s actually people that really believe in you and want to see you do good. I’m really grateful for all that. 

Q. Tell us about the work you do with AIYN?

A. Our main goal is to shut down all youth camps and prisons and figure out what we will build in its place. We are also trying to close down Men’s Central Jail within a year. We are in spaces like that advocating for the future.

Q. What do you hope people will take away from your AIYN feature video?

A. It is possible to change somebody, but not through a couple days or a week. It hasn’t even gotten me all the way and I’ve only been with the program a whole year, but I feel like that I’ve changed in a way. Change is possible with the right help and the right people.

To watch Mainor's feature video, please click here or below.