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So far Pamela Garlick has created 34 blog entries.

Paine the Poet, “Poet of the People”

Paine The Poet was raised in Columbus, Ohio, and currently resides in Washington D.C. After serving an 8-year sentence within the Virginia Department of Corrections, he began to use poetry as a method of healing. It was through this method of coping he discovered that many others have suffered similar trauma.

Using the gift of poetry, the formerly incarcerated artist articulates distinctly emotional experiences in the criminal system through crisis intervention and youth mentoring. Also, among his works, he has taught various workshops, after-school programs, and panel discussions dealing with such topics as mass incarceration, prison reform, social justice, disenfranchisement, and education.

“I speak peace but I’m still on the edge …I make sound from words that turn to art, lines spill out my head…”

—Paine the Poet

POET OF THE PEOPLE, Your Content Goes Here

Abena Koomson-Davis

Abena Koomsom-Davis is a performer, educator, and wordsmith. She is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, where she earned a B.A. in Liberal Arts, and also of Teachers College, Columbia University, where she earned a Masters in Education Leadership. Abena was an original cast member of the hit Broadway musical FELA!, which earned three Tony awards. She originated the role of Funmilayo Anikulapo Kuti in the Off-Broadway production at the Baryshnikov Arts Center. Abena plays in several notable bands, including the cappella trio Saheli, the Cool Rulers, and Van Davis, where she has been the featured vocalist for over a decade and had the honor of performing with Stevie Wonder.

Tiny Desk (NPR) Concert Submission

Abena recently became musical director of the Women’s March Resistance Revival Chorus and has been featured as part of their monthly Resistance Revival Music Series. She currently serves as Ethics Chair of the middle school division at Ethical Culture Fieldston School, where she teaches ethics and social justice to middle and upper school students. Abena is married to world-renowned jazz trombonist Steve Davis.

Abena’s approach to life is polyphonic. Her poem Blacksmith Orchestra is her anthem. JusticeAid is thrilled to welcome Abena at the Public Forum on Racism and the Criminalization of Poverty: 21st Century Debtors’ Prisons in the Age of Mass Incarceration, to be held on November 11th at Riverside Church in New York City. Learn about the event and please RSVP here.

The Women’s March presents The Resistance Revival Chorus

20th Century Debtors’ Prisons

A single mom laments her son’s 20-month stay in a county jail. “He’s just sitting there. No trial, no nothing,” Another is driven to secure a loan at 150 percent interest to pay the bail of a loved one. And yet another mom resorts to living in her car with her kids.*

Sadly, these are not isolated cases. Thousands of Americans find their lives and those of their families forever altered, languishing in prison for misdemeanor offenses because they cannot afford bail or pay attorney fees.


“JusticeAid is honored to shine a light on our two 2018 beneficiaries,” states Stephen Milliken, Founder & CEO of JusticeAid. “They are effecting systematic change and legislative reform to eliminate the criminalization of poverty and 21st-century debtors’ prisons across the nation.


One in four women in the United States has a loved one in jail. For women of color, it’s one out of two. The emotional and financial toll falls predominantly on these women according to Gina Clayton, Executive Director and Founder of Essie Justice Group.  Her organization brings together women with incarcerated loved ones.

“Our mission is to empower these women to advocate for themselves, their families, and their communities, and mobilize to change the bail bond system that dramatically impacts their lives and communities.” —Gina Clayton


Alec Karakatsanis, Founder & Executive Director of the Civil Rights Corps, feels similarly on the need for bail reform. To counter the injustices, Civil Rights Corps brings aggressive reform litigation around the country on behalf of impoverished and otherwise marginalized criminal defendants.

The results are impressive: historic local victories with national implications. In the past few months, 12,272 people were released from the Harris County Jail in Houston as result of a federal injunction filed by Civil Rights Corps. In Alabama, the federal district court granted CRC’s motion for preliminary injunction in their bail lawsuit v. Cullman County, which will stop the County from detaining poor people who cannot afford to post bond as a condition of pretrial release.

