Spotlight on Jason Clark, Superior Court Equity and Justice Advocate
As Presiding Judge of Superior Court, I was asked to write about the court. We have a lot going on, so it was a tough choice. After giving it some thought, the work being done by Jason Clark, our Equity and Justice Advocate rose to the top. Jason’s work is wide-ranging. He’s responsible for developing community-building and engagement strategies, for planning and policy/program development, and for general planning support for projects related to reducing racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system.
How does he do all that? Without skipping a beat! In just over a year, his accomplishments have been far-reaching. An example is his work in Federal Way. In response to increased violence in that area, he gathered together community members and local service agencies. This resulted in the formation of the Federal Way Youth Action Team (FWYAT), a consortium of caring folks and organizations that partner to provide youth development and opportunities in the community. Through Jason’s guidance and influence, the FWYAT has formed programs and activities for youth traditionally underserved or overlooked.
Just last week a 13 year old who might otherwise have been referred to the justice system was the beneficiary of Jason’s efforts. Jason had previously asked the King County Office of Alternative Dispute Resolution to provide facilitation services to the FWYAT. He also coordinated with case managers at the Federal Way Multi-Services Center’s Positive Outcome Program (POP). This coordination of services allowed this young man, his guardian, the victim, a member of the community, and his POP case manager to have a successful restorative mediation. The end result included connecting the young man with positive youth groups, a summer camp program, mentoring, and a satisfied victim.
Whether from a community member, judge, probation officer, or service provider, you will hear praises of Jason. Will Jimerson, a POP case manager says of Jason: “He is not one merely caught up with lip service, but more so with and through life service.” Will describes Jason’s work as lending his development leadership qualities and technical assistance and going beyond the stretch when it comes to community development – “a quiet and confident leader, who everyone looks to when he steps into the room.”
Chief Juvenile Judge Wesley Saint Clair notes Jason’s success as a community liaison is in part due to the way he solicits needs as described by parents and youth, not simply those of the system or by institutional players. In doing so, he has been instrumental in creating new avenues for the community to effectively engage in helping families that might be having issues, while at the same time helping community partners navigate the complexities of being a provider for government.
In addition to his work in Federal Way, Jason has focused on Equity and Social Justice training with juvenile court and those involved with the court, as either the trainer or part of a team that coordinates these efforts. He is able to deliver a message that is easily received by all. Superior Court is indeed fortunate to have great employees such as Jason!