We came together to rejoice in the beauty of music, to recharge, and to finish the fight for free and fair elections.  “Take a stand,” was the message of Paine the Poet, a spoken word artist who uses the power of the creative word to bring peace to our flawed criminal legal system. (Check out his new single, The Fade.)

Host Bari Koral, a musician and educator, welcomed the audience and set the stage for an evening of entertainment and giving.  She reminded us, and particularly the young people in the audience, that “democracy is a participatory sport for all.” 

“The youth of our country has become critical to the outcomes of our elections, to the well being of our planet, and to the future of every being living here.”

We kicked off the evening with a soulful take on Stevie Wonder’s “Big Brother” by New Orleans music legend Ivan Neville.

“JusticeAid. Election Protection. Vote baby vote!”

Ivan Neville

The Story of Election Protection video documentary conveys the tireless efforts of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights in combating racial discrimination and the resulting inequality of opportunity–vital work that continues today through the on-the-ground work by staff and volunteers of Election Protection and its 200 coalition partners.

With pure inspiration, 4-time Grammy Award winner and National Songwriters Hall of Fame member Rosanne Cash, accompanied by her husband and producer and 6-time Grammy Award winner, John Leventhal performed Lennon and McCartney’s “Things We Said Today.” (Check out Rosanne’s new single, “Crawl into the Promised Land.”)

Tom Morello is a lifetime activist and unapologetic disrupter of injustice. He is also one of the greatest guitar players of all time (Rage Against the Machine, Audio Slave, Atlas Underground, and Springsteen’s East Street Band). Morello treated us to a multimedia rock performance of “Vigilante Nocturno.”
“All music, in my opinion, is political.”
Tom Morello

Actors, thought leaders, advocates, and legislators are sharing their stories with the #WHYIVOTE campaign. We welcome testimony from all of you.

“Voting is not enough. We must organize, activate, protest, and use all our power, creativity, courage, and intellect to fight to change for a better and more decent world.”

Tom Morello, Musician

“Cuando era joven mi papá me contó su niño en Argentina donde había una dictadura militario. Siempre me decía lo suerte que era de vivir en un país donde la gente podía caminar la calle sin miedo a expresar sus opiniones. Por eso voto.”

Mati Cano, Senate Intern

“I hope all of you will vote early and as securely as possible, and I’m very grateful to be in a community with you all at this time.”

Samora Pinderhughes, Artist

“A functioning democracy requires participation. It’s the one time I get to voice my opinion and voice change.”

Dan Grover, Creator

Lila Downs is an international sensation and Grammy Award and multiple Latin Grammy Award winner. Her performance of “Zapata Se Queda,” recorded in Oaxaca, Mexico, was a great example of her vocal ability and how her colorful stage attire salutes the indigenous Indian tribes of Mexico.

“Bringing social justice issues to my music is so important. It’s really about community organization and how fiestas in Latino communities are about everybody pitching in.”
Lila Downs

JusticeAid board member Kim Coaxum introduced a short film on The Story of JusticeAid, with highlights from the tipping-point organizations we support and the benefit concerts organized on their behalf.  Among our proud achievements: JusticeAid has distributed more than $1 million to civil rights groups since its founding in 2013. Read about our grantee partners.

Highlighting the importance of the youth vote for the upcoming election, we shared You Need to Vote, the social media film created by Amogh Thakkar, gold medal winner of the #JusticeAidPrize from the 2020 JusticeAid Film Forum.

“The thing is, politicians aren’t listening to youth. And it’s honestly our fault. But you can change that. Vote.”

Amogh Thakkar

The evening concluded with the gospel masterpiece, “We Shall Overcome,” performed by the indomitable McArthur Genius and Doris Duke Artist Award recipient, violinist and composer, Regina Carter.

“When my brothers and I were children, my parents instilled in us the importance of voting and made sure we comprehended the fact that many people were beaten, killed and hosed while marching for the right for Black people to vote.  Our voice is extremely important. Don’t be intimated!”

Regina Carter

Thanks to supporters like you, JusticeAid is close to reaching its second goal of raising $100,000 in support of Election Protection/866-OUR-VOTE. Our heartfelt thanks to all who donated and to @IvanNeville, @tmorello, @rosannecash, @liladowns, @painethepoet and @BariKoral for lending their talents to Voices to Protect the Vote.