As I step away from the bench, I am feeling more than ever what Dr. Martin Luther King called “the fierce urgency of now.” Now is the time for all of us who care about justice in this country to roll up our sleeves and get to work. We may be in a moment of crisis, but as the saying goes, a crisis is a terrible thing to waste. We urgently need to change our focus from jails and prisons to treatment, education, job training. So where is the “new beginning”? The “new beginning” is not a search for new ideas. We do not need new ideas. We know what works, and we sure do know what does not work. The “new beginning” is with each of us—new resolve, new enthusiasm, new dedication to the return of America. It is what President Obama described as “a new era of responsibility, a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.” I hope you will join me in the difficult task of making a difference for adolescents whose lives intersect with the justice system.

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