The social justice branch of legendary rapper Jay Z’s record label, Roc Nation, is convening a coalition of social justice leaders from various walks of life for a summit set to take place this summer ahead of the 2022 midterm elections in the United States.
Team Roc assembled the group called The United Justice Coalition. Team Roc leads the label’s philanthropic mission. The coalition is set to gather in New York City on July 23 with the aim of raising awareness about racial justice and policy issues impacting people of color in America, ABC News reports.
Dania Diaz, who is Roc Nation’s managing director of philanthropy, explained to ABC News that the group hopes the summit will enact political action around the midterms.
Said Diaz, “It is an opportunity for people to really learn about issues that impact their communities— issues that are going to inevitably come up in midterm elections—and hopefully, it’ll drive action,” Diaz said, “at the very least, to get more people connected to what’s happening locally in their communities, but also, you know, getting them to register to vote, first and foremost. And to recognize that there are networks of folks and organizations that they can lean into for support and for greater resources.”
The summit will reportedly feature celebrities, activists, academics, and family members of those who have lost their lives to gun violence. Issues like criminal justice reform, mental wellness, and political engagement will be discussed.
Big names attached to the program include radio host Charlamagne Tha God, civil rights attorney Ben Crump, Dream Corps. founder Van Jones, Until Freedom co-founder Tamika Mallory and professor and author Michael Eric Dyson.
Added Diaz, “If you think about it from a lyrical standpoint and from just a cultural standpoint, the voices that drive hip hop and the music and the lyrics and the experiences that are brought to the table are really largely from a social and racial justice lens,” she said. “And so I think that when we talk about hip hop, as a vehicle to move culture, it’s also a vehicle to address social justice issues and systemic problems.”
The summit is one of many initiatives Roc Nation has worked with for social justice, including partnering with the NFL to aid in reform.
In addition, in 2021, Team Roc filed a lawsuit in the district court of Wyandotte County, Kansas, against the Kansas City Police Department, accusing them of covering up police misconduct.
In 2020, Team Roc financially backed a federal lawsuit against the Mississippi prison system on behalf of 152 inmates, which accused Parchman prison of “barbaric” behavior when it came to the treatment of its inmates.
Following that investigation, the Department of Justice found that “there is reasonable cause to believe” conditions and practices at the Mississippi State Penitentiary violated the Constitution.
Photo by Kevin Kane/Getty Images for The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame