The Alliance of Families for Justice
The Alliance of Families for Justice (“AFJ”) was founded seven years ago by attorney Soffiyah Elijah. Its headquarters is in Harlem, a community heavily impacted by mass incarceration. AFJ also has satellite offices in Albany and Ithaca.
AFJ seeks to heal families and individuals who suffer from their own imprisonment or that of a loved one. It seeks moreover to organize and empower them to challenge and change the system of mass incarceration. AFJs legal support unit provides free legal representation to incarcerated people and their families. AFJ holds weekly community organizing meetings and family empowerment circles, and monthly healing circles for formerly incarcerated people. Its organizing and advocacy unit spearheads various campaigns including one to #Shutdown Attica and another to end felony disenfranchisement. AFJ’s Youth Empowerment Project has serviced over 400 NYC young people ages 16-24 in its 3yr tenure. All of AFJ’s services are free.
In New York State and most places nationwide incarcerated people lose their voting rights. This is both un-democratic and, because most incarcerated people are Black or Latinix, it is a racist policy and a vestige of Jim Crow laws that permeated New York and most states. The loss of voting rights remains a significant obstacle to criminal justice reform.
Guest – Attorney Soffiyah Elijah, knows intimately what happens to families whose loved ones are put in prison. She has been able through AFJ to support, motivate and educate these families to become advocates for civil rights and justice reform. Attorney Elijah has headed legal clinics at the City University of New York School of Law and has served as the Deputy Director of the Criminal Justice Institute at Harvard University, under Professor Charles Ogletree. She was the first woman and first Black Executive Director of the 170 yr old Correctional Association of New York where she helped expose and bring to justice several Attica prison guards for brutally beating a man almost to death.
Dark Money And Conservative Courts
When Donald Trump became president in 2016, one of the most terrifying prospects was that he could signal a new era for the Supreme Court of the United States ” where vacancies would be strategically filled to create one of the most conservative courts in nearly a century, which could roll back constitutional rights and liberties weve been taking for granted. Indeed, even though Donald Trump was not re-elected in 2020, the conservative 6-3 majority that exists, and the havoc they are wreaking, could last for decades. While Im sure Donald Trump would like to take all the credit, the battle to buy Supreme Court influence and push votes to the right long precedes his tenure as president.
Guest – Andrew Perez, has devoted his life and career to exposing the money, influence and secret transactions made among the most powerful people in the world to control the United States laws, government and people. He is an investigative reporter and senior editor for The Lever, which was just awarded the 2023 Izzy Award for outstanding achievement in the independent media by Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College for its relentless work exposing the corrupting influence of corporate power on government and both major parties. In announcing the award, the Center for Independent Media highlighted Andrews work for exposing the largest known political donation in U.S. history ” Chicago businessman Barre Seids $1.6 billion dark money transfer to conservative operative Leonard Leo who served as Donald Trumps judicial advisor ” and guess who Leonard Leo appears to ready to back now Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis.