It Takes A Community: Honoring Participatory Defense Pioneers

On Wednesday, Feb. 27, Chief Defender Keir Bradford-Grey, along with participatory defense founder and Stoneleigh Fellow Raj Jayadev, honored five individuals whose work has been integral to the successful launch of participatory defense in Philadelphia in 2018. Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr. was also recognized as a Community Justice Champion award for his ongoing support of the initiative.

In the year since the first of Philadelphia’s community participatory defense hubs opened in March 2018, community members supported dozens of cases, leading to better outcomes, stronger communities, and work toward a fundamentally fair and effective criminal justice system.

Congratulations to this year’s honorees:

Community Justice Champion
Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr.

Keir Bradford-Grey and Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr.

Participatory Defense Visionary
Dorothy Johnson-Speight
Mothers in Charge “Best Outcomes” Participatory Defense Hub

Dorothy Johnson-Speight

Participatory Defense Community Connector
Akeem Sims
Kingsessing Participatory Defense Hub

Participatory Defense First Responder
Kris Eden
South Philly Participatory Defense Hub

(not pictured)

Participatory Defense Superstar Volunteer
Angela Canales
Philadelphia Participatory Defense Network

Angela Canales

Participatory Defense Superstar Volunteer
Fran Gilmore
Philadelphia Participatory Defense Network

Fran Gilmore

Special thanks to the Philadelphia Ethical Society and the Stoneleigh Foundation for their generous support of this year’s event.

Chief Defender Keir Bradford-Grey featured on 6abc Visions

Philadelphia’s work to advance criminal justice reform is gaining local, state, and national attention.

In February, 6abc devoted a portion of its Visions program to the city’s criminal justice reform movement, through the perspectives of individuals on the front lines.

Chief Defender Keir Bradford-Grey talked about the Defender Association’s work to reform the pre-trial system, end cash bail, and empower communities to play a larger role in transforming the criminal justice process.



Defender Association teams up with South Philly Hub and Unity in the Community on expungement clinic

The Defender Association teamed up with the South Philly Participatory Defense Hub and Unity in the Community to host a unique neighborhood expungement clinic at Classics Hub Barbershop in South Philadelphia.

Defender attorneys helped individuals to file expungements – the first step toward a clean record and a fresh start.

The first attendee at the event shared stories about being rejected from job opportunities because of his past and hopes that by filing for expungement, he can seek better employment opportunities. writer Helen Ubinas set up a “mobile newsroom” at the event to help capture the stories of attendees. Read more about it in

Thanks to all of our partners for working together on this fantastic community event.

Learn more about the expungement process here.

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