A love of music, a commitment to social justice, and a passion to give back came together on October 11, 2022, at Washington, DC’s City Winery for JusticeAid’s Fall Concert featuring jazz vocalist and pianist, Kandace Springs. 100% of donations and proceeds from the event will go to SMYAL (Supporting Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders). Together with donor support for JusticeAid’s concert in May 2022, JusticeAid’s grants to SMYAL this year will give many more queer and trans youth access to affirming and empowering programs and services. Thank you donors, ticket buyers, sponsors, and SMYAL!

Thank you to our concert sponsors.

JusticeAid co-founder and CEO Steve Milliken welcomed guests to an evening of music, celebration, and friendship. Spoken word lyricist Paine the Poet encouraged us to open our eyes and ears to the social injustices felt by marginalized individuals. Everyone, he added, deserves a second chance to thrive.

JusticeAid board member Tazewell Jones introduced a short film about the hate directed at LGBTQ youth today, but also the important affirming work of our grantee partner, SMYAL.

SMYAL Board Chair Rob Cogorno introduced Erin Whelan, SMYAL’s newly appointed Executive Director, who encouraged the audience to support the rights of queer, trans, and non-binary youth through advocacy and financial contributions.

Event photos by Michael Claypool, Kalorama Photography

Why SMYAL, Why now? Everyone deserves an opportunity to build a life they love and a chance to feel celebrated and affirmed for exactly who they are and are meant to be! 

Erin Whelan

With lights dimmed and a hush in the room, Heather Pinkney, JusticeAid Board Member and Director of Washington, DC’s Public Defender Service, welcomed Blue Note recording artist, Kandace Springs to the stage—her fourth JusticeAid appearance! Accompanied by bassist Liany Mateo and drummer Camille Gainer, Ms. Springs enraptured the audience with her captivating voice and lyrical piano and keyboard playing. The audience was treated to bold originals and tributes to some of Ms. Spring’s most important influences, including Nina Simone, Bonnie Raitt, and Roberta Flack.

Somewhere in the middle of ‘Killing me Softly,’ Kandace owned the room. By the time she ‘put a spell’ on all of us, she really had.

Music Fan

As guests enjoyed dessert and conversation, JusticeAid Vice President Preston Pugh announced JusticeAid’s upcoming 10th anniversary and that in 2023 we will once again turn JusticeAid’s spotlight on fighting racist voter suppression.

To open the doors to justice for all – nothing is more important than making sure all registered voters can vote, and that every vote counts.  

Preston Pugh

We were thrilled to welcome new supporters at the Fall concert. Please stay in touch by signing up for news of upcoming concerts and JusticeAid’s future campaigns to fight injustice.