Complete audio from the June 17, 2016 #JusticeRADIOTHON event co-hosted by the Justice Roundtable’s Nkechi Taifa and 1975 clemency recipient and WPFW host Roach Brown is now available. Click on each link to listen to the full eight-hour program that was scheduled 45 years after former President Richard Nixon declared drug abuse as “Public Enemy Number 1.” This first-ever Justice RADIOTHON gave a spotlight and voice to the men, women and families who have been impacted by mass incarceration, and examine various strategies in the criminal justice reform toolbox that can be used to provide relief, including:
The National Clemency and Criminal Justice Reform Radiothon (#JusticeRadiothon), broadcast Friday, June 17 from noon-6:00pm was outstanding. The programming reached such a high level of attention that #JusticeRadiothon trended on Twitter, reaching the number two spot in top tags that day! Now that we trended, we’ve got to get unfair and outdated criminal justice laws changed! The one bill cited over and over for immediate passage was the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act pending in the Senate. The need for the President to grant more commutations was also a frequent focus of comments.
The Radiothon gave voice to men, women and families who have been impacted by mass incarceration, and examined various strategies for relief in the criminal justice reform toolbox, including legislative reform and executive clemency. All vowed to step up the pace in support of criminal justice reform.
The half-day broadcast was co-hosted by Ford-era commutation recipient and host of WPFW’s Crossroads show Roach Brown, and Justice Roundtable convener Attorney Nkechi Taifa. Clemency expert Mark Osler participated throughout the day in studio. Veteran WPFW anchors Askia Muhammad and Gloria Minott added their special flavor.
This first ever six-hour radio focus on clemency and criminal justice reform was chock full of change-makers. Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Rep. John Conyers called in to make remarks, and DC’s Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton dropped by the WPFW radio station to announce her bill calling on the President to delegate clemency authority for DC prisoners to the District’s Mayor, as DC has no governor to play that critical role. Celebrities MC Hammer, Keith Sweat, Adam Rodriguez, Lamman Rucker and Maria McDonald called in stressing the need for sentencing reform and executive clemency.
Commutation recipients Norman Brown, Kemba Smith, Amy Povah, Jason Hernandez, Ramona Brant, Shauna Berry-Scott and Sharanda Jones joined scores of other formerly incarcerated women and men such as Andrea James, Weldon Angelos, Yango Sawyer, Glenn Martin, Teresa Hodge, Topeka Sam, and Phyllis Johnson in calling for criminal justice reform. Alice Johnson, Craig Cesal, Tyrie Bell, Eric Wilson, Ian Shepherd and others called in from prison. Family members Ebony and Anthony Underwood, Miquelle West, Tony Lewis, Deborah Cain, Erica Wilson, and Ms. Clementine brought attention to their loved ones languishing behind bars. Civil rights leaders Wade Henderson (Leadership Conference), Sherrilyn Ifill (NAACP-LDF), Dorian Spence (Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law), and Sara Totonchi (Southern Center for Human Rights) lent their voices and the power of their organizations.
The voices of the #Cut 50 crew including Shaka Senghor, Matt Haney and Jessica Jackson were heard. Conservative and libertarian allies Mark Holden (Koch), Craig DeRoche (Prison Fellowship), and John Malcolm (Heritage) joined in, as did Utah Judge Mark Bennett. Attorneys MiAngel Cody, Rachel Barkow, Kendall Minter, Cynthia Roseberry, Vicki Casanova Willis, Brittany Byrd, Soffiyah Elijah, and Damon Hewitt weighed in. Criminal justice advocates Marc Mauer, Norman Reimer, Marc Schindler, Angelyn Frazer-Giles, Jesselyn McCurdy, Jasmine Tyler, Todd Cox, Karen Garrison and others lent their expertise.
Faith leaders Aundreia Alexander (NCC) and Kara Gotsch (ICJC) and those representing special issues such as Meghan Maury (LGBTQ), Dara Baldwin (disability), Maritza Perez and Jasmine Mickens (crimmigration) educated the public. The views of progressive law enforcement were heard with Ron Hampton and Damon Jones. Other scheduled critical voices such as Dorsey Nunn, Divine Pryor, Johnny Gill, Hilary Shelton, Ron Daniels, Pat Nolan, Jeremy Haile, Bruce Nicholson, Judge Burnett, Yasmine Arrington and others were not able to get through the packed phone lines.
For the past 45 years the media has played a huge role in fanning the flames of the horrific war on drugs. We challenge the media and policymakers today to listen to the featured speakers who called into the Justice RADIOTHON, and use their personal stories and educational information as an important part of narrative change, with the goal of slashing mass incarceration, reuniting families and strengthening communities.
(Special thanks to WPFW-FM Pacifica radio, Roach & Mertine Brown, Angelyn Frazer and Zerline Hughes for your special efforts in making this historic broadcast a success)