“The bail system is one of those ways in which the processing of human beings has become so corrupt that we now have 450,000 human beings every single night in this country in jail cells just because they can’t make a monetary payment.” —Alec Karakatsanis

The statistics are compelling, yet so, too, are the people behind them: human lives caught in a system that frequently forgets about them. Join JusticeAid in making a difference.

Watch Civil Rights Corps’ video here and check out its impressive docket of cases.

Essie is building a membership of fierce race and gender justice advocates. Check out this video and groundbreaking report, Because She’s Powerful.*

If you can afford to make bail, you’re suffering. If you can’t afford to make bail, you’re suffering.

Tanea Lunsford, Essie Justice Group Member, Because She’s Powerful

Racism and the Criminalization of Poverty: 21st Century Debtors’ Prisons in the Age of Mass Incarceration will present multiple perspectives on key issues. The forum will begin with a presentation by ACLU Deputy Director Jeffery Robinson from his multimedia project Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America. Johnny Perez, the Director of U.S. Prison Programs at National Religious Campaign Against Torture and a former inmate confined to solitary confinement at Rikers Island, will serve on the panel along with beneficiaries Alex Karakatsanis and Gina Clayton. Performing artist Abena Koomsom-Davis will sing an anthem to Justice.

The event is free and open to the public and will be live-streamed through JusticeAid and The Riverside Church media channels. Follow the event at #JusticeAidForum.

Learn more about the project and reserve tickets here.


Three days later, JusticeAid returns to City Winery on Tuesday, November 13th, for a celebration of the 300th anniversary of New Orleans Concert for Justice featuring New Orleans clarinetist, bandleader, composer, and educator Dr. Michael White and his Original Liberty Jazz Band. Legendary gospel and blues singer Topsy Chapman will also take the stage.

Please remember that 100 percent of ticket sales will support our beneficiaries, Civil Rights Corps and Essie Justice Group! Learn more about the concert, buy tickets and sponsorships, and follow the event at #JusticeAidForum.

*According to a 2015 study entitled “Who Pays: The True Cost of Incarceration on Families,” 80% of individuals who paid court-related costs on behalf of an incarcerated loved one were women. The same study found that 65% of families that assume a loved one’s incarceration-related costs struggle to provide food, housing, utilities, transportation, or clothing for themselves.


Randall Horton

Letters from the Locked Away

Randall Horton, Winner, American Book Award

Randall Horton past honors include the Bea Gonzalez Poetry Award, a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship in Literature, and most recently GLCA New Writers Award for Creative Nonfiction for Hook: A Memoir, published by Augury Books/ Brooklyn Art Press. His previous work include poetry collections: The Definition of PlaceThe Lingua France of Ninth Street, both with Main Street Rag and Pitch Dark Anarchy (Triquarterly/Northwestern University Press). Horton is an Associate Professor of English at the University of New Haven. He is a member of the experimental performance group Heroes Are Gang Leaders which recently received the 2018 American Book Award in Oral Literature. Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, he now resides in East Harlem.


Law Students in Court

Almost 50 years ago, a consortium of District of Columbia law schools created Law Students in Court (LSC) as a response to the crisis in legal services for the poor. LSIC is the oldest legal services nonprofit in the District of Columbia.

LSIC is making justice a reality for low-income residents while training and inspiring the next generation of social justice advocates.
LSIC Website

Innocence Project New Orleans

Photo above features exonerated Kia Stewart courtesy of IP-NO.

In Louisiana and Mississippi, the two states with the highest incarceration rates in the world, Innocence Project New Orleans (IPNO) is a national leader in the fight for freedom. Their leadership and growth have made them the second-largest non-law school clinic, free-standing innocence project in the nation. They have an international reputation for winning exonerations, both in the minority of cases where DNA testing can prove innocence and in more difficult cases where DNA does not exist or has been destroyed. As of August 2015, IPNO has won the freedom or exoneration of 26 innocent men who collectively served 535 years behind bars before IPNO cleared their name. 

