Journey to Justice

Sheffield Dance Fundraiser, ‘The Journey’, at Crookes Social Club, 29th January 2016

As I left home that Friday night, I consoled myself with the thought that whatever happened, the evening was already a success. Firstly, half a dozen musical acts had bought into the philosophy of JtoJ by giving their time and talent at no charge. Secondly, a group of supporters had volunteered to help on the night – selling tickets, T-shirts, taking photos and filming. Thirdly, publicity about our exhibition programme had gone out on local radio and the television station, ‘Sheffield 5Live’, local shops and via student networks of Hallam and Sheffield Universities. Finally, over 50 people had bought tickets online and many others had promised to pay on the door.

As I entered the club, I heard Alan Deadman and his engineer Matt running a sound check, I sighed. So what if it was cold and raining outside, however many came we would enjoy ourselves. I could not believe that all of this had been pulled together in little over three months by the legendary Alan, an alchemist of World Music bands. Thanks to his talent and reputation he had persuaded the artists to participate. The magic started just after 8 p.m. with the opening strains of DJLS sound system. Lloyd was followed by the mesmerising Afro-Samba dancers of ‘Mulembas D’Africa’ and their charismatic leader Angelina Abel accompanied by members of a 4-piece band. The burgeoning crowd of over a hundred were silent as she read Warsan Shire’s devastating poem ‘No one leave home, unless home is the mouth of a shark’, capturing the grief and trauma of the refugee experience:

The room rocked to the dance beat mixes of DJ Papa Al – ably supported by his son Alex Deadman and the rising star of rapper YT echoing JtoJ’s messages of social justice and activism. Soon 150 people were dancing to the infectious Afro-beat of K.O.G. The evening reached a crescendo with the power of Steve ‘Papa’ Edwards’ Northern Soul and the final leg of the night was captured as DJ Winston Hazell’s smooth jazzy beats floated over the dance floor until the early hours.

We raised over £1,000 which was fantastic and will help pay for the installation of our exhibition ready for its Sheffield launch at The Art House on 28th May. Huge thanks to everyone who helped.

Email: if you’d like to get involved.

Mark Hutchinson, Chair of JtoJ and JtoJ co-ordinator in Sheffield.

Journey to Justice taster in Sunderland

Thursday January 28th 2016 at The Bonded Warehouse, Low Street

 Over 40 people from across Sunderland gathered in the chilly Bonded Warehouse to find out about Journey to Justice and discuss bringing our travelling exhibition programme to their city. They came from organisations including Young Asian Voices, Sunderland Carers, the LGBT forum, Disability Access, Housing and Homelessness, Sunderland College and schools as well as four members of the Newcastle JtoJ group including our new North East co-ordinator Katie McSherry.

The taster day was organised with our main partners from Sunderland University – Dr. Rick Bowler, Senior Lecturer in Community and Youth Work and Justine Gillespie, Head of HR Business Support and a member of the Diversity and Equality Committee. They welcomed JtoJ and talked about how our work complements their focus on creating a fair and inclusive community and society.

The room warmed up as we heard from Rev. Chris Howson Chaplain of Sunderland University about Sunderland’s radical history and some of its sons and daughters who were devoted to social justice  – John Lilburne, leader of the Levellers, WW1 conscientious objectors including Norman Gaudie the footballer, suffragettes and  abolitionists such as Anne Isabella Byron and James Field Stanfield.

We showed films about our Newcastle and Leyton pilots and Parul Motin inspired us with a description of her work with young people and the impact on their attitudes and choices.

Keith Hodgson, retired UNISON Regional Education Officer talked about local campaigns and support for the rights of women workers, carers and miners and he asked us,  What makes an activist? Then Amer Sheikh, Chemistry teacher and rapper told us about THE WORD – a project he created with young people to challenge racism and prejudice. The day ended with an animated discussion about local priorities and the possible role of JtoJ. One participant said, ‘I’ve not felt passion for years as I felt here in this room!’ There was overwhelming support for bringing the exhibition to Sunderland.

Issues covered ranged from disability rights; access to learning and housing; Sunderland’s rich cultural stories, the need to hear more voices and to humanize everyone; devastating cuts to organisations which support the most vulnerable people; the ‘mental torture’ of asylum seekers as a result of punitive processes; demonization of activists and the need for intergenerational work.

Evaluations: Brilliant organisation and cause; it proves that we can change the world in funny way (like songs); there is so much that could be achieved for and by the people of Sunderland; lots of inspirational stories and people; I got my passion back as to why I work in engagement; it helps the youth to have confidence in themselves; it was well presented, informative and thought-provoking.

‘Journey to Justice could be an excellent vehicle to tackle inequalities and injustice in the region.’

And the next day we received this message from one of the participants:
‘As a result of the Journey to Justice taster, we have begun talking about what we’re doing today to confront injustice, other than just talk about it or act as individuals. One of the issues where we might act is finding homes for unaccompanied refugee children or possibly families. We have no idea which agencies might eventually co-ordinate such action and I wondered if you might know.’

What next?
We’re meeting with those who signed up to be part of a steering group to bring the JtoJ exhibition programme to Sunderland. We’ll begin planning – venues, funding, dates, partners and events…If you would like to get involved with JtoJ Sunderland email:  or call: 07711199198


“There are three urgent and indeed great problems that we face today. The problem of racism, the problem of poverty and the problem of war.”  Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking at Newcastle University on receiving an honorary degree, 13th November 1967

As historic numbers of people fleeing war and poverty seek refuge, Dr. King’s call for universal economic justice continues to resonate loud and clear. To mark MLK Day and JtoJ’s new work in Tower Hamlets, we focused on themes of migration and racial and economic justice which are at the heart of London’s East End history and life today. We examined the challenges faced by waves of immigrant and explored the impact on children and families and how communities organize to secure their rights.

Over 70 people came to our event in the V&A Museum of Childhood’s beautiful main hall for an evening of talks, films, music, poetry, refreshments and discussion and a chance to see the exhibition On Their Own – Britain’s Child Migrants.

We were delighted to welcome its co-curator Professor Gordon Lynch as one of our speakers and Eithne Nightingale who talked about the diverse backgrounds and experiences of children’s migration, history and politics in the East End of London and Dr Michael McMillan who explored migration and the stories of children and young people left behind in the Caribbean.

The evening was facilitated by JtoJ teacher and management committee member Parul Motin and opened to great acclaim by five students of Bethnal Green Academy who told us about their heroes and sheroes including Martin Luther King and welcomed Journey to Justice to Tower Hamlets.

It was an opportunity for us to show aspects of our work – the launch of our exhibition in Newcastle and our work with young people in Leyton. After the break we asked the audience to talk about local needs and priorities in preparation for the arrival of our exhibition programme in the borough this year.

MLKday_speakersThe night ended with MC Naga who wowed and moved the audience with his poetry and spoken word performance in acapella. We received messages of support from our allies in New York, “Warm wishes and solidarity to Journey to Justice from the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights and Social Justice in New York City. We are working to fulfil Dr. King’s call for a “revolution of values’ and through the mobilization of the poor and dispossessed a “new and unsettling force” for an end to poverty. Recognizing as Dr, King taught that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” we are inspired to see you advance his vision in the United Kingdom and around the world.”

And from our patron Lord Herman Ouseley:  ”It is fitting that today, on Martin Luther King Day, we should reflect on the issues affecting the next generation as we seek to build societies free from the evils of repression, poverty, hatred, prejudice, discrimination, exclusion and violence.”

With thanks to everyone at the V&A Museum of Childhood and Journey to Justice who helped make the event a success.


Photographs by Aziz Rahman


See our short film of the evening made by Kerian Daniel.

JtoJ’s travelling exhibition will be on display at Rich Mix in December 2016, a catalyst for arts and education events and training focused on local history and current social justice concerns. Rich Mix is a cinema and cross-arts centre in Bethnal Green, Tower Hamlets and our exhibition will be on display there in December 2016 with a programme of complementary events.  Join us in making JtoJ happen in Tower Hamlets This was our first event in the borough and we’d welcome your help and partnership with events, publicity, research, exhibition planning and outreach and fundraising. Email: Carrie Supple

Further links

An article from Eithne Nightingale with a series of links including her site and new film on migration

An article from Dr Michael McMillan on Caribbean migration

A poem from MC Naga – ‘Rise Up’

A review of the night by Joe Marshall of Exposure Youth Media

An article by Majd Bouchto, a student of journalism at Goldsmiths

Listen to a short interview about JtoJ and our MLK Day event on Colourful Radio:

And an article about our MLK event from the East London News


Journey to Justice Team Day and AGM

November 14th 2015

At the Black Cultural Archives (BCA), Brixton

We met in the shadow of murderous news unfolding from Paris, believing that education for social justice and human rights offers an alternative to division and fear.

