Vote for Justice

“Vote for Justice: An Evening of Empowerment with Artists and Activists,” hosted by the Justice Roundtable coalition was spectacular. The event began with a reception featuring a poignant Art for Justice display; a justice-themed book pavilion made up largely of titles authored by Soros Justice Fellows; the ACLU Smart Justice Initiative’s voter education demonstration website; a social media photo booth with the tag, #JusticeLooksLike; and a well tread red carpet. The theatre program was a fast-moving mosaic of conversation, performance, video and awards, bringing together artists with advocates and the community at large to reflect, celebrate and be reenergized.

The event launched a six month social media impact and civic engagement campaign to inspire the public to individually and collectively imagine what #JusticeLooksLike and to remember those visions when they go to the polls in November and beyond. The campaign challenges celebrity, athlete and policy influencers to help make the vision of justice reform personal and proximate to themselves and their followers by posting to social media words and visions of what #JusticeLooksLike in their lives and motivating others to do the same. We hope such mass action will help normalize progressive narratives on justice system reform and transformation, and translate into concrete policy changes.

During his opening remarks at the program Open Society Foundations President Patrick Gaspard challenged the live and online audience to imagine what #JusticeLooksLike even while we are, in the words of Bryan Stevenson, proximate to injustice. It is our hope that the #JusticeLooksLike campaign will help shape and amplify a narrative change in policies that slash mass incarceration, reunite families, and strengthen communities.

As I stated in my closing remarks, “We want candidates to be empowered to say ‘No more drug war. No more felony disenfranchisement. No more juvenile life without parole. No more money bail system. No more fees and fines. No more collateral consequences. No more warehousing a generation.’ And we want the community, in a non-partisan fashion, to vote for those candidates that lift up justice and vote smart justice.”

Vote For Justice : An Evening of Empowerment with activists and artists at the Newseum on Wednesday, May 9, 2018, in Washington, D.C. (Paul Morigi/AP Images for The Justice Roundtable)

The event combined grassroots, on the ground activists who are making a difference in state and local campaigns with national leaders, policy makers and directly impacted people. For people across the country who were not able to come to DC, the program was live streamed by media partner, MIC.  #VoteforJustice and #JusticeLooksLike trended all evening. That night there were over 90 million impressions on social media, 856 shares of the live stream video and 74K views.  Entire video can be viewed at VOTE FOR JUSTICE 

Because the program was lengthy, use the following guide for the order of appearance of stage participants. Peruse to find segments you are most interested in viewing.

·      Sizzle motivation  – LaTosha Brown, Black Voters Matter Fund, “Hold On” (2:25)

·      Patrick Gaspard, President Open Society Foundations, Opening Remarks (3:29)

·      Co-hosts actress Tichina Arnold and author/commentator Michael Eric Dyson (8:00)

·      Brittany Packnett, co-founder Campaign Zero – “What’s the Cost – Financial Impact & Bail Reform” (14:04)

·      Video – Ms. Alice (one of 3,278 people serving federal life without parole; 79% for drug offense) (19:34)

·      Senator Kamala Harris, Special Remarks (25:02)

·      Performance, Goapele (30:34)

·      Panel  – “Hip Hop, Mass Incarceration & the War on Drugs” CBC Chair Congressman Cedric Richmond, William Cobb, Christina Coleman (42:43)

·      Video – “23 Ways to Die While Black in America” (57:06)

·      Performance – Ka’Ba Akintunde “A Change is Gonna Come; Someday We’ll All be Free” (1:00:03

·      Spoken Word – Reginald Dwayne Betts (1:08:18)

·      Video – School to Prison Pipeline (1:13:43)

·      Panel (1:20:11) – “What’s the Cost – Impact on Families I” with actor Michael K. Williams, Dominic DuPont and Shaun King

·      Video clip from “Raised in the System” (1:30:30)

·      Panel  – “What’s the Cost – Impact on Families II” with Carmen Perez, Jessica Perez and Luis Hernandez (mother and brother of Pedro Hernandez) (1:33:00)

·      Dick Gregory Legacy Justice Award – presented by Nkechi Taifa to daughter Ayanna Gregory (1:46:04)

·      Performance – Ayanna Gregory, “Ballad for My Father” (1:47:38)

·      Testimonial Readings – “What’s the Cost –  Women, Girls and LGBTQ” with 11 year old Naomi Wadler, Jamira Burley, Kemba Smith and Judith Brown Dianis (1:56:41)

·      Discussion “What’s the Cost: Solitary Confinement, Reentry, Redemption” with former NFL Player & Players Coalition member Donte Stallworth with Desmond Meade, Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (2:07:14)

·      Performance – CrossRhodes – Raheem DeVaughn and Wes Felton perform “America” (2:12:45)

·      Video – Annalise Keating Supreme Court argument (How to Get Away With Murder and Scandal)

·      Panel  – “What’s the Cost: Policy, Polls and Prosecutors” Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner and Cook County State’s Atty Kim Foxx with ACLU Campaign for Smart Justice Udi Ofer (2:22:16)

·      Video – ACLU Vote Smart Justice (2:33:09)

·      Congressman Lacy Clay, Remarks in support of Directly Impacted People (2:34:21)

·      Certificates of Excellence to Formerly Incarcerated Leaders, presented by Justice Roundtable leaders Jesselyn McCurdy & Angelyn Frazer (2:35:31)

·      Legacy Justice Award to Harry Belafonte, presented by Michael Eric Dyson (2:39:31)

·      Video – Harry Belafonte acceptance video (2:40:40)

·      Closing Remarks  – Nkechi Taifa, convener of Justice Roundtable and Advocacy Director for Criminal Justice, Open Society Policy Center (2:44:05)

·      Closing Performance – Grammy Award Nominee John Forte (2:48:06)

The Justice Roundtable‘s Vote for Justice event was awesome. We reached over 90 MILLION impressions on social media and 80,000 viewers on our Facebook Live Stream in partnership with Mic.
Check out photos and the live stream video from the event. Time-stamped segments are attached.
You can access photos from the photobooth here:
Larry Krasner Mic Op-Ed video recorded after the event mentions the term: Justice Looks Like…

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