Tshaka Barrows is a founding member of the Burns Institute (BI). As Deputy Director he works closely with the Executive Director and Senior Management to advance the Burns Institute’s mission to protect and improve the lives of youth of color and poor youth. His work involves strategic planning, organizational development, financial oversight, project development, and managing relationships with funders, partners, community leaders and system decision makers.
Tshaka joined the Burns Institute in 2001 as Regional Manager for the Community Justice Network for Youth (CJNY) after graduating from the University of Wisconsin. Previously, he worked to build the CJNY from 35 active member organizations in 2001 to over 200 nationwide today! He developed several curricula, including a comprehensive juvenile justice history curriculum, as well as racial and ethnic disparity taskforces in Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Chicago and New Orleans. He is proud to have worked with and supported so many community leaders committed to ‘Stopping the Rail to Jail’.
Throughout the development of the CJNY he visited over 140 organizations, held 12 regional conferences and 2 national conferences, and facilitated numerous trainings and workshops. He has participated in several national initiatives including the Youth Justice Learning Group, the Funders Collaborative on Youth Justice and the Casey Foundation’s Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative.
Tshaka’s work in CJNY bolstered BI’s site-based approach. His community engagement contributions to BI’s site-based strategy lead to a significant increase in meaningful community involvement with detention reform. His work established several community-based interventions that have reduced racial and ethnic disparities and increased positive life outcomes for youth involved in criminal justice systems.
Tshaka is an Alumnus of the Rockwood Leadership Institute Fellowship program and currently participates in the Sierra Health Foundation’s Positive Youth Justice Initiative; additionally he serves as an Advisory Council Member for the Campaign for Youth Justice.