NBA Pelicans’ CJ McCollum Learns About LCCR’s Holistic Approach To Youth Justice Advocacy & Visits The Juvenile Justice Intervention Center

Photo credit: SJ Walker Studios

You can’t have a positive outcome with all of the negatives around you. I think we have to figure out how to surround them [New Orleans’ youth] with more positives collectively, not just the kids that are here but kids that could potentially be here…” –CJ McCollum

(New Orleans, LA – October 19, 2023) Yesterday, NBA Pelicans’ shooting guard CJ McCollum met with members of the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights (LCCR) to learn more about the current landscape of the juvenile legal system, toured the Juvenile Justice Intervention Center (JJIC) facilities and spoke with Senator Royce Duplessis about the power of policy and legislative work in support of our youth. 

McCollum’s visit to the juvenile detention center was the result of a yearlong partnership between LCCR and the NBA Social Justice Coalition, an organization of players, coaches, team governors, and executives that look to dismantle racial inequality and advance social justice by turning people power into public policy. Several months before a legislative session where the State legislature proposed and passed various “tough on crime” bills, last December, McCollum penned an op-ed that called for the community at large to “invest in our children and their futures” by advocating for increased accountability and public safety through policy reforms that “are preventive, rehabilitative and effective” compared to further youth incarceration. 

Photo credit: SJ Walker Studios

After a morning that began with LCCR staffers providing McCollum with an overview of the organization’s intake process, the first step in their holistic legal defense, the Pelicans’ ball handler and crew took a tour of the JJIC and Travis Hill School facilities. The tour was led by Superintendent Dichelle Williams and Byron Goodwin, Travis Hill’s Director of School Operations. The NBA player participated in a conflict resolution practice with several of the incarcerated youth, where they discussed how they’ve been able to find their individual voices, — “Travis Hill helped me understand the woman in the mirror “stated one of the youth — the conditions that led to their imprisonment and the importance of education in their lives. When asked by McCollum what do New Orleans youth need, they responded with mentors, to be shown empathy, programs that keep them active, etc. Their time together culminated with a meal of pizza, salad, and dessert provided by the President of the National Basketball Players Association.

Lastly, Senator Royce Duplessis joined McCollum to debrief about what he experienced but also to orient him to the differences between local and state advocacy – and their intersections, – the legislation that Duplessis has authored to emphasize the rehabilitation needed for incarcerated youth and the foreseeable challenges to those types of reforms with last weekend’s election of governor-elect Jeff Landry. With more ideas to come and next steps to share, McCollum seemingly obtained an understanding of the task at hand when stating “ It’s clear that when they [New Orleans youth] are cared for properly, when you have the right people around them who are willing to not just give up on them. They want to be successful.” 

For more information, contact Renard Bridgewater at or 504-975-5861. 

About Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights: 

The Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights (LCCR)is a nonprofit law office that stands with kids in the justice system no matter what. We provide holistic legal defense (a lawyer, social worker, investigator, and youth advocate) to address children’s needs both inside and outside the courtroom and tackle the systemic issues that criminalize mostly poor, Black youth in the first place. Our goal is to keep kids out of a harmful system so that they can thrive where they belong — at home, at school, and in our communities. LCCR envisions a Louisiana where every child, no matter their race or class, is free to be a kid and supported in becoming a healthy adult. 

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