24 and None

With the help of a grant from the National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN), the Association for the Maryland Public Defender (AMPD) was able to hire an experienced organizer as the Project Coordinator to help establish a youth-led campaign and movement challenging Maryland’s youth incarceration policies and practices. Building on MOPD’s COVID-19 response efforts, which so far have resulted in a 50% reduction in the incarcerated youth population and a 60% reduction in the number of children in state run facilities, Maryland Youth Rising will challenge existing policies and practices that feed youth incarceration and exacerbate the racial disparities rampant throughout the juvenile justice system.

24 and None is for youth and young adults ages 14-26 who have personally experienced the juvenile justice system or who are interested in transforming the juvenile justice system and dismantling the prison industrial complex. With the guidance of the Project Coordinator, participant-members will engage in a cohort-style model to learn about systems of power and oppression, the fight for and the interconnectedness of racial equity in fights around justice reform, and gain skills to launch and run an effective campaign/movement.


1) Establish and coordinate MYR, a group made up of system involved youth, their families, and loved ones who are interested in sharing their personal experiences to advance system-wide reform. We have secured funding to provide stipends for youth who participate in MYR.

2) Prepare MYR members to advocate and testify in front of decision makers, especially the Juvenile Justice Reform Council (JJRC) a legislatively created body charged with studying the juvenile justice system from top to bottom;

3) Use targeted media outreach and advocacy to key systems stakeholders to ensure that MYR member voices are heard

4) Develop and implement political education workshops and a campaign strategy; and

5) Collaborate with youth advocates to advance the MYR priority areas.

Project Coordinator

MarTaze "Taz" Gaines is an organizer, student, and healer, rooted in transformative cultural work. Born and raised in Baltimore, Md, they attended Baltimore Polytechnic Institute (Poly) for high school. They relocated to Atlanta where they received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Morehouse College in 2018. Soon after, they earned a Master of Education in Community Development and Action from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. They relocated back to Baltimore, MD in May 2020.

Previously serving as the Board President of Black Lives Matter-Nashville, Taz has years of organizing experiences that focus on the abolition of the carceral state and building a new and better world that prioritizes joyous and healing spaces. They fight for justice in all realms for Black folx, especially Queer and Trans, through Prison Abolition, Environmental Justice, Housing + Tenant Rights , and Economic Justice to name a few.

In their "free" time, they spend it with their family, their political home (Organizing Black), singing + listening to music, binging tv shows, reading a book, or working on their next creative project. They host a podcast called, a dose of healing, where they have conversations with organizers around the topic of healing.