JusticeAid was formed in 2013
around a simple but profound idea:

TO PROMOTE JUSTICE THROUGH THE ARTS AND PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT
WELCOME, FRIENDS

In 2013, a group of civil rights advocates and music lovers founded JusticeAid to use music and the arts to raise money to support powerful tipping point organizations fighting injustice and inequality. We have grown to add public conversations to highlight people on the cutting edge of eradicating barriers to justice, especially for underserved members of our society. Now, we seek to expand the reach of our small trumpet to join social justice advocates with civil rights warriors and swell the sound of movements supporting personal freedom and inalienable human rights.

We give dollar for dollar of every contribution we raise in our outstanding concerts to our beneficiaries, and our public conversations are free. It takes money to do this work, and we are a volunteer organization without any paid full-time staff. Please join our merry band, come to our events, and support the work we do with such financial contributions as you are able to deliver, so we can continue advancing the struggle. Your money will be well spent!

—Steve Milliken, Founder and CEO, JusticeAid

THANKS TO YOU, WE’RE MAKING REAL IMPACT.

Each year, JusticeAid organizes concerts, public forums, and other events to educate the public about key civil rights challenges, while raising vital funds to support under-resourced organizations addressing these issues.

To date, JusticeAid has focused our energy on raising awareness about injustices that result in the United States incarcerating 25 percent of the world’s imprisoned when we have only 4 percent of its population. Here are the issues we have trumpeted in New York, New Orleans, and Washington, DC:
  • Defending the Rights of Immigrants (Immigrant Defense Project)
  • 21st Century Debtors’ Prisons (Civil Rights Corps and Essie Justice Group)
  • Caging of Humans with Mental Health Challenges (Mental Health Project of the Urban JusticeCenter)
  • Protecting Children (Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth, National Juvenile Defender Center, Youth Empowerment Project)
  • Freeing the Innocent (Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project, Innocence Project New Orleans)
  • Defending Veterans (Justice for Vets)
  • Expanding Legal Services (DC Law Students in Court)

We produce 1-2 concerts each season, featuring such diverse talent as the Blind Boys of Alabama, Ani DiFranco, and Trombone Shorty. Whether performing in Washington, DC, NYC, or New Orleans, our concert proceeds go to our beneficiaries.

To further our reach, we produce live and streaming discussion panels, social media campaigns, house parties, and other outreach—educating thousands more Americans on justice issues

The mission of JusticeAid is to identify and eradicate barriers to economic justice, personal freedom, and the exercise of inalienable human rights. Using arts as the medium, JusticeAid celebrates and provides financial support to organizations actively engaged in the fight against injustice.

We are grateful to the multi-talented performing artists who grace our stage. Please read their bios and follow their work here.

Learn about our beneficiaries and please share our Application for Support with nonprofits whose work allies with our mission.

Year-round, we rely on your support through general donations, tickets and sponsorships, and friendship. Please stay in touch.

We raise awareness and engage the public through novel outreach programming. Read about our public forums, discussions, and social media campaigns here.

#WHATJUSTICEMEANSTOME

We launched #whatjusticemeanstome, a social media campaign that encourages public engagement of our collective understanding of justice. Dozens of artists, beneficiaries, and activists have reflected on the significance of justice in their own lives.

OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS

JusticeAid boasts a Board of Directors whose experience and accomplishments put them at the forefront of the legal, communications, arts, and activist communities. Our Board members share a passion for charity and helping those most in need, but their abilities to effect positive change don’t hold them back from having a good time. When they aren’t winning major court cases, assisting public defender services, advising nationally renowned nonprofits, and creating art themselves, you can find them at any of our events…usually dancing in the front row.

First row: Steve Anderson, Jennifer Chandler, Paul Dalen, Blair Fishburn

Second row: Brandi Harden, Tazewell Jones, Natalie Jowett, Page Kennedy

Third row: Gary Kohlman, Anne Messner, Stephen Milliken, Heather Pinckney

Fourth row: Preston Pugh, Mark Rochon, Therese Steiner, Jennifer Turner

BOARD MEMBERS

Steve Anderson
Executive VP, ESPN, retired

Bio

Steve Anderson retired after a 35-year career at ESPN and ABC Sports. Steve joined ESPN seven months after the network launched in 1979, and in a few years became a producer. He then served over 25 years in various senior management roles overseeing TV, Radio, and International Production and Operations departments, as well as productions including SportsCenter, Outside the Lines, NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, College Football, and Basketball live events and studio shows. Steve was also a proud member of ESPN’s Editorial Board, the Executive Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and was the Executive Champion of ESPN’s Women’s Employee Group. He was inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2019.

