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A Kansas City nonprofit uses sports to encourage Black kids to become lawyers

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A woman wearing a tan coat and red blouse sits at a table smiling toward the camera.
Carlos Moreno
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KCUR 89.3
Natasha Scruggs isn't waiting for celebrities or politicians to address disparities Black people face in the United States. She founded JustUs System Inc., a nonprofit providing supplemental education to Black youth.

People of color become involved in the criminal justice system and are incarcerated at a disproportionate rate compared to white individuals. A Kansas City nonprofit is working to change that by introducing young Black people to the other side of the legal system.

When she was a law intern, Natasha Scruggs saw an 8-year-old in handcuffs.

The experience led her to found JustUs System Inc., a nonprofit aimed at disrupting the school-to-prison pipeline through supplemental education opportunities.

"I knew that if we had a program, we wouldn't need to put these children in handcuffs," said Scruggs, who founded her own law firm. "We could actually teach them things and give them the extra support they needed."

Madden Tanner, a participant in the nonprofit's Future Black Lawyers Institute program, joined Scruggs on Up To Date to discuss how the program is partnering with professional sports organizations to teach young Black kids about opportunities in the legal profession.

  • Natasha Scruggs, founder and president, JustUs System Inc.
  • Madden Tanner, participant, Future Black Lawyers Institute
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As a host and contributor at KCUR, I seek to create a more informed citizenry and richer community. I want to enlighten and inspire our audience by delivering the information they need with accuracy and urgency, clarifying what’s complicated and teasing out the complexities of what seems simple. I work to craft conversations that reveal realities in our midst and model civil discourse in a divided world. Follow me on Twitter @ptsbrian or email me at brian@kcur.org.
Elizabeth Ruiz is a freelance producer for KCUR’s Up To Date. Contact her at elizabeth@kcur.org or on Twitter at @er_bentley_ruiz
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