On Monday, news surfaced about a miscarriage of justice against Philadelphia rapper Robert Williams - better known as Meek Mill. The 30 year old was sentenced to 2 - 4 years and immediately taken into custody, over a non-existent parole violation for an offense that happened when he was 18.
The judge who is presiding over his case, Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Genece E. Brinkley, has an obsession towards Mr. Williams and this case, and the documentation of her unprofessionalism, her overreach and her fixation on Mr. Williams has been concerning for some time now. To highlight just one example of appalling behavior, a few years ago the judge made a request of Mr Williams and then-girlfriend Nicki Minaj to record a duet - a remake of a Boyz II Men song - and dedicate it to the Judge. (Yes, you read that right!!) She also suggested strongly that Meek and Nicki sign with her personal friend - who also happened to manage Boyz II Men. Not satisfied with inserting herself into Meek’s professional life, she had a habit of showing up at his personal charitable appearances - while he was working with homeless people or youth.
Let us be clear - this is not just about one man and one bad judge. Meek’s fame and his success didn’t stop him from being victimized by the same system that over-incarcerates and over-criminalizes people of color - especially young black men. Due to the egregiousness of this injustice, Justice League NYC felt it was urgent to make an effort to bring this case to light and have the Governor of Pennsylvania and the Attorney General immediately recuse and replace the judge in Meek’s case so he can get a fair hearing and hopefully have this case dismissed. And we are encouraging an investigation into the judge, so that we can make sure she doesn’t have this kind of impact any longer.
What has been made clear is that wealth and/or social status cannot protect people of color from historically racist institutions that grant individuals so much power over our lives. This is not new, and it sends a signal to Meek's young black and brown fans that incarceration is all they deserve. But maybe, by using Meek's platform to highlight these patterns of injustice, we can help change the system.
We have created an online campaign that will send letters to the Governor and other Pennsylvania officials with power to recuse Judge Brinkley. You can read the letter and sign up to have them sent from you by clicking here.
And Change.org has an online petition also going to the Governor, which can be signed onto by clicking here.
Additionally, our friends at RocNation and Tidal created this awareness video, which we hope you'll watch.