Jay-Z and Meek Mill were introduced with Philadelphia 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin, New England Patroits owner Robert Kraft, as part of the Reform Alliance. The group held a press conference in New York to introduce the groups goals of changing the criminal justice system.
Jay-Z spoke about his upbringing and how he wants to use his influence to save lives.
“I think the attention Meek brought to this issue because of his celebrity, and the egregious of the crime—poppin’ the wheelie and breaking up the fight is what sparked the match for the nation. But for me, I’m from Marcy Projects, I’m from Brooklyn, and this has been a part of my life.” said Jay-Z “This is communities that we grow up in, friends that I have, people around me, so I have grown up with this issue. People way worse off than Meek. He has an opportunity, and he had to work hard. And we have to applaud him because every setback he came out stronger, and that takes a really dedicated person. I want to pride you for that.”
“But these things are just disproportionate, and the whole world knows it. A lot of these issues are in place now ’cause they’re political issues. People run on this and got elected to office. And it’s no disrespect, I don’t want anyone to feel defensive by what I am saying. I am just saying the honest truth. And the people that are here today, and the politicians that are here today, know it is the truth. That’s why they are here. And it’s a humane issue.” said Hov “If we are broken, the family structure in one culture, it affects everyone. It affects the police officer who has to go home to their kids, it affects people who are raising kids and working really hard and have to pay taxes. And we are housing people in jail for incredible amounts of time and this money is coming from hard working people. It affects everyone in some sort of way and it is an important issue. I think that for me, me being very specific, that and education are the two most important issues for us right now.”
“I’m one of the lucky ones, we have people who don’t have a voice. I’m here to speak on behalf of those people who don’t have a voice” said Meek.
Robert Kraft said after meeting Meek in jail through Rubin three years ago, he felt an affection for him and developed a relationship. “I never been to jail before,” Kraft admits. “And going there and seeing him, I didn’t sleep the rest of the night when I got home ’cause here I am thinking how out of touch someone like myself is with what’s really going on. I mean, we give to charitable things and we try to do good. But here, you have a young man whose creative, whose productive, whose innovative, whose inspiring young people, and through riding a motorcycle and doing a wheelie, he’s put in jail where taxpayers are paying to keep in going. And he’s not employing all the people he could employ and generating all the tax dollars he could do. It’s just a cuckoo system.