Heartfelt Thanks: A Great Year!

This past year, we were able to raise over $220,000 for our 2018 beneficiaries Civil Rights Corps and Essie Justice Group in two sold-out concerts: one in Washington, DC and the other in New York, each with accompanying public educational programming and outreach. We could not have done this without you. As you know, JusticeAid is primarily run by a team of dedicated volunteers. We hope that you will consider making a year-end contribution to further our endeavors for 2019 and into 2020. We are currently exploring the theme of  'Crimmigration' and the anti-immigration movement in the U.S. that results in the mass incarceration of 300,000 people. We are also taking a look at Voter Suppression. Stay tuned! With heartfelt thanks for your ongoing support, we wish you peace and joy throughout the holiday season and into the New Year. Steve Milliken and the JusticeAid Board PLEASE DONATE TO JUSTICEAID NOV 11, 2018   |   NEW YORK CITY  |  RIVERSIDE CHURCH RACISM & THE CRIMINALIZATION OF POVERTY: 21ST CENTURY DEBTORS' PRISONS IN THE AGE OF MASS INCARCERATION Introducing our 2018 beneficiaries Gina Clayton of Essie Justice Group and Alec Karakatsanis of Civil Rights Corps at WilmerHale, courtesy of Seth Waxman. Moderated by Vanita Gupta (center), [...]

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 PAINE THE POET'S INSTAGRAM PAINE THE POET'S WEBSITE

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 [...]

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. CIVIL RIGHTS CORPS AND ESSIE JUSTICE GROUP ARE MEETING THESE INJUSTICES STRAIGHT ON. “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. THE STORIES FROM WOMEN WITH INCARCERATED LOVED ONES ARE ESPECIALLY HORRIFYING. 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 [...]

Randall Horton

Letters from the Locked Away 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 Place, The 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.