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2021 Illinois Youth Summit


Illinois Youth Summit (Virtual via ZOOM)

May 14, 2021
9:00 AM - 1 PM 
Open to 8th - 12th grade students

What Does "Defund the Police" Mean?

The Illinois Youth Summit gives students an informed voice in discussions about current issues that affect them and provides an opportunity for students to explore and debate these issues as participants in our democratic society. This year's topic, "What Does "Defund the Police" Mean? was selected based on the response from students when asked what they wished to discuss. This is a unique opportunity to meet with students from other schools around Illinois and to talk about these issues with policy experts.

The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others sparked a renewed emphasis on racism and police brutality in the U.S.’s political and cultural conversation. The slogan “Defund the Police” emerged from those protests. People reacted strongly to the slogan, both favorably and unfavorably. During the Summit students will examine what defunding the police means and evaluate possible strategies for reforming the criminal justice system.

The Summit is open to 8th grade students as well as high school students.

Please contact Dee Runaas at if you have any questions.



What Does Defund the Police Mean?

The Constitutional Democracy Project's (CDP) 2021 Illinois Youth Summit brought about 120 students from 10 Chicago-area schools together over Zoom to watch panelists discuss the varied meanings of “defunding the police” and later, to ask questions on trending law enforcement topics, such as qualified immunity, no-knock warrants, and body cameras.



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