After graduating from The College of the Holy Cross, Steve worked two years as an assistant basketball coach at Fordham University. During those six years on college campuses, his love and appreciation for many different genres of music including Rock, Blues, Jazz, Reggae, Folk, and Country was explored and developed. His passion for all types of music continues today.

Since 2016, it has been Steve’s honor to be a member of this important board dedicated to celebrating and financially supporting organizations engaged in the fight against injustice.

Jennifer Chandler
Managing Director

Bio

Jenny is thrilled to be joining the JusticeAid team working at the intersection of social justice and the arts.  Early in her law career Jenny realized that she was drawn to helping nonprofits do more good in the world. After a short time as an associate at a law firm, Jenny pivoted to focus exclusively on charitable nonprofits, forming her own law practice to represent charities and foundations. As Deputy Director of Probono Partnership’s New Jersey program she founded a statewide pro bono program that provided free legal assistance to hundreds of nonprofits. In 2006, she moved to Washington, DC, to work on a national level to influence capacity building practices and public policies that help charitable nonprofits thrive.

Most recently Jenny served as Vice President of the National Council of Nonprofits where she focused on producing resources to highlight best practices in nonprofit management. In addition to serving as Managing Director for JusticeAid, Jenny is a committed pro bono volunteer for clients seeking political asylum in the United States. A little-known fact is that she was bitten with the musical theater bug in high school and has yet to give up her tap shoes. Jenny is an enthusiastic visitor to art museums, theater, and dance performances, and loves hiking anywhere in the world, including along the trails of the national park near her home in the District of Columbia. Jenny received her law degree from Boston College Law School and is a graduate of Dartmouth College, where she served as captain of the women’s lacrosse team and performed in several theater productions.

Paul Dalen
Owner, Reverse Threads, Inc.

Bio

On September 17th, 1964 at the tender age of 7, Paul Dalen (along with his family and 20,276 other music-loving Midwesterners) witnessed the spectacle of The Beatles performing live in Kansas City, Missouri. It left a lasting impression to say the least.

Paul has spent his entire life involved in different aspects of the music industry: as a musician in his teens and 20s and as a tour manager and touring sound engineer after that. In the 1990s, he worked for Bill Graham Presents in San Francisco, presenting hundreds of shows at The Fillmore and elsewhere. He then moved to New York City (where he resides) to work in artist management and tour management.

Paul currently works as Tour Manager for Bonnie Raitt, manages Grammy-winning record producer Tucker Martine, and stage manages at multi-day outdoor music festivals, including Bonnaroo, Outside Lands SF, Governors Ball NYC, and several others. Using his skills in event production to help JusticeAid move the needle on social justice issues is an honor for Paul. He is committed to the idea of “using privilege to disrupt privilege.”

Blair Fishburn
Operations and Finance Executive

Bio

Blair is an operations and finance executive with extensive government/public sector experience.

He began his professional career with IBM and went on to provide 20 years as the Chief Financial Officer for four nationally prominent transportation organizations.

Moving beyond his roles in strategic leadership and executive financial management, Blair has turned his focus to helping nonprofit organizations achieve long-term financial success and sustainability.

He is VP of the Board of Directors and liaison for state government funding of Hero Dogs, Inc., a Maryland nonprofit that provides highly-trained service dogs to disabled veterans and first responders at no cost for the lifetime of the partnerships. He is also a member of MD Comptroller Peter Franchot’s Business Advisory Council.

Blair’s mission-oriented service enthusiasm dates back to high school in the early 70s, where he volunteered with disabled veterans at the Bronx (NY) Veterans Administration Hospital.

His lifelong love of music includes tickets to “too-numerous-to-count” live concerts, from Richie Havens, Traffic, and New Riders of the Purple Sage to The Band, Dave Matthews, and Sting,

Blair rose through the ranks from Disc Jockey to Program Director at his college radio station (WRTC-FM Trinity College, CT). But the real highlight was freshman year in ’73. Working stage security at a Mahavishnu Orchestra campus concert, he escorted to the stage a then-little-known warm-up band named…Aerosmith!

Blair is both deeply honored and humbled to serve alongside his renowned and highly accomplished JusticeAid Board members, who dedicate their time leveraging art and music to bring action in the fight against injustice.

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Brandi Harden
Harden & Pinckney, PLLC

Bio

Brandi Harden is the Managing Partner at Harden & Pinckney, PLLC, a boutique law firm located in downtown Washington, D.C., that specializes in criminal defense litigation, contract, and divorce and family law. She is also an adjunct professor at Howard University School of Law, where she coaches the Huver I. Brown Trial Advocacy Moot Court Team.

Before Brandi began her private practice, she was a trial attorney at the Public Defender Service, maintaining a homicide caseload and supervising attorneys who litigated general felony cases in D.C. Superior Court.

She was a Chair of the 2004 Criminal Practice Institute and has served on the faculty of the National Student Leadership Conference, the Georgia Honors Program, the Southern Public Defender (SPD) Training Center, the Bronx Defender’s Trial College, and Harvard Law School’s Trial Advocacy Workshop. Prior to her work at SPD, Brandi worked for the Southern Center for Human Rights, the United States Department of Labor, and the United States Department of Justice Antitrust Division Computer and Finance Section. A native Texan, Brandi obtained both her Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctorate from Howard University.

Tazewell Jones
Law Student, the University of Virginia

Bio

Tazewell Jones studied political science at American University and graduated with honors in 2010. When he is free from work in public relations, he chairs JusticeAid’s media and communications committee, helping to publicize the organization’s work and beneficiaries. JusticeAid combines two of Taz’s greatest interests—live music and helping those in need.

Natalie Jowett
Journalist/Videographer

Bio

Natalie Jowett Antley Agoos was born in southern Ohio where, as a toddler, she was taught to choose Pepsi over Coke and to eat her bologna fried. Her dad changed jobs often. After living in Michigan for a year in a town infested with flying squirrels and best known for its large prison, it was on to Tupelo, MS, where Natalie began attending Sunday school with her white, Baptist neighbors. Even as a 6-year-old, Natalie took note of the difference in the ways “good Christians” treated those who were white and those who were not. By second grade her family pulled up stakes again and landed in a small coastal Connecticut town, where Natalie is grateful to have received a quality public school education. Her dream of attending college in New York City came true as did her goal of making a living as a journalist.

After spending a few years writing for The Baltimore Sun (“Light for All”), Natalie stumbled upon sports television and realized that issues of social justice could be shared with a large audience in a very accessible way through telling sports stories. Sports can be a powerful unifier. When viewers root for a team, or an athlete, they are more likely to engage with the human struggles their heroes face. The examples of personal growth and unlikely friendships that result from sporting relationships can carry over into the lives of those who hear the stories, allowing people from polarized viewpoints to find a way to start a conversation.

Through the process of telling the stories of people who came together from different sides of a divide to work as a team, through meeting people who have displayed kindness and courage in the face of terrible suffering and loss, Natalie has been inspired to move deeper into the work for fair play.

Through her involvement with JusticeAid, Natalie has found a new outlet for narratives about organizations that bridge divides and fight for justice. With 20 years of network television experience and multiple Emmy awards behind her, Natalie is thrilled to focus on helping JusticeAid amplify the stories of our beneficiaries and the critical, selfless work they do in various realms to create a more just and fair society where everyone can thrive.

Natalie lives in New Jersey with her husband and two daughters.

Page Kennedy
Attorney

Bio

Page grew up near San Francisco in the 60s and early 70s, where she developed both a life-long love of music and a commitment to social justice.  After college, Page spent a year in Latin America amid poverty and political upheaval, working with an itinerant doctor who cared for the poor in Bolivia. Inspired by these experiences, she returned to the States to attend NYU Law School.

For the last 25 years, Page has worked on justice issues in the nation’s capital. She defended indigent criminal defendants as a lawyer with the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia and  worked as a labor lawyer for Bredhoff & Kaiser representing the Steelworkers, the AFL-CIO, and other unions trying to improve conditions for working people. In between stints as a practicing lawyer, she played a key role in launching, fundraising for, and directing the activities of nonprofit organizations addressing environmental, educational, and social justice issues, including the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project, Green Spaces for DC, D.C. Law Students in Court, and the D.C. Public Schools.

Page continues to satisfy her love of music with frequent trips to New Orleans and Austin.

