The Just US Initiative
Founded in 2019, The Just Us Initiative is a nonprofit organization that was created with the intent of community advancement and engagement for people of color, who have been directly impacted by the criminal justice system. It is by way of emphasis in youth enrichment programs, mentoring, exploration of sports and arts, and charitable volunteer work, that JUST US. seeks to profoundly impact the Prince George's County community and ultimately the African diaspora at large. With the goal of producing programs to enrich local communities and adequate engagement in community initiatives through education, judicial reform, mentorship and local wellness development, the organizers of Just Us aims to enrich and advance families toward generational healing, health, and prosperity.
As a result of his experience being directly victimized by the Prince George's County Justice System, Just Us Co-Founder, Lupe W. Hawkins Jr., has committed his life's work to increasing opportunity and global exposure for communities of color within the DMV. By making a commitment to engagement in the local judicial system, youth development and community wellness, it is the primary focus of JUST US. to actively participate in justice reform and to promote youth education surrounding local and national government in an effort to combat the prison pipeline crisis and ensure advancement of the African American community. By tapping into the interest of children who are directly impacted by negative influences of the present-day criminal justice system in PG County, and providing opportunities to connect with successful, established professionals, development mentor-mentee relationships, to provide upliftment and guidance toward building a progressive future.
A primary pillar of The JUST US. Initiative and central focus of the organization's core values is the Youth Development Program, JUST US Jrs. (Just Us Juniors). This program seeks to engage local youths by providing education and outreach opportunities in judicial reform, mentorship and community advocacy, and its unique, inaugural initiative, The JUST US League, a sponsored athletic enrichment program, developed to promote academic and professional achievement, proactive community building, and provide a health and wellness outlet for directly impacted youths.