Non-profit social justice organization Equal Justice Now (EJN), will present The 2nd Annual Attorney Benjamin Crump Equal Justice Now Awards in Los Angeles on Friday, June 10, 2022, at the Los Angeles Airport Marriott.
Named for renowned civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump in collaboration with EJN, this year’s Attorney Benjamin Crump Equal Justice Now Awards will be hosted by EMMYⓇ-winning TV personality, comedian, author and activist Loni Love, and honor the impact of trailblazers from filmmaking and government, to community and social philanthropy, for their inspiring work and influence in advancing social causes and helping their communities. EJN is a non-partisan, non-profit social justice organization founded by Tony Smith and Bill Shields that advocates for vital social issues and help for falsely arrested, wrongfully detained, unrightfully convicted and incarcerated men and women, including addressing issues of systemic and nationwide racism, voting rights, reformation in the justice system or other inequities that have had detrimental effects on the lives and rights of individuals. This year’s Attorney Benjamin Crump Equal Justice Now Awards Honorees are: award-winning filmmaker Mario Van Peebles and the late pioneering filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles; former U.S. Congresswoman Diane Watson; Los Angeles Lakers Vice President Kiesha Nix; social influencer, brand visionary Charlie Rocket; CNN commentator and attorney Bakari Sellers; rapper and entrepreneur Stix; Los Angeles City Councilmember Gilbert Cedillo; journalist Roland Martin; and U.S. Congresswoman Joyce Beatty. The event will also feature a performance from rapper Mi$fit and music from DJ Carisma.
Honoree Mario Van Peebles (Excellence in Advocacy Award) is an acclaimed director, writer, actor, producer and activist (New Jack City, Posse, Baadasssss!, Salt-N-Pepa). His father, the late Melvin Van Peebles (Inspiring Visionary Award), is a pioneering filmmaker, writer, composer and actor in American independent film, who’s considered the godfather of Black cinema (Watermelon Man, Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, Don’t Play Us Cheap).
Honoree Diane Watson (Trailblazer Award) is a former U.S. Congresswoman for California (retired), former educator, U.S. Ambassador and member of the California State Senate, where she was the first African-American woman to be elected to the California State Senate. In 30-plus years of public service, she advocated on civil rights, poverty, reforms in the welfare, justice, education systems and health care.
Honoree Kiesha Nix (Game Changer Award) is the vice president of Charitable Affairs for the Los Angeles Lakers. Leading their philanthropic endeavors, Nix is the first Black female vice president of the Lakers organization.
Honoree Charlie Rocket (Social Media Award) is a social influencer, brand visionary, globally-recognized entrepreneur and speaker and Founder of the Dream Machine Foundation, known for dedicating his life to helping others with random acts of kindness and his own inspiring health transformation, as well as being an award-winning former hip-hop music mogul who discovered 2 Chainz and Travis Porter.
Honoree Bakari Sellers (Journalism Award) is a CNN political commentator, attorney, author and former South Carolina State Representative, who was the youngest African-American official in the country when he was elected at 22.
Honoree Stix (Golden Outreach Award) is a rapper, producer, songwriter, entrepreneur and Founder of the Think Watts Foundation, which focuses on community grassroots activations and offers resources addressing financial literacy, food insecurity, education and other issues.
Honoree Gilbert Cedillo is a Los Angeles City Councilmember who’s known as a longtime advocate for marginalized communities.
Honoree Roland Martin is an award-winning journalist and author.
Honoree Joyce Beatty is a Congresswoman representing Ohio, who serves as Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, and advocates on issues including diversity and inclusion, financial services, housing and more.
Some past honorees of The Attorney Benjamin Crump Equal Justice Now Awards include Judge Greg Mathis, sports host and journalist Jemele Hill, U.S. Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Reverend Jesse Jackson and entertainment lawyer Darrell D. Miller, Esq.
Tony Smith, co-founder of Equal Justice Now, says: “We are thrilled to bring back the Benjamin Crump Equal Justice Now Awards after two years of COVID delays. Our celebration allows EJN to honor the notable luminaries who champion the causes which form the foundation of EJN’s mission. The night will be an opportunity to celebrate current achievements and keep the focus on the critical work that remains undone.”