Jay-Z and Meek Mill have joined forces to push for criminal justice reform.
In a press conference they had on Wednesday (Jan. 23), the two rappers announced Reform Alliance, a new criminal justice reform organization Meek previously spoke about back in July.
With CNN’s Van Jones tapped as CEO, Reform Alliance’s founding team also includes New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Philadelphia 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin, Nets co-owner Clara Wu Tsai, Third Point LLC founder Daniel S. Loeb, Galaxy Digital founder Michael E. Novogratz and Vista Equity Partners founder Robert F. Smith. Collectively, the owners have pledged about $50 million to launch the organization, according to a report published by Pitchfork.
For Meek, who was released from prison a bid that stemmed from violating the terms of his probation for a decade-old weapons and drugs case, the new organization has a particularly special meaning,
“I’m one of the lucky ones, we have people who don’t have a voice,” Meek said at the live stream of the announcement. “I’m here to speak on behalf of those people who don’t have a voice.”
Van Jones added the organization’s plans for the future.
“We’re gonna not just free more than a million people, we are going to free a country to be it’s best self. We’re going to free a country to find itself again, to find it’s heart and soul again,” Jones said. “We’re going to put our love against the hate that built this system. We are going to put our hope against the fear that built this system. We’re going to put our COMPASSION against a few of these cold hearts and we’re going to win!”
The founding of Reform Alliance follows recent developments in the criminal justice system with the passing of the First Step Act — which aims to significantly reduce the number of people in our nation’s prisons within the next 10 years. It also give judges more discretion when it comes to sentencing offenders for nonviolent crimes, specifically drug offenses.
Meek celebrated the new criminal justice reform bill’s passing back in December.
“This major!!!!” Meek wrote in an Instagram post. “A lot of over sentenced men and women will come home soon!! @vanjones68 💪🏾💪🏾💪🏾🏆🏆🏆.”
More recently, the Philadelphia rapper reflected on his own situation and vented his frustrations about the system.
“I just wanna get off probation I been on this shit my whole adult life,” Meek tweeted late on Monday night (Jan. 21). “11 years of asking for permission!”