Over 30 members gathered in the lovely BCA Learning Centre in a warm, positive atmosphere one participant described as being like a (functional!) family. We have plenty to celebrate since last year:  raising funds and finding talented volunteers and the best professionals to create our exhibition and related programme; its successful pilot in the North East and subsequent bookings all over the UK; new partnerships and ideas. Highlights included:  Parul Motin’s session about JtoJ Live – the pilot of our teaching approach at George Mitchell School, Leyton which has proved so successful; Janet Browne’s presentation about the history of the BCA and some of the lesser known Black campaigns of the 1980 and Celina Dunlop of the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute’s description and sharing of her precious artefacts from the US civil rights movement.

We enjoyed superb refreshments all day and the AGM was a lively, relaxed affair where we discussed our application to become a charity (CIO) and candidates spoke about why they wanted to be part of the management committee (MC). We welcomed back 10 of last year’s members and two new faces: Jack Madden of Movement for Change and Chandra Vemury, a civil engineer who teaches at Teeside University.  Mark Galloway stepped down and we thanked him for all his PR work for JtoJ. We were delighted to gain new volunteers from the day.

Feedback ‘I liked the mixture of academics, community workers, educationists and activists and especially the feeling of hope, particularly with respect to young people.’ ‘Love the venue! Keep doing what you’re doing!’ ‘It’s great to see JtoJ developing tangible outputs that are making real difference on both a smaller and wider scale. I’m excited to see it grow and learn from the pilots.’

Thanks once again to the team at BCA for your generous hosting and to everyone who helped in any way to make this another memorable day. You can download a copy of our 2014-15 report here.


A vigil for those killed and injured and their families and friends in Beirut, Nigeria and Paris was held on November 16th at Waltham Forest Town Hall, organised by the Council.



Fundraising event for JtoJ

Team member and English teacher Parul Motin held a fundraising evening at her home for friends and family to showcase the work of JtoJ. They enjoyed refreshments and the films and poetry of our projects and heard the views of young people who have gained so much from their involvement with JtoJ. Thanks everyone for your support and generosity, we could not do without you.

‘My favourite part today was watching the children express themselves through the power of poetry. It was extremely touching and inspiring.’ (Lili Bayne)

‘ I love Journey to Justice’s aims. I lacked knowledge in school and had to learn from my mum and the internet.’ (Rochelle Mullings)

‘It’s wonderful to know that JtoJ exists and serves to address and eradicate fear and equality. To see the impact it had on the children was awesome.’ (Nadia Altaf)

‘My day was educational.  I learnt many new stories!’ (Yusrah Kalyaci)

‘I look forward to seeing the great changes JtoJ will encourage.I have certainly gained a much more in depth understanding of what JtoJ stands for.’ (Afsana Motin)

Be the Change: at Northumberland Park Community School, Tottenham

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” (Mahatma Gandhi)

Journey to Justice was invited to run a session with students at NPCS in Tottenham as part of their Be the Change Day which aims to inspire and motivate students to make a difference through volunteering.

We talked about our work so far: in Leyton, the travelling exhibition, Newcastle and more and we discussed the factors which make human rights campaigns successful (or not) and asked them to describe issues they care about most. Their concerns include: equal education for girls world-wide; eradicate discrimination; homelessness; the need for peace and respect (‘don’t insult each other’, ‘be more positive’); more family time.

The young people outlined how being a volunteer can help achieve change and the range of skills needed. Then they worked in small groups; focused on helping plan our London launch of the travelling exhibition for 2016. The themes were: fundraising; PR & Communications and the line-up itself.

