Sana Fadel

“. . . having young people develop into productive adults is not antithetical to public safety –  they are the same.”


Interviewee: Sana Fadel

Interviewers: Kelli Cronin and Kiera Duggan, Grade 12

Interview Date: January 28, 2016

Interview Location: Citizens for Juvenile Justice, Boston, MA


Student Reflections:

Visiting the Citizens for Juvenile Justice center and conversing with their dedicated staff opened my eyes to the flaws and the institutional prejudices embedded in our American justice system. It is obvious that the American justice system can be a vicious cycle of racism and sexism when it goes unmonitored, but hearing Sana Fadel describe the racially-motivated corruption of the juvenile “justice” system made me realize that I do not even know the half of it. Ms. Fadel spoke of the negligence of the court system in regards to the rehabilitation of teenagers and children who are arrested and passed through the justice system. As an outsider who does not directly see what takes place on the inside of the justice system, I was stunned to learn that in certain situations, judges and court officers receive “kickback” payments when they incarcerate teenagers on minor offenses. Listening to Ms. Fadel divulge this disturbing information made me not only disgusted by the world in which we live, but also motivated to make a change. Ms. Fadel’s story of activism is so inspiring to me, as she did not always have a perfectly concrete plan for her life. She dabbled in human rights work, environmental activism, women’s rights, and cyclist/pedestrian safety. Her eclectic work background has showed me that you do not need a set-in-stone plan for your life, but instead you simply need motivation, dedication, and a desire to leave the world a better place than when you entered it. (Kelli Cronin)

I found this interview to be very interesting and informative. I learned a lot about how much goes into making laws in order to benefit the people in our justice system, especially children and teens. I learned from my interviewee that she voices her opinion through creating legislation that will benefit those within the justice system. She advocates where she sees injustices and through hard work she is able to finalize her work and bring it to the State House as a means of creating new laws. One of the many important things I took from this interview is that when one feels strongly about something, advocating is key. Although there are always going to be people who disagree with you, it’s crucial to make your point heard and not back down. (Kiera Duggan)


“I wanted to do something bigger than me.”

“But if I can make an argument that you can keep kids in school rather than having them arrested and dropping out, it’s actually better for the school, it’s better for the school environment, it’s much more supportive, and everybody benefits.”

“Advocacy is a challenge because the issues we deal with, some of them are controversial, some of them are not, and even those that I think are not controversial, there will be someone who will see it from a different perspective and say ‘I don’t agree with you.’”

“Our message is: having young people develop into productive adults is not antithetical to public safety –  they are the same.”

“If someone identifies [with you] they’re less likely to see you as a stereotype and more likely to say ‘I can see this happening to me and I wouldn’t want this happening to me, so what can I do to fix it?’”

“I want to make the world a better place!”

“Ask what is the problem; document what the problem is.”

“That’s one thing I like a lot – being challenged and exposed to new things. I like being able to learn more about the issues.”

“My biggest hero is Gandhi, and I thought, wow, can we do this in the 21st century?”

“We want them to know that there [are] people invested in them succeeding.”