NEW YORK – At his concert in Philadelphia last night, Jay-Z spoke out against the unjust sentencing of Meek Mill for a probation violation, and filled one section of his audience with more than 200 local and national organizers drawing attention to criminal justice reform. m. Color Of Change, the nation’s largest online racial justice organization, and #cut50, a national criminal justice reform effort, were among the organizations at the concert and have been advocating for justice for Meek Mill and broader system reforms. The two groups had previously launched a petition demanding the removal of Judge Genece Brinkley—who unjustly sentenced Meek—from the case, which currently has over 64,000 signatures. Please visit freemeekmill.org for more information on their campaign, which includes a video and two petitions.

Rashad Robinson, Executive Director at Color Of Change:

"We stand with Jay-Z and thank him for continuing to call out the injustice not just facing Meek Mill but Black people across the country. As this case shows, excessive punitive policies for minor parole and probation violations unfairly target Black people every day, turning prisons into permanent housing for our family, friends and loved ones that have been robbed from us, just as Meek Mill has been robbed from his family and community. The judges in Philadelphia, led by Administrative Judge Leon Tucker, need to stop the unjust use of detainers and petty probation and parole violations now, so Meek and thousands more like him can come home. As Jay-Z said in his recent New York Times piece, 'we could literally shut down jails,' if we simply treated humans like humans.

Van Jones, President and Co-Founder of #cut50:

“Jay-Z’s statement sent a powerful message of support to Meek, his family, and the city of Philadelphia - where you’ve got half of the jails filled not with people who committed new crimes but with people who missed a meeting with their probation officer or traveled outside the county without permission. Meanwhile the schools are struggling for resources, communities are suffering from violence, and people are dying from addiction and poverty. Is that justice? No. And Jay is right to say that everybody should be turning up to change that. We need to invest in people and invest in communities and unlock all the potential locked behind bars. Hearing Jay-Z take a stand will activate millions around the country to jump in and show up. That’s exactly what we need.”

Jay-Z’s remarks last night:

“When y'all see people turning up, putting fists up and all this shit. Don't let them confuse you, don't let the message confuse you because that shit is not about this flag, that shit is about injustice. It's about people dying—young people leaving the house and never coming back home. Everybody should be turnin up. Everybody should be fighting against that. You see a young man who's been on probation for 11 f**king years, since he was 19 years old—that man is being stalked by the system. This man is in jail for doing a wheelie...for breaking up a fight. Free Meek Mill! We ain't no second class citizens to nobody. We some of the most beautiful, most intelligent people in the world. And tonight we gonna celebrate some of that Black excellence here in Philly.”

###

Color Of Change is the nation’s largest online racial justice organization. We help people respond effectively to injustice in the world around us. As a national online force driven by over one million members, we move decision-makers in corporations and government to create a more human and less hostile world for Black people in America. Visit www.colorofchange.org.

#cut50 works to cut crime and incarceration in all 50 states by translating local needs into smart safety solutions. The organization brings together unlikely allies—formerly and currently incarcerated individuals, community members, crime survivors, local elected officials, and law enforcement--to keep communities safe and families together. Visit  cut50.org.