Feedback to the whole group was fantastic! Detailed, enthusiastic, thoughtful and invaluable. Happily for us, many students signed up to volunteer with JtoJ. It was a brilliant morning full of quality questions and responses. In their evaluations, students said:

‘I really enjoyed the class. I didn’t want to come because I thought it was going to be boring but I really learned things and understand that it’s in my hands and the hands of all people to make a difference. We just need to join together.’ (Ruth)

‘My favourite part of the day was when we planned next year’s show in London.’ (Kaan)

‘The part that I liked was when we were sharing things about our world that we would like to change.’ (Marianna)

‘I really enjoyed it when my group had to present our ideas for the launch.’ (Ryan)

‘I really enjoyed everything. I thought our session was well planned and there was nothing to improve. Everyone got involved and it was a fun experience I won’t forget.’ (Ketura)

Thank you very much staff and students of Northumberland Park Community School




Saturday April 4th is the anniversary of Dr Martin Luther King’s assassination and was the date of our North East launch.  Journey to Justice is part of his legacy. In our exhibition we tell the stories of less well-known people who chose to join the civil rights movement and, by doing so, helped bring more justice to the world. We celebrated with a rich mix of local singers and speakers from our partners and supporters and poetry by young people in Leyton, London who are part of Journey to Justice.

Highlights included a song composed by Crossings for JtoJ, music of North East heritage performed by Johnny Handle and Benny Graham and an impassioned speech about the global meaning of Justice by Archie Sibeko, international trade unionist and a former cell mate of Nelson Mandela.

The event was run by 20 of our volunteers and at the end they each read a line from the speech by MLK when he came to receive his honorary degree at Newcastle University on 13th November 1967.

See here for the full programme.

The exhibition was opened by Marcia Saunders, former US civil rights activist in the Tennessee voter registration campaign and whose story is told in the exhibition . She cut the ribbon with Spencer Moore of Kingsmeadow School after he sang Oh Freedom with his community choir and all his heart.

See here for Marcia’s speech.

350 people packed into the magnificent Great Hall at Discovery Museum. Formerly the canteen and ballroom for Co-op workers, it was the perfect venue for our opening and all filmed by the BBC. We had a minute of fame on Look North that night which – with fantastic coverage on the radio and in The Journal and Chronicle has brought hundreds of visitors to our exhibition.


‘The Journey to Justice Newcastle launch was a diverse and inspiring event to all who attended.  The inclusive nature of the launch ensured all voices from all campaigns, from the civil rights movement to tackling poverty today – were heard.  All linked by the way normal people see something that is wrong and strive to change it.  Our highlights were Archie’s inspiring speech, the photographs from campaigns and of course the singing!’
PEN (Poverty Ends Now) group

The inclusiveness of J2J shone through. Especially important was putting people on stage who clearly are not often given such a platform alongside confident experienced speakers and leaders and the MP.’

I loved every minute of the incredible launch. I know many of you have worked so hard to deliver this dream. It was a moving afternoon with wonderful speeches and music. My parents and boyfriend attended – they hadn’t really known what to expect but they came away very much inspired and full of it. I feel very privileged to be involved.’

‘It was a great day of solidarity and aspiring activists. There was a humbling atmosphere full of smiles. We are not here for fame and money but for change and empowerment.’

 ‘It was a magnificent afternoon.’ ‘The opening was fantastic..Everyone was superb…Zola’s a legend!’

 ‘It was so special to be part of the day and I felt proud as punch that my parents and sister were able to see it. They were all so impressed, HUGE congratulations!’

With many thanks, as always, to our funders, supporters, guests, performers and volunteers.

Photography courtesy of Aziz Rahman


Celebration at the House of Lords

February 25th 2015

Hosted by our patron Lord Herman Ouseley and supporter Lord Jeremy Beecham

Funded by Big Lottery Fund and Land Securities

With huge thanks to everyone.

Students, staff and volunteers from George Mitchell School, Leyton led their guests through two hours of presentations, music and poetry. We were celebrating the first two months of a Journey to Justice course focused on global human rights movements, the music of social protest and understanding social change. Students: met campaigners from Movement for Change, researched Soweto, Ruby Bridges, Malala Yousafzai and the Burston School Strike; attended a preview of Selma and The Scottsboro Boys and planned their own campaigns.  These will focus on gangs and the lack of activities for young people locally and on the involvement of students in the school exclusion process.