Gary Kohlman, Treasurer
General Counsel,  National Basketball Players Association

Bio

Gary Kohlman arrived at the University of Michigan on a trumpet scholarship and with a love for music. He left years later with a passion for social justice causes. Gary has been fortunate to live a life in which both passions have been fulfilled. As a young public defender in the District of Columbia, he represented poor people in countless trials and twice before the Supreme Court. In the evenings he moonlighted as the manager of a rock band.

Gary currently works as General Counsel at the National Basketball Players Association. Prior to his work at NBPA, he worked at a law firm that helps working men and women fight for better working conditions by forming unions. He played a major role in the recent hearing that led to the groundbreaking Labor Board decision giving the Northwestern football team the right to vote on forming a union. At the same time, Gary manages D.C.’s premier country rock band, The Morrison Brothers Band. JusticeAid is a perfect fit for Gary, combining as it does the use of the arts, particularly music, to advance social justice issues.

Ann Messner
Consultant

Bio

Anne Messner has worked as a Vice President in Foreign Exchange Sales & Trading with HSBC and Jefferies in New York City, and as Executive Director of the non-profit organization The Roots of Music in New Orleans. In addition, she has consulted with various businesses in real estate and retail in New Orleans, assisted the producer for a film, obtained a yoga instructor certification, and continued her education at Tulane University.

Anne was born in Boston, MA. and spent her youth in New York, California, and Kansas. She went on to graduate from Wake Forest University with a B.S. in Business and a minor in Spanish. Anne moved to New York City after college and began her career with one of the top teams in the Global Markets Sales and Trading industry. She specialized in Foreign Exchange Institutional Sales and was quickly promoted from Assistant to Vice President during her eight years with HSBC.

At The Roots of Music, a free after school music education program for 9-14-year-old youth in New Orleans that seeks to empower students through music and mentorship, Anne served as a board member then Executive Director for 3 years. As the Executive Director, Anne focused on increasing the visibility and transparency of the organization. By establishing strategic partnerships and performance opportunities, Anne deepened the connection between supporters and the community served. She guided the non-profit through many challenges as it grew from a grassroots program into a program with long-term organizational sustainability in a safer new home in the Marigny neighborhood.

Anne first encountered JusticeAid in 2015 when students from The Roots of Music opened for Ani DiFranco at a House of Blues concert to benefit Innocence Project New Orleans. In 2019 Anne was asked to join the board and is now co-head of Institutional Advancement with Kim Coaxum. Anne is passionate about JusticeAid’s mission to provide resources to grassroots organizations in pursuit of equality in social justice issues such as immigration reform and voter empowerment. Anne’s focus will be to use her fundraising experience and financial expertise to increase the impact of JusticeAid grants.

Hon. Stephen G. Milliken
Founder and CEO
Judge, Superior Court of the District of Columbia, Retired

Bio

Stephen Milliken served as a Judge for more than 20 years in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. As an undergraduate at Harvard, he worked at Phillips Brooks House (Prison Committee), assisting court-involved children released into community-based treatment—a program that cut re-arrest rates by nearly half. After college, he signed onto the night shift at a reform school in upstate New York to explore corrections alternatives. Following law school and a stint at the Department of Justice, he continued his commitment to public defense and legal services as a Fellow at Georgetown University Law Center and as a founder/partner of Milliken, Van Susteren, & Canan. Steve also taught for over 20 years at Harvard Law’s Trial Advocacy Workshop.

Steve is thrilled to be promoting justice through the arts, especially by the music he loves. As a judge, he created the “Juried Art Show,” a competition for District of Columbia public school art students held in the Jury Room of the Superior Court, and judged by, among others, the Dean of the Corcoran School of Art. With 10,000 potential jurors viewing their work, the students received great exposure, and winners earned scholarships to continue their studies.

Now that Steve has retired from the bench, he has turned to painting at the Washington Studio School. He is the driving force behind the founding of JusticeAid to leverage the community-building power of art and music to transform awareness into action in the fight against injustice.

Heather Pinckney
Pinckney & Harden, PLLC

Bio

Heather’s background is in civil rights. She has worked for TranAfrica, the Educational Opportunities Section of the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice, and The Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless. Most recently, she served as the Deputy Chief of the Trial Division for the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, assisting in the management and day-to-day operations of the trial division and supervising more than 60 attorneys litigating criminal cases in the District of Columbia Superior Court. Heather is currently a Partner in the law firm Harden & Pinckney. A native Washingtonian, she received her B.A. from Marymount University and her J.D. from George University School of Law.