IPNO’s Website

National Juvenile Defender Center

The mission of the National Juvenile Defender Center is to promote justice for all children by ensuring excellence in juvenile defense. For a child, access to justice at its very core requires access to counsel. The NJDC was founded to ensure that every child facing prosecution in juvenile court is represented by a specialized attorney trained to defend children. Fair and reasonable treatment of youth in delinquency courts is virtually impossible without the availability of specialized and highly skilled counsel advocating for the expressed legal interests of the child client. Nearly 50 years after the US Supreme Court proclaimed children have a constitutional right to counsel, too many youth enter into blind plea agreements without consulting an attorney and without having a complete picture of the lifelong, direct, and collateral impacts of juvenile court adjudications, including incarceration.

Read Huffington Post article Defending the Childhood of Brendan Dassey, written by Executive Directors Kim Dvorchak of NJDC and Jody Kent Lavy of The Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth.

NJDC’s Website

Photo: Courtesy the MacArthur Foundation


Dr. Michael White

Dr. Michael White (born November 29, 1954 in New Orleans) is not only a virtuoso clarinettist, but also an acclaimed musicologist, accomplished composer, veteran educator, and historian of jazz and New Orleans music. White has been at the forefront of traditional New Orleans jazz for the past 25 years. His records continually push the music forward without leaving the past behind, and his writings and tribute concerts are incisive, interesting, and inspiring.

Dr. Michael White is an accomplished, multi-faceted New Orleans-based clarinetist, bandleader, composer, musicologist, jazz historian, and educator widely regarded as one of the leading authorities and culture-bearers of traditional New Orleans jazz music. He has performed in over two dozen foreign countries, played on over 50 recordings, received countless awards, made multiple national television appearances, and been featured in major media publications.

Michael White continues an active career in a variety of capacities, and his collection of awards, accolades, and accomplishments is ever-growing. These include receiving the rank of Chevalier of Arts & Letters from the French government in 1995, being awarded the 2008 Heritage Fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts (the nation’s highest award in the traditional and folk arts), and being named the 2010 Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Humanist of the Year. He has been awarded Clarinetist of the Year by Offbeat Magazine in 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016, in addition to winning Best Traditional Jazz Artist of the Year from Gambit Magazine’s Big Easy Awards in 2010.

With a career now spanning over three decades, Michael White continues to grow his musical legacy as one of the authoritative figures on New Orleans Jazz Music, and one of the finest clarinetists to walk the streets of the crescent city.

More on Dr. White

Justice for Vets

Justice For Vets is a nonprofit based in Virginia, and is a division of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals. They are dedicated to transforming the way in which the justice system interacts with veterans. They strive to ensure that veterans treatment courts are within reach of all veterans in need, and they provide training and technical assistance so that communities can serve veterans suffering from mental health disorders, trauma, and substance use. Through their work, they keep veterans out of jail and prison. They have helped to establish over 200 veterans treatment courts, trained over 3,000 court staff, and conducted 16 volunteer veteran mentor boot camp trainings for 1,000 veteran mentors from across 30 states.

“JusticeAid is the hardest working, most generous, and committed fundraising partner I’ve had the privilege of working with in my 20 years of non-profit work. In one night, our JusticeAid-hosted concert raised more money and public awareness than a year of intensive activity. I feel blessed to have been selected by JusticeAid to further our work with veterans and I urge any cause to jump at the opportunity to join forces with them.”

West Huddleston, CEO, National Association of Drug Court Professionals
Justice for Vets Website

To raise awareness of this important cause, JusticeAid hosted An Evening with Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews and Shemekia Copeland at the Warner Theatre on Sunday, September 14th in Washington, D.C.


Gideon’s Promise

Formerly the Southern Public Defender Training Center, Atlanta-based nonprofit Gideon’s Promise aims to transform the criminal justice system by building a movement of public defenders who provide equal justice for marginalized communities. Public defenders are crucial to the realization of equal justice in America; yet, they are a group that is often under-supported. Gideon’s Promise provides comprehensive training and community support to sustain the passion of public defenders, so that they may continue to be voices for the voiceless.

JusticeAid partnered with Gideon’s Promise in 2013. See event page here.

Gideon’s Promise Website

Pictured in banner Jonathan Rapping, President of Gideon’s Promise. Photo courtesy of Georgia Center for Nonprofits. 