The JtoJ poetry group created stunning work in response to discussions about justice which they read at the House of Lords and is now part of the Journey to Justice travelling exhibition.

Click here to download the poems

Students invited guests at the HOL to talk about their own journeys to justice including: meeting Martin Luther King; bring wrongfully arrested by a racist police officer; coming out as gay and running a campaign against FGM.  It was an extraordinary, powerful night for everyone.

Click here to download the full programme.

‘I was so moved and inspired by the poetry and journeys against injustice that everyone had faced. It was eye-opening for me to see young people express themselves in such a way, they really are something. It made me reflect on my own journey and my own struggles with social injustice and the changes I want to see in the world. It showed me that I have no excuses to sit back.’ (Aminah Khan)

 ‘I’ve learned that if I believe in something I shouldn’t give up no matter what the challenge is.’  (Krusal Vara, student at George Mitchell School) ‘I want to know more now, make an effort and succeed.’ (Jacky Yenga-Matmu). The group say they are more aware of injustice, have made new friends, can speak in public with more ease and have found issues which are personal and real to work on. The Journey to Justice poetry club gave them an outlet for their inner thoughts and feelings and some parents say they are more confident at home.

‘The project has certainly changed their hearts and mind.  They want to be a part of positive change’ (Parul Motin, teacher)

Visit the George Mitchell Journey to Justice Blog Spot for details of the pilot course we are running:

watch a short film made by Winstan Whitter about our Leyton pilot.


Photographs by Bethany Hunt and Aziz Rahman

Footsteps to Freedom in the North East


Click here to view the full programme of events

Fundraising cocktail party

February 14th: Fundraising party hosted by Jeremy Green and Ruth Schamroth to support Journey to Justice raised enough to pay for our pilot project publicity materials in Newcastle. A big thanks to them and to everyone who was there.

Selma Nights – the reviews

We are thrilled at the response to our three preview screenings. All events were full – London and Newcastle sold out of tickets and had waiting lists. We raised enough funds to support some of our education projects in the forthcoming Newcastle pilot and to give Sheffield a healthy start to its pilot. Thanks to: Pathe Films, our volunteers, superb speakers and to everyone who supported us. Here’s some of the feedback:

London January 26 at the Charlotte Street Hotel

“The reason I liked this movie was because it opened my eyes to what Martin Luther did for the black community. It was definitely very inspirational, as he fought for the blacks’ rights in voting. He didn’t fail them. Martin Luther King changed history. He fought for what he believed in and didn’t stop until he got what he wanted. I would recommend this movie to everyone to learn” (Samira Hussein, student at George Mitchell School, Leyton)

“Selma, America in the 1960s is where lots of black people marched because they were treated unfairly. They stood up for their rights and did not give up until they got what they were protesting for, which was equality in voting with white people without needing to pass a test. After watching the film, I felt very uncomfortable and sad for the people who died, calmly protesting. However, I was happy to see them finally getting victory. They were all brave and continued to challenge the President. My favourite part was when King and his followers kept going back to march, their courage was astonishing and they even invited white people to join. I learnt a lot from the film, I know if I believe in something I shouldn’t give up no matter what the challenge is. I would recommend it to everyone in my school.” (Krusal Vara, student at George Mitchell and one of the speakers before the film)

“Thank you Journey to Justice for such a moving night – the speakers were amazing and my friend Issy and I want to be human rights lawyers now.” (Hannah Polden-Churchill)

Photography courtesy of Aziz Rahman

Sheffield January 31st 11am in the VOID lecture room, Sheffield Hallam University

“We heard you on the radio, Sir, talking about that Civil Rights film!”.

Over 80 people bravely bore the freezing temperatures to turn up for an exclusive preview screening of Selma to raise funds for Journey to Justice at Sheffield Hallam University. Amongst those present was Bruce Leng a Church minister who was on the 1963 March on Washington and heard Martin Luther King deliver his famous ‘I Have a dream ‘speech. Others were impressed with the portrayal of Martin Luther King by David Oyelowo and the intelligent way in which the story of the struggle for civil rights was told.

