A Voice for the Voiceless: ‘16 Alumni Josh Gordon
Josh Gordon is working for an organization striving to improve youth justice systems across the country. He is the communications manager for the National Juvenile Justice Network(NJJN), a movement of state-based juvenile justice organizations advocating for fairer juvenile justice systems.
“Nationwide, children are being incarcerated, and we are not seeing much benefit to that,” Josh said. “When young people leave these facilities, many times, they reenter society worse than they began because our justice systems are not rehabilitative or properly preparing folks to rejoin society.”
In his role, Josh works to facilitate community between youth justice advocates by amplifying their individual successes and struggles to achieve collective gain. He said NJJN prioritizes restoration and racial justice.
“These young people have dreams and goals, yet many are not able to exercise them due to system involvement,” Josh said.
Josh said the current justice system in the United States is “overly-punitive” and that too many people are incarcerated. This does not produce any positive results and wastes taxpayer money.
“NJJN pushes for laws that treat all youth in trouble with the law with the dignity and respect they deserve,” Josh said.
The goal of the National Juvenile Justice Network is to give kids the support they need in their own community, instead of pushing them into a system that stigmatizes them and fails to increase public safety. Josh said youth have incredible potential for change and recognizing that fact is a huge part of what our systems forget.
“I hear from young people about their dreams and desires and how they want to positively impact society,” Josh said.
Josh’s experience at Liberty University gave him a new perspective on people. He recognizes people make mistakes, but that Christians should embrace redemption for others, as Christ has redeemed them. He hopes to become more compassionate, understanding and loving, which he said is relevant to his work.
Josh graduated from Liberty in May 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in advertising and public relations, as well as a double minor in sociology and crisis communication. He worked as the social media editor for the Liberty Champion for a little over two years, expanding the newspaper’s online reach and relevance.
This gave him experience in running social media accounts strategically and getting people’s attention rather quickly. He has used his background and the moral direction that was matured at the university to love children who are forgotten and discarded.
“I look at them like Jesus looks at them … bursting with potential,” Josh said. “We want to ensure our justice systems treat all youth with the dignity they deserve.”
Josh’s passion to advocate for others surfaced when he was young. Although he did not previously know where this passion might lead him, it has landed him in a place where he can work to ensure our justice systems are truly just and reformative for all people. Right now, NJJN operates in 42 states and the District of Columbia, but the organization plans to expand to all 50 states.
Josh currently resides in D.C. where he participates in Ultimate Frisbee, basketball, watching movies, getting “too much” take-out and enjoying downtime with friends.
“I love D.C.’s culture and meeting new people,” Josh said. “There is always something going on here. I love traveling, and I’m trying to do more of it, so I am saving my coins.”
Josh could be referred to as a mediator, a man who stands up for the underdog. He gives a voice to the voiceless.As of September 2018, Josh accepted a position as an account executive at BerlinRosen, a leading national public relations and strategic communications firm delivering high impact media, digital strategy and advertising to top organizations, companies and candidates.