Civil Rights Corps

Civil Rights Corps brings cutting-edge class-action litigation all over the country to challenge systemic injustice in the American legal system. They confront the money bail system and the criminalization of poverty, work to ensure that all people have access to quality defense through their Indigent Defense Initiative, and defy abuse of power by criminal prosecutors through their Prosecutor Project. Through all of their work, Civil Rights Corps aims to resensitize American society in this era of mass human caging, and seeks the creation of a legal system that promotes equality and human freedom. Civil Rights Corps has already won victories over unconstitutional bail systems in jurisdictions in Texas, Georgia, Louisiana, Tennessee, and more, as well as challenged debtors’ prisons across the South. Civil Rights Corps succeeds because of their commitment to partnering with community-based organizations in each of the localities where they take action, ensuring that local solutions take shape based on local input.

Civil Rights Corps Website

Photo banner courtesy of CRC website.


Essie Justice Group

Essie Justice Group is an Oakland, California-based organization with the mission to harness the collective power of women with incarcerated loves ones to end mass incarceration’s harm to women and communities. that mobilizes women with incarcerated loved ones to take on the rampant injustices created by mass incarceration, and they are helping lead the campaign for bail reform in California. Essie’s award-winning Healing to Advocacy Model brings women together to heal, build collective power, and drive social change. Essie is building a membership of fierce advocates for race and gender justice—including Black and Latinx women, formerly and currently incarcerated women, transwomen, and gender non-conforming people. Through Essie, they are empowered, and they lead: they take on campaigns, provide support to their peers, participate in actions, and partner with a national community of activists and advocates to build a more compassionate and just society.

Essie Website

Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth


he Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth’s vision is to help create a society that respects the dignity and human rights of children through a justice system that operates with consideration of the child’s age, provides youth with opportunities to return to community, and bars the imposition of life without parole for people under age 18.

  • The US is the only country in the world that sentences children to life in prison without parole. The majority of people serving this sentence were exposed to violence as children and endured trauma that went untreated. Black youth receive life-without-parole sentences at a per capita rate that is 10 times that of white youth.
  • The Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth (CFSY) uses a multi-pronged approach to end the practice of sentencing children to life in prison without parole, which includes legislative advocacy, litigation, public education, and coalition building.
  • Since its founding in 2009, the CFSY has tripled the number of states banning life without parole sentences for children, played a major role in three U.S. Supreme Court wins, and established a diverse national coalition to demonstrate the broad base of support for reform.
  • The CFSY is home to a first-of-its-kind national advocacy network comprised of individuals incarcerated for murder as children, who served time, and are now living productive lives and giving back to their communities. These individuals exemplify children’s capacity for growth and change, and demonstrate why we should never give up on our children for life.

Read Huffington Post article Defending the Childhood of Brendan Dassey, written by Executive Directors Kim Dvorchak of NJDC and Jody Kent Lavy of The Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth.

CFSY’s Website

Topsy Chapman

Topsy grew up in Kentwood, Louisiana. She became partial to music at an early age due to the fact that her father was a vocal music instructor. After high school, she moved to New Orleans where she developed a gospel group, The Chapmans, which performed at the New Orleans Jazz Festival, for many clubs and organizations in and around the New Orleans area, and also for German radio in Cologne and Bohn Germany. She composed and arranged original material for the group.

As one of the original cast members of the of Broadway hit “One Mo’ Time,” Topsy Chapman gained national and international recognition. The show played New York’s Village Gate, London’s West End, and toured most of Europe. The cast album was nominated for a Grammy.  Topsy constructed the vocal harmony arrangements for the show.

Ms. Chapman has toured all of Europe, Asia, and Australia, including France, Germany, Holland, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, England, Spain, Bermuda, the Bahamas,  Finland, Denmark, and Norway. In addition, she has traveled the Americas and Canada performing gospel, traditional and Dixieland Jazz. She has performed for the Delta Steamboat Company on their cruise lines and has toured with the Magnolia Jazz Band and the Blues Serenaders, with whom she recorded. She has also recorded with artist such as Willie Humphrey, Chester Zardis, Alvin Stardust, Geoff Bull, Louie Nelson, Fred Coleman, Orange Kellin, The New Orleans Jazz Ladies (vol. 1&2), Jeanette Kimball, Lars Edegran, Jim Cullum Jazz Band, New Orleans Rascals from Japan, and Nicholas Payton. She has performed with the most talented Butch Thompson, Dick Hyman, Herb Ellis, and Bob Haggart.

