Levin Statement on the Release of Incarcerated Constituent “Grace”

July 31, 2020
Press Release

Congressman Andy Levin, Vice Chair of the House Education and Labor Committee, released the following statement after learning that his teenage constituent, known as “Grace” to protect her identity as a minor, was released to her mother’s custody. Grace’s incarceration over failing to complete her online assignments garnered national attention:

“Throughout this pandemic, the injustices underlying so many of our systems have risen to the surface, and the people’s voice has risen just as swiftly to proclaim they must end.

“There is absolutely no doubt that public pressure turned the tide for Grace and her mother. I thank the Michigan Court of Appeals for taking action, every journalist who brought attention to this matter, every protester who camped outside of Children’s Village, and every one of my colleagues who joined me to demand ‘Free Grace!’ in the weeks past. We must continue dismantling the systems that allow young, Black girls like Grace to be incarcerated at a disproportionate rate. I am eager to get to work building support for my sister Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley’s Ending PUSHOUT Act, which will work to disrupt the school-to-confinement pipeline by investing in safe and nurturing school environments for all students, especially girls of color.”

Earlier this month, Rep. Levin first called on the court to review this case after the story broke. On Wednesday, Rep. Levin joined Rep. Pressley and other Michigan lawmakers in a letter calling on Attorney General Barr and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to open a civil rights investigation after the judge failed to release Grace from custody.