Mark Hutchinson, co-ordinator of the Sheffield Journey to Justice Project and Maxine Greaves, Engagement Officer for Communities at Hallam University thanked Pathe and Plan B Entertainment for the rights to screen the film. Further support came from Carrie Supple, director of Journey to Justice and Michael Gillender a senior researcher with JtJ.

Sheffield Live! and Radio Sheffield broadcast interviews with Mark – heard by some of his pupils who asked, ‘Can we see the film Sir and get some justice?”.

Newcastle January 31st 2pm at the Star and Shadow

‘It was a huge success , Professor Ward gave us a really good historical context and opening with a freedom song (Birmingham Sunday) was great – Bethany (Coyle, JtoJ’s North East co-ordinator) has such a beautiful voice. I wonder how often the Star and Shadow sees the likes of such a vibrant event? The audience appeared drained by the film it was so affective.’ (Lucy T)

Journey to Justice announces exclusive previews of Pathe Films’ stunning new movie, ‘Selma’

Pathe will release ‘Selma’, starring British actor David Oyelowo as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with Tom Wilkinson as President Lyndon B. Johnson; Carmen Ejogo as Coretta King; Tim Roth as Governor George Wallace; and Oprah Winfrey as Annie Lee Cooper, in UK cinemas on 6th February.

Journey to Justice is holding three exclusive preview screenings of the film in Sheffield, Newcastle and London (details below) to help fund our education work. Every penny of your ticket price will go to projects which will make connections with campaigns for social justice now. Our travelling exhibition on the US civil rights movement and its links to the UK will be at The Discovery Museum in Newcastle throughout April.

SELMA tells the story of the historic struggle to secure voting rights for African-Americans.  The film, directed by Ava DuVernay tracks a dangerous and terrifying three month campaign led by Dr King which culminated in the epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in March 1965. It galvanized American public opinion and persuaded President Johnson to introduce the Voting Rights Act, protecting African-Americans’ right to vote. 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of this pivotal moment in the US Civil Rights Movement and our event is a week after MLK Day and the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day.

5-star review:

‘Tremendous… A flat-out great film. Oyelowo is electrifying as Martin Luther King’ (5 stars, Daily Telegraph)

‘A film everyone should see… phenomenal’ (Glamour)

‘A triumph… stunning’ (Baz Bamigboye, Daily Mail)


Monday January 26th

7pm, Charlotte St Hotel, 15-17 Charlotte St, London W1T 1RJ

Special guest speakers include: Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, Lord Herman Ouseley and Chi Onwurah MP for Newcastle Central

Tickets £30 – all proceeds will fund one of our education projects in Newcastle. As part of our pilot there, launching in April 2015, we will use oral history to tell the story of when Martin Luther King visited Newcastle to receive an honorary degree in 1967.

To fund one of our education projects in Newcastle. As part of our pilot there, launching in April 2015, we will use oral history to tell the story of when Martin Luther King visited Newcastle to receive an honorary degree in 1967 just five months before his assassination.

Tickets for the London screening:


Saturday 31st January 2015, 11 am, Tickets £7 to fund Sheffield pilot of JtoJ

The VOID room 123 Owen Building, City Campus

Sheffield Hallam University S1 1WB

Tickets: “SELMA” at The Void, Floor 1, Owen Building, | Buy tickets online



Sat. Jan. 31st

2pm at Star and Shadow Cinema, Stepney Bank, NE1 2NP

With special guest speakers

Tickets £10 to fund Newcastle pilot of JtoJ

For tickets:


What activists can learn from Selma:


Ten things you should know about Selma before you see the film:


Facing History and Ourselves: teaching ideas:

Journey to Justice Team Day at the Black Cultural Archives Saturday October 25th 2014

Thirty five of JtoJ’s volunteers, advisers, supporters and steering group members spent a most stimulating day together in the brand new Black Cultural Archives Learning Room on Saturday October 25th. We explored the meaning of social justice, shared our own journeys to justice and were taken through a lesson in the importance of critical thinking as Martin Spafford unpacked the true story behind this notorious photo from the Children’s Crusade, 1963 in Birmingham, Alabama:

(copyright Bill Hudson, 1963)

Before lunch, our North East co-ordinator and singer extraordinaire, Bethany Elen Kirtley Coyle sang Joan Baez’s tragic Birmingham Sunday and led us all in Sweet Honey in the Rock’s Ella’s Song about Ella Baker, one of the many unsung heroes and heroines of the US civil rights movement:

We held our first AGM that afternoon, agreeing a revised constitution ready for our application to become a charity. We heard reports and updates about our amazing first year and elected a new management committee [link??]. It was a very special seven hours and a milestone for the team.