She performed for the Democratic Party, the Queen of England, and the Duke of Edinburgh and appeared on Australia’s “Midday” show. She has also appeared on several occasions on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion.”

In addition, Topsy has appeared in publications such as Time, Ebony and Jet magazines and has received rave reviews in the New York Times, New York Post, Daily News, Variety, Times Picayune, and Lagniappe publications. She recently toured Japan with her group the Chapman Singers, currently known as Solid Harmony and John Brunious’ Jazz Band.

Ms. Chapman has charmed and endeared herself to crowds all over the world with her authentic style and clear melodious voice.  To hear her is a pure delight for people of all ages.

Topsy’s Website
Gospel and blues singer Topsy Chapman sang the unforgettable Roll Jordan Roll in the Oscar-winning film Twelve Years a Slave. 

Cécile McLorin Salvant

Jazz great Wynton Marsalis said of 28-year-old recording artist Cécile McLorin Salvant, “You get a singer like this once in a generation or two.” She’s been compared to Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, and Ella Fitzgerald.  Her most recent album is Dreams and Daggers. Known for her wide range in pitch and emotion, vocalization, and style of music, she placed first in the 2010 Thelonious Monk Vocal Competition, has won two Grammy Awards and an Independent Spirit Award, and has been profiled in The New Yorker. 

Cécile’s Website

Paula Cole

Described by Rolling Stone as “An extraordinary songwriter with a gorgeous voice,” Paula is the first woman in history to solely produce and receive the Best Producer Grammy Award nomination for her work, This Fire. That same year, she won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist.  She has released 9 albums, including her 2017Ballads, with a powerful rendition of Billie Holiday’s “God Bless the Child.”

Paula’s Website

Dom Flemons

D om Flemons is a Grammy Award-winning musician, singer-songwriter, and slam poet. Carrying on the songster tradition, Flemons strives to mix traditional music such as ragtime, spirituals, and strong band music with a contemporary approach to create new sounds.  He is the co-founder of the Carolina Chocolate Drops and recently performed at Carnegie Hall for A Tribute to Lead Belly, as well as at the opening ceremonies for the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

Dom’s Website

Marshall Crenshaw

Detroit native Marshall Crenshaw is an American musician, singer, and songwriter best known for his song “Someday, Someway,” a Top 40 hit. Original songs from his over 16 albums and numerous EPs have been widely recorded by other major artists. Early in his career, he played Buddy Holly, an early influence, in the film La Bamba, and he also appeared in Peggy Sue Got Married, as well as his own special On Stage at World Cafe Live: Marshall Crenshaw.

Marshall’s webpage


Somi, the American born jazz chanteuse of Rwandan and Ugandan descent, is a gift to American and world music. In addition to founding a nonprofit organization and serving as a TED Global Fellow, Somi writes and records music that tells the often ignored stories of diverse ethnic communities, reflecting on crucial issues like transnationalism, cultural differences, assimilation, and gentrification. Learn more about Somi and her music through Facebook.

Somi’s Website


Dar Williams

Dar Williams is no stranger to the stage, having been described by The New Yorker as “…one of America’s very best singer-songwriters.” In a career spanning more than two decades, and marked most recently with the release of her ninth studio album, Emerald, Williams sings about her experiences encountering a range of important sociopolitical issues, from gender and race to LGBTQ rights and much more. In addition to crafting her own folk-focused sound, Williams is a steadfast activist for equality in all forms. Follow Dar Williams on Facebook for more.

