TONIGHT: Sen. Kamala Harris, Michael K. Williams, Michael Eric Dyson, Tichina Arnold, John Forté, DA Larry Krasner, Shaun King and Many More Come Together to Urge Public to “Vote for Justice”
Newseum Event is Open to Press; Media Availability Begins at 6:30 p.m.
WASHINGTON — The Justice Roundtable, a D.C.-based coalition of over 100 justice organizations and advocates advancing criminal justice policy reforms, will tonight host “Vote for Justice: An Evening of Empowerment,” an event that will include a series of discussions with actors, artists, activists, and elected officials around the nation’s criminal justice system. It will also include a number of musical performances. The event is the official launch of the coalition’s social media impact campaign, Vote for Justice.
The Vote for Justice campaign will bring art and culture together with education and civic engagement, encouraging the public to imagine what justice looks like in the months leading up to the midterm elections.
“The Vote for Justice campaign will highlight the overarching political, economic, and human costs of our country’s criminal punishment system,” said Justice Roundtable Convener Nkechi Taifa. “The campaign will challenge celebrity, athlete, and policy influencers to inspire and mobilize their fan bases to ‘vote for justice’ at the polls. We hope to lift up the work of advocates on the ground, who push back on a daily basis against policies and practices that have allowed mass incarceration to flourish.”
As a part of the event, the American Civil Liberties Union Campaign for Smart Justice will preview VoteSmartJustice.org, an interactive online voter education tool for people across the nation to learn where candidates for office in federal, state, and local elections stand on criminal justice reform and ending mass incarceration. The website, which will launch this summer, is part of the ACLU’s non-partisan nationwide initiative to elevate the issue of ending mass incarceration in the 2018 elections, and to inspire Americans to vote for candidates committed to smart justice platforms.
“It’s time to build a new political environment that chooses people over prisons and that rejects the outdated and ineffective ‘tough-on-crime’ politics that created our nation’s mass incarceration crisis,” said Udi Ofer, director of the ACLU Campaign for Smart Justice. “This summer, the ACLU Campaign for Smart Justice will launch a nationwide effort to educate Americans on the importance of voting for candidates committed to ending mass incarceration. This will include a first-of-its-kind website, VoteSmartJustice.org, to provide voters with the tools and information they need to make informed decisions on which elected officials are committed to ending mass incarceration and addressing the egregious racial disparities that plague our broken criminal justice system.”
The event will be hosted by Tichina Arnold and Michael Eric Dyson and will take audience members through a historic exploration of the system, identify the generational and human costs of mass incarceration, and offer solutions to reform our criminal justice system.
There will be an open-press red carpet beginning at 6:30 p.m. In partnership with internet and media company Mic, the full program will be live-streamed, and Mic will spotlight featured participants in opinion columns following the event, bringing the topics of the night to life in video.
Readings and testimonials will be performed by Sen. Kamala Harris, Michael K. Williams, Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), Rep. Lacy Clay (D-La.), State Attorney Kim Foxx (Cook County, Ill.), District Attorney Larry Krasner (Philadelphia), Open Society Foundations President Patrick Gaspard, ACLU Campaign for Smart Justice Director Udi Ofer, Mic Video Columnist Brittany Packnett, Shaun King, Desmond Meade, 11-year-old Naomi Wadler, Carmen Perez, Kemba Smith, Jamira Burley, Jessica Perez, Judith Browne Dianis, former NFL player Donte Stallworth, Charlene Carruthers, and more.
The evening will also feature performances by Grammy-nominated artist John Forté, Goapele, Raheem Devaughn and Wes Felton, Reginald Dwayne Betts, Ayanna Gregory and Ka’Ba Akintunde.
The Justice Roundtable is a broad-based coalition of more than 100 organizations working to reform federal criminal justice laws and policies. Founded in 2002, the Roundtable’s mission is to bring value to the Justice Movement by coordinating the federal legislative and advocacy efforts of the Washington criminal justice advocacy community.
The ACLU Campaign for Smart Justice is an unprecedented, multi-year effort to reduce the U.S. jail and prison population by 50 percent and to combat racial disparities in the criminal justice system. We are working in all 50 states for reforms to usher in a new era of justice in America. The ACLU Campaign for Smart Justice is fighting in the legislatures, the courts, and in the streets to end mass incarceration.
Every month, you'll receive regular roundups of the most important civil rights and civil liberties developments. Remember: a well-informed citizenry is the best defense against tyranny.