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


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


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

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.