Dar’s Website

Ruby Amanfu

Ruby Amanfu doesn’t need a Berklee College of Music education to prove that she’s an incomparable talent, but she does have that, too. In addition, Amanfu has worked alongside Beyonce, Jack White, Brittany Howard, and Chris Thile, just to name a few. Her sound is as eclectic as her own background. Amanfu was born in Ghana, raised in Nashville, and has performed throughout the world. Listen to Ruby’s soulful and deeply sincere sound and you’ll hear hints of pop, soul, R&B, and more. Follow Ruby Amanfu on Twitter here.

Ruby’s Website

Martha Redbone

Martha Redbone maintains a transatlantic music career between London and New York City, and her musical releases are even more geographically diverse. Redbone’s past recordings and writings chronicle everything from her family’s origins in Appalachia to Native American musical traditions. Follow the self-proclaimed neo-soul singer-songwriter on Facebook to hear her sound for yourself.

Martha’s Website


Ozomatli is a multi-­genre, multi­cultural Grammy-winning band that has released eight critically acclaimed albums over the past 18 years. Shifting gears from electro­cumbia to garage rock, hip­hop, and Pérez Prado mambo, Ozomatli infuses a DJ party mix with dynamic live band chops and attitude.

Bursting onto the L.A. stage with their first album in June 1998, Ozomatli capitalized on being the talk of the live music scene, particularly their show-stopping gigs at venues such as Dragonfly, Opium Den, and The Viper Room. By 1999, they were touring with Carlos Santana and soon won the Grammy for “Best Latin Rock/Alternative Album” for 2001’s Embrace The Chaos.

They repeated history in 2004 by winning again in the same category for their album Street Signs, which also picked up the Latin Grammy for “Mejor Album de Musica Alternativa” in 2005. In the band’s nearly 20 years together, they have toured internationally, collaborated with the Boston and New York Pops orchestras, and served as Cultural Ambassadors for the U.S. State Department.

When they were formed, Ozomatli symbolized an emerging, multicultural Los Angeles. Over the years Ozomatli has become the ultimate jam band, pulling together the strands of creativity into a unique rhythmic machine. Learning to live together, like the city they represent, has made their music even stronger.

Ozomatli’s Website

Ozomatli recently became the first band to be asked to speak at the TED Conference, sharing their ideas about music and identities in the global age.

We’ve worked hard to create a space for ourselves, our own place in the sun, so to speak,” said guitarist and composer Raúl Pacheco. “We’re coming out with this new record to remind people that we still care about making new music.

Ozomatli, Your Content Goes Here

The Roots of Music

The Roots of Music empowers the youth of New Orleans through music education, academic support, and mentoring, while preserving and promoting the unique musical and cultural heritage of the city.  Co-founded in 2007 by Derrick Tabb, snare drummer for the Grammy Award-winning Rebirth Brass Band and 2009 CNN Hero, Roots serves kids ages 9-14 from low-income households across the city and strives to use music as a tool for teaching students the skills they need to lead positive and productive lives.  The year-round after-school program provides music classes and performance opportunities, academic support and homework assistance, instruments and maintenance, round-trip transportation, and daily hot meals to its students five days a week, 12 months a year, all free of charge.  The Roots of Music serves more than 150 children from over 40 different schools throughout Orleans Parish each year.

See Website

Hurray for the Riff Raff

Hurray For The Riff Raff is Alynda Lee Segarra, but in many ways, it’s much more than that: it’s a young woman leaving her indelible stamp on the American folk tradition. If you’re listening to her new album, Small Town Heroes, odds are you’re part of the riff-raff, and these songs are for you.

Alynda’s Website

Trouble Funk

Trouble Funk, a musical group born on the streets of Washington, D.C., is synonymous with the emergence of the non-stop, percussion-driven, best seen live, experience the party, audience participatory call and response, grassroots, homegrown music called Go-Go. For the past 30 years, these worldwide ambassadors of THE musical genre Go-Go—a distant but older cousin of Hip-Hop—have taken its sound from the gritty streets of D.C. to the clubs of the nation, and on to music festivals around the world.

Ambassadors of Go-Go

The band and their sound—developed by mixing an uproarious blend of swinging, up-tempo 70’s funk with a 60’s style horn section, heavily laden with infectious percussion, topped off with booming vocals and the genre’s trademark call and response—burst onto the music scene in 1978. Their original writing team includes bandleader, bassist, and vocalist Tony “Big Tony” Fisher, keyboardists Robert “Syke Dyke” Reed and James Avery, and trumpet player Taylor Reed.