‘I liked the way activities involved everyone, a refreshing way to discover new insights and knowledge about that period of history. I was reminded of how much work goes on behind the scenes to make change happen, and that there are lots of unsung heroes and efforts involved in organising events and actions for social justice.’

‘Most memorable was the wonderful cross-section of people present – all supporting JtoJ in different and important ways.  This was inspiring and reflected our principles of JtoJ. I loved Bethany’s beautiful singing and I learnt much more about the tactics and reporting of the US civil rights movement and how much more complex the struggle was……… in contrast to the well-known, traditional description of events and personalities.’

‘The introduction was very powerful, finding out what justice meant to each individual because everyone is on their own journey.’

‘It made me rethink more deeply about how the media and different viewpoints shape historical narratives.’

‘I was inspired and educated about the nature of the planning and overall mission of the non-violent civil rights movement via the discussion and reflection of those events. I learnt that it requires planning, clear goals, focus, and cooperation to make positive changes.’

‘I didn’t know so much about the Birmingham protest so that was fascinating. I was also inspired by meeting so many passionate people, and felt part of the J2J community.’

Islington Black History Month Festival 2014

We are pleased to announce that the Islington Black History Month Festival, organised by our friend and colleague Aisha Forbes runs from 1st October – 18th November 2014.
Click here for full details


Journey to Justice sings songs of civil rights and social justice

On Wednesday July 23rd Journey to Justice and friends sang songs of the civil rights movement and international peace on the South Bank. We were led by the fabulous UCLU Jazz Vocals, stars of our launch event in June and the Big Red Band Songs included We Shall OvercomeThe Hammer SongI Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to be Free, There Is Power In A Union, A Change is Gonna Come, Motherless Child and Oh Freedom. (You can read about the some of the songs’ history here).
Passersby gathered to watch, join in and applaud. Ironically we weren’t allowed to unfurl our magnificent banner (see launch photos), hand out leaflets or collect for the crowdfunding campaign, but we did link up with our partners in Newcastle, Songs Protest Rhythm & Rhyme in the Mining Institute. And at 7.05pm just as we’d planned, we sang Solidarity Forever at the same time!
Why sing? Music has always been at the heart of social justice and protest, everywhere. It brings hope, strength and unity. We sing in solidarity with those who work for social justice in the UK and those who try to build peace and understanding in the face of human rights abuses, hate and war everywhere – CAR, Ethiopia, Gaza, Israel, Iraq, North Korea, Russia, Syria and the Ukraine. ‘Without music, the civil rights movement would have been a bird with no wings’ (Congressman John Lewis)
Filming by Rebecca Polden-Churchill                  Photos by Bethany Hunt

Join us for a mass singing of civil rights and social justice songs

One week before the end of our crowd funding campaign! Please help Journey to Justice reach its target!

Wednesday July 23 at 6pm on the South Bank and visit the memorial to the International Brigades who fell in the Spanish Civil War


Just bring your voices – we’ll provide song sheets. Tell your friends, family & networks too & please donate at: by 31 July. Help us build our travelling exhibition about the US civil rights movement & its impact, linked to UK histories of human rights campaigns.

See you on Wednesday July 23rd at 6pm, the South Bank

Our launch party – June 21st 2014

On 21 June the wonderful Conway Hall was host to our launch – a night of song, dance, poetry, film and speeches celebrating movements for social justice – compered by our Chairman Mark Hutchinson.  There was a  full house and teams of dedicated volunteers prepared delicious food and drink, all donated. The launch was made possible by our funders and the hard work of 40 volunteers and 45 performers. Many in the audience have given to our crowd funding campaign – thank you!


