United Justice Coalition (UJC) has announced a one-of-a-kind social justice summit on July 23 at Center415 in New York City, which will bring together the country’s top activists, entertainers, attorneys, entrepreneurs, professors, experts, media personalities, organizations, and more to discuss combating social and racial injustice.
The UJC is a think-tank of specialists from various industries that joined together informally in 2019 to share resources, information, ideas, and assistance in order to align on strategic solutions to fight structural injustice across the United States. They’ve collaborated behind the scenes over the years to raise awareness about important issues, draft and push bipartisan legislation, laws, and policies, and mobilize support for grassroots organizations around the country.
UJC’s founding advisory board members are made up of Team ROC, along with a list of powerful figures including Charlamagne Tha God, attorney Ben Crump, Dream Corps founder Van Jones, attorney Angela Rye, Mysonne, attorney Alex Spiro, Gayle King, Michael Eric Dyson, Until Freedom co-founder Tamika Mallory and more.
“The United Justice Coalition started as an informal meeting of the minds, but it has quickly evolved into a more purposeful initiative to create change in our communities,” Team ROC and UJC founding member Dania Diaz said. “Our goal for this summit is to spark discussion and collaboration and take a solution-oriented approach to reforming America’s antiquated policies. At the end of the day, we are all bonded by one common goal – to eradicate injustice.”
Speaking exclusively with The Source, Diaz spoke about what led to this event, creating it, and the important work it will do in the future.
The Source: What recent activities led to the creation of this one-of-a-kind social justice event?
Dania Diaz: When the United Justice Coalition formed in 2019, we knew early on that we wanted to host a summit to bring the broader public together in conversation, collaboration, and action. Unfortunately, when the pandemic occurred, we had to pause on the Summit idea and found other ways to make impact. Over the years, we have worked together to amplify critical issues, advance just policies, and leverage support for on-the-ground organizations across the country and now we’re incredibly excited to take it to the next level and bring the vision for the UJC Summit to reality.
How complicated was it to put this event together, but also not lose track of current developments in social justice?
Everything of value requires thoughtful and intentional work. And you have to be passionate and care about what you are doing. So with that said, it’s neither complicated nor easy, but necessary and required. The UJC’s incredible advisors keep one another abreast of the issues of collective concern.
Some advisors are families that have lost loved ones to police violence, some members are organizing masses on the ground to protect our civil rights, some are litigating cases of wrongful conviction – pro bono. Others are using their media platforms to amplify issues, or are in the classroom educating the next generation of social justice leaders. We come together with our individual expertise and unique lens to keep one another informed and to collectively take action. For example, Team Roc’s justice work in Parchman Prison in Mississippi, where the DOJ recently declared that the conditions violated the Constitution’s 8th and 14th Amendments, was supported by the UJC’s body of experts.
This event brings experts together from various industries – how important is it to have and what is hoped for when you combine these various minds?
This Summit is about advancing justice through thoughtful, diverse, collaborative learning and exchange. In order to achieve that we need to engage different perspectives and viewpoints to be shared, so productive solutions-focused conversations can take place. We want everyone who cares about social justice, criminal justice reform, equity and human life to be at the Summit. If you are seeking to learn, share, network, take action – we want you at the Summit.
For attendees of the summit, what could be expected?
We will have panel discussions, town halls, networking opportunities and an area dedicated to over 40 social justice and criminal justice reform organizations from across the US in attendance. Some topics include a conversation regarding the criminalization of mental health, conditions of confinement, and a family matters panel, among others.
What is the hopeful immediate goal or course of action once it ends?
Each organization that will be featured at the conference will have its own call to action, so there will be plenty of ways to get involved and contribute toward making a positive difference. At the end of the day, we want attendees to feel much more enlightened and empowered to play an active role in both advancing justice and eradicating injustice.