Preston Pugh
Member, Miller & Chevalier

Bio

Preston Pugh is a native of Chicago, home to more musical “firsts” than anyone can count.  Music has had a central role in his life: it was jazz that brought his family to the city during the Great Migration, house music that brought him and wife together in D.C. for the first time, and he even had his own short-lived stint as a drummer, until keeping a different beat going on the snare and bass proved to be too much (ugh).

Even more important, social, economic and criminal justice are central parts of his life.  From taking part in sit-ins at Cornell, leading union organizing campaigns in Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi for ACTWU (now UNITE-HERE), helping to teach criminal justice to high school youth in New York City, and today serving as a mentor to underrepresented youth, Preston has been committed to helping others who have been unfairly targeted—and sometimes equally worse, forgotten—by our system.

Preston is excited to be a part of promoting justice through the arts, and continues to share his love of “real” music with his two teenage daughters.  Now a resident of the Washington D.C. area, he is a trial and appellate lawyer at Miller & Chevalier.  He is honored to be a part of the JusticeAid board.

Mark Rochon, President
Member and Chair, White Collar Defense, Miller & Chevalier

Bio

Mark Rochon is a citizen of three cities: Detroit, where he was born; Washington, D.C., where he lives; and New Orleans, which holds his heart—and all three have forged his commitment to using music and the arts to promote justice. As a high school student, he listened to Motown, lived through the 1967 Detroit riots, and raised money for Mother Waddles and her mission to provide food, hope, and dignity to the disadvantaged in Detroit.

At 18 years, Mark enlisted in the Navy (he ended up on a nuclear submarine), which enabled him to attend college on the GI Bill. He graduated from Stanford Law School and then moved to the District of Columbia to work at the D.C. Public Defender Service, where he represented the poor and tried countless cases. During these years, Mark continued his love of music, including D.C.’s indigenous Go-Go music.

Mark fell in love with New Orleans when he attended his first jazz festival in 1998. As a Member at a major D.C. law firm, he donates his time and money to indigent defense in “NOLA” and to local justice and music organizations. A highlight of his life was an appearance on New Orleans radio station WWOZ—an auspicious beginning, perhaps, to a second career as a blogger of New Orleans music and esoterica.

Therese Steiner
President, Therese Steiner Consulting

Bio

Two events in 1968 left a deep impression on Therese Steiner: Riots in her hometown of Cincinnati and her first live music concert—Aretha Franklin rocking the house down at Cincinnati Gardens.

Therese is thrilled to join the JusticeAid Board, combining her love of the arts and a desire to have an impact in the area of social justice. Therese comes to JusticeAid through ClassAct—a non-profit made up of members of Therese and Steve Milliken’s class at Harvard dedicated to social change. After Harvard, Therese spent two years at art school in Paris (where she got her true education), before returning to the states to complete graduate work in Creative Writing at the Columbia University Graduate School of the Arts.

When she’s not dancing, Therese is a consultant with media, entertainment, and early-stage companies. Clients include ESPN, FX, Showtime, seriouseats.com, among others. Previously, Therese was Deputy Director of the Production Center at WNET/ Thirteen—public television in New York, where she oversaw programs such as the MacNeil/Lehrer Newshour, Great Performances, Nature, and American Masters. She was a Field Producer on the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning series Heritage: Civilization and the Jews with Abba Eban.

In addition to serving on the JusticeAid Board, Therese is a Founding Board member of ClassACT, on the Executive Board of Classic Stage Company, and is Board Chair Emeritus and Co-Founder of GlobalGirl Media—a non-profit teaching journalism and leadership skills to girls from under-resourced communities, empowering them to have a voice in the global media landscape.

Jennifer Turner
Talent Manager, Filmmaker, Teacher

Bio

Jennifer Turner, raised in Washington, D.C., credits her high school teacher’s social justice class with shaping her personal approach to social issues from a young age. Her instructor was notorious for posing the question, “Where are your wounds? Was there nothing worth fighting for?” Those principles remain with her as she looks to combine both her personal and professional background to further the mission of Justice Aid. After graduating from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, Jennifer accepted a position working at Def Jam Records, where she worked in A&R, tour production, marketing, and talent management. Since then she’s booked both domestic and international tours, co-developed artist mobile apps’, created  e-commerce stores to sell artist merchandise globally, and negotiated film and television roles. She now works in a management capacity for multi-platinum hip-hop artist, DMX, and as an indie filmmaker. Simultaneously since moving back to Washington, D.C., Jennifer also works at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts.