Ryan A. Turner
Community Law In Action (CLIA)
Ryan A. Turner wants to establish a cradle-to-college or cradle-to-career pipeline for Baltimore’s next generation, not a cradle-to-prison pipeline.
He was born and raised in west Baltimore, and statistics and crime rates are something he takes personally.
“I grew up seeing these things and really wanting to make a change and make a difference,” Turner said. “I didn’t want to talk about the issues anymore, I really wanted to do something.”
Turner is now leading CLIA, helping give young people the skills and tools to speak for themselves on important issues and make positive change.
For instance, he’s passionate about the organization’s “Just Kids” campaign, which seeks to eliminate automatic prosecution of youths as adults in the state of Maryland. Currently, there are 33 offenses under which youths as young as 14 can be automatically prosecuted as adults.
“Kids deserve to be kids — the dominating use of punitive measures to ‘discipline’ kids is antiquated and counterproductive,” Turner said. “We need to be empowering and restorative in our approach.”
Turner founded the Akoben Foundation, an organization to help Baltimore students read at or above grade level by the end of third grade. He was previously the organization’s executive director and now serves on its board.
“Akoben Foundation afforded me the opportunity of employing preventative measures for children at younger ages by using grade-level reading as a vehicle,” Turner said. “I now have the opportunity of empowering youth to employ the skills that they have learned in order to advocate for themselves and their communities.”
Turner graduated from Coppin State University in 2018 and is the chairman of community service for the Delta Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He is a member of the Baltimore Urban League and the Baltimore City Young Democrats.