Most recently, Big Tony and Trouble Funk were featured in the HBO series “Foo Fighters, Sonic Highways.”

Trouble Funk, with their raw, party-driven style, captured the attention of music enthusiasts of a variety of genres and catapulted onto the national and international music scene. They frequently toured with notable punk rock acts Minor Threat and the Big Boys while gracing the stage on major music festivals with legendary artists Curtis Mayfield, Parliament Funkadelic, Red Hot Chili Peppers, UB40, Def Leppard, and Fishbone, to name a few. The band also recorded with Kurtis Blow and appeared in his video, “I’m Chillin.”

From 1986 to 1988, Trouble Funk toured extensively throughout the United States, playing legendary venues such as Madison Square Garden and the Apollo Theatre and on worldwide stages with multiple stops in Brussels, Paris, Amsterdam, London, Spain, Nice, Denmark, Germany, and Japan. A stop in Switzerland included a performance at the highly regarded Montreux Jazz Festival. In 1994 Trouble Funk returned to Japan for an extended tour.

Today, Trouble Funk still tours frequently, playing a variety of festivals while their music has been kept relevant through sampling. “Pump Me Up” is one of the most sampled tracks of all time, appearing in more than 70 songs by various artists including Will Smith, Kurtis Blow, Grandmaster Melle Mel and the Furious Five, M/A/R/R/S, Guy, Public Enemy, 2 Live Crew, George Clinton, Vanilla Ice, EPMD, Run-DMC, George Michael and Black “Pump Me Up” is also featured in Style Wars and the fictional R&B radio station WildStyle in the game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.

Most recently, Big Tony and Trouble Funk were featured in the HBO series Foo Fighters, Sonic Highways where Dave Grohl reveals that Trouble Funk was a big influence on his musical career. In fact, so much so that Dave asked Trouble to appear on stage with Foo Fighters and other notables for the 4th of July Celebration Concert in Washington, DC’s RFK Stadium.

“Pump Me Up” is one of the most sampled tracks of all time.


Blind Boys of Alabama


Five-time Grammy Award and Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winners Blind Boys of Alabama are the heart and soul of their home state’s rich musical history. Since the original members first sang together over 70 years ago, their stirringly soulful sound has been celebrated by critics, musicians, and fans alike for its sincere, down-to-earth depiction of traditional American gospel music. And for having persevered through monumentally transformative national events like the American Civil Rights Movement, the Blind Boys of Alabama are irreplaceable storytellers.

President Barack Obama isn’t the first American president to honor the Blind Boys of Alabama as national treasures. President Clinton and both past Presidents Bush hosted the Blind Boys as guests of the White House in recognition of their accomplishments to the arts. The Blind Boys of Alabama have shared the stage with a diverse lineup of American music legends ranging from Bob Dylan to Smokey Robinson and past JusticeAid featured artist Trombone Shorty at historic venues, including Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall.

Read about the Blind Boys’ 2015 JusticeAid event benefitting the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project and Innocence Project New Orleans.

Blind Boys’ Website

Ani DiFranco

Ani DiFranco’s visionary approach to folk music captivates her fans, inspires political change, and demands accountability from our leaders. Her songwriting is keenly prophetic, and her deeply revealing storytelling evokes a powerful sense of empathy. For her impassioned songwriting and masterful guitar skills, Ani DiFranco is lauded as one of our nation’s greatest singer-songwriters. For her blunt critiques of political corruption and unwavering advancement of feminist ideals, she is a cherished cultural icon.

Throughout a career spanning multiple decades, DiFranco has released over 20 albums and garnered critical acclaim, all while constantly rejecting and challenging a mainstream music industry dominated by male voices and influence. Her music forms a patchwork of distinct experiences and viewpoints that together tell the tale of a seasoned musician and acutely insightful observer.

