This weekend, several hip-hop artists lent their star power to the important cause of promoting social justice and equity for all. Yo Gotti, Charlamagne tha God, and other celebrities spoke about a variety of topics ranging from mental health to criminal justice reform at the first annual United Justice Coalition’s social justice summit in New York City on Saturday, July 23.
The event, which was a collaborative effort between Jay-Z‘s Roc Nation and the United Justice Coalition, took place at Midtown Manhattan at Center415. The goal of the partnership is to raise awareness about criminal justice reform and promote positive changes to policy through a collaborative effort. For the participants, this took many different forms and topics.
Yo Gotti spoke about the inhumane treatment of those incarcerated at Parchman prison on the “Conditions of Confinement” panel. Parchman prison is the controversial prison in Mississippi that has been widely accused of using inmates to provide forced labor. Charlamagne tha God led a panel about the decriminilization of mental health in which panelists described how the current criminal justice system is not by large adequately equipped to handle those with mental health issues.
Former San Antonio Spurs coach Greg Popovich was the presented of an award to the Innocence Project co-founder Barry Scheck
Other notable participants included Philadelphia Sixers partner Michael Rubin, Dr. Bernice King (daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr)., Gayle King, Gwen Carr (Eric Garner’s mother), civil rights attorney Ben Crump, and more.
According to their website, “the United Justice Coalition (UJC) is a charitable organization that works across disciplines to raise awareness around key social justice issues and the need for criminal justice reform. The group is made up of an esteemed array of expert advisors that come together to strategically share resources, information, and ideas to address systemic injustice across America and unify communities. The UJC is committed to amplifying critical issues, leveraging support for on-the-ground advocacy and social justice organizations and advancing just legislation and policies.”