See Ani’s website

Theresa Andersson

Theresa Andersson, star performer at our NOLA event, is a Swedish indie soul singer-violinist beckoned by the spangled sirens of New Orleans and its devilishly hot jazz. Inspired by a one-man-puppet-show (Blair Thomas, Chicago), in which the puppeteer played multiple characters and the drums, Andersson creates a rich live sound using two loop pedals to simultaneously play violin, voice, and guitar along with her record player, drums, and dulcimer. The outcome? Andersson “delights as a dexterous one-woman band” (Spin). Andersson has performed and recorded with New Orleans luminaries Allen Toussaint, The Neville Brothers, The Meters, and Betty Harris. She has also appeared on Late Night with Conan O’Brien and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.

Theresa’s Website

Flow Tribe

Flow Tribe serves up New Orleans’ funk in a big way, and they don’t like to keep quiet. The band’s six members comprise a smoking hot rhythm section, dueling guitars, horns, and even a washboard. Their talented take on New Orleans’ signature sound makes it hard for them to keep a low profile. They’ve shared the stage with names like John Fogerty, Trombone Shorty, funk/jazz greats Galactic, and more. Relix magazine calls them “bizarrely irresistible,” and USA Today showcased their performance earlier this year at New Orleans’ famed Jazz Fest.  Flow Tribe has partnered with JusticeAid in D.C. and New Orleans.


Pants Velour

Pants Velour hails from New York City, and brings with them a blend of hip-hop, rock, pop, and soul. It’s a style that the Washington City Paper calls “party-ready hip-hop,” and likened to the Beastie Boys, The Roots, and the Black Eyed Peas. Earlier this year at the New Music Seminar in New York, they landed a spot on the conference’s “Top 100 Artists on the Verge” list. Pants Velour rocked the Black Cat (and us!) at our DCLISC event.




The Morrison Brothers Band

The Morrison Brothers are hometown heroes when it comes to country rock, partnering with JusticeAid at our Gideon’s Promise and DCLISC events. Since brothers Willie and Truman Morrison formed in 2008, they’ve released three full-length albums and conquered every premier venue in the Capital City. In July, they returned to the 9:30 Club, ranked #1 on a  list of “The Best Big Rooms in America” to premiere their latest album, State of the Union. The album’s first single “Little Miss Whiskey” is receiving extensive air-play on DC’s top country station, WMZQ 98.7 FM.


Mary Ann Redmond

Mary Ann Redmond is known for her soulful and wide-ranging vocal style in popular and jazz music.  She is a local talent who has won 24 Wammies to date. She is described as “an exciting vocal talent” in a Billboard magazine article that went on to say “….Redmond is wowing club audiences as a completely formed stylist, who sings heartfelt ballads and funky tunes with equal ease and enthusiasm in an alto voice that soars effortlessly to soprano range.”

Mary Ann Redmond helped JusticeAid get its start wowing our first audience at The Hamilton to raise money at our inaugural event benefitting Gideon’s Promise.

Mary Ann’s Website

As a result of this event, we were able to provide support to our summer law clerks working in our public defender partner offices across the South and partial scholarship funds to three new public defenders who joined our program this summer!

Ilham Askia , Executive Director, Gideon’s Promise

”If Aretha is the Queen of Soul, Redmond must be considered an official Lady in Waiting.”

Dave Nuttycombe, Washington City Paper

Mental Health Project of the Urban Justice Center

Since its founding in 1994, the Mental Health Project’s team of attorneys, social workers, advocates, and peers has assisted thousands of New Yorkers with mental health challenges to retain their housing, obtain disability benefits, assert their rights to discharge planning, obtain supportive housing and transition back into their communities from prison or jail.

Last year, MHP’s dedicated advocates provided direct legal representation, consultative advice, education, and social work services to more than 5,000 New York City residents with mental illnesses.

MHP’s focus areas include eviction prevention, disability benefits advocacy, discharge planning advocacy, reentry support, guardianship/advance directives, and systemic criminal justice advocacy. You can find them on Facebook and Twitter for more information and updates on their incredible efforts to help those in need.

MHP’s focus areas include eviction prevention, disability benefits advocacy, discharge planning advocacy, reentry support, guardianship/advance directives, and systemic criminal justice advocacy.