We were delighted to be joined by Alvin Hall whose brilliant programmes about civil rights and African American music – its sounds and politics – inspire and inform us. Speakers included Leyla Hussein, co-founder of Daughters of Eve and campaigner against gender based violence; Sir Geoffrey Bindman  – human rights lawyer and JtoJ steering group member and Brandon Palmer, remembering Bayard Rustin – the phenomenal organiser of the US civil rights movement. Mary Spyrou read Maya Angelou’s Still I Rise and performances included the David Idowu Choir (formed in memory of David, who was a 15 year old victim of knife crime); Tayo Aluko (Call Mr Robeson); Streetz Ahead; UCLU Vocals; Zena Edwards, poet and singer; Jo Clarke singing Nina Simone; Wayne Marshall singing civil rights anthems and Dareece James reading her powerful poem, Who Are We? Who Are They? and Exposure premiered Revolution 2.0 their stunning re-make of Gil Scott Heron’s The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. The evening ended with a tribute to Pete Seeger introduced by Dave Rosenberg of East End Walks and all performers back on stage singing If I Had A Hammer and We Shall Overcome after we cut a magnificent launch cake made by Trisha Kelly under the banner she made. You can see the full evening’s programme here.

We promoted Journey to Justice’s first project: a travelling exhibition about the US civil rights movement and its impact which will tour UK communities starting in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Sheffield. As it tours, the exhibition will connect with local UK histories of campaigns for change.  June 21st was the 50th anniversary of the murder of civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman in Mississippi and the launch was dedicated in part to their memory.

Photography courtesy of Aziz Rahman


The feedback has been overwhelming. Here’s a taste of it:

Warmest congratulations and admiration to everyone who was involved on Saturday: what a rich, thought provoking, warm, combative, exciting evening with a real sense both of a community developing and a willingness to struggle. So many wonderful elements to the evening, so varied yet complementary the contributions. The gloriously eclectic and delicious spread of food mirrored the wide ranging glories on stage, too. We’ve so much to do ahead of us that the launch needed to inspire and invigorate us as well as announcing us to the world and bringing in an ever wider network. It did its job so well.


It was a fabulous evening. The performers were brilliant and delicious food and wine.  I really loved it and was extremely impressed by the fantastic organisation and Mark’s excellent  presentation.


I had the most brilliant evening; you gathered the most amazing crowd and all of the acts were great. The room was a-buzz and there was a palpable sense of love and excitement in the air. We were both in tears listening to the David Idowu Choir and it made us think about how we should stand up for our rights at work more too.


The evening was fantastic on so many levels. The message came through so clearly and strongly with every act and the huge variety of performers  all had such terrific energy and infectious enthusiasm.


What a way to start! Thank you for an inspiring evening – an incredible expression of support and goodwill for an enterprise that surely touches a lot of hearts and minds.  Leyla Hussein’s mission to right one of the most insidious and unbelievably widespread assaults on women is so courageous. Oh, and the food and drink was so delicious and ample….


It was a wonderful night, it uplifted me and I really needed it.


A special night…Splendid….FANTASTIC!!….Cracking!


 I was blown away! I loved the event! It was so much BIGGER than I had expected! Such class acts.


 It was an amazing evening, full of warmth and love, and loads of positive energy to move the project forward.


I was very impressed by the large attendance and the support JtoJ has rallied for a really valuable project. I was thrilled to have been involved.


The evening is impressed upon our minds. It was a wonderful spread that fed the senses.


The atmosphere was wonderful, the audience ecstatic and the events electric.


Superb speeches…All so well executed…Seriously impressive, would love to see how your projects progress.


Everything was on point, loved the show it was fantastic, loved the way the show started with A Change Is Gonna Come.


Brilliant show, would love to get involved with you guys.


Couldn’t stop thinking about the show all the way home.


More than worth the £10.00 you guys charged!


You’ve come a hell of a long way in a year!


Volunteers said they enjoyed a sense of belonging to the JtoJ community, guests emailed to say the show led to discussions on the way home about social change and the lack of diversity in their neighbourhood or friendship groups and why on earth there are 50 million refugees in 2014.

The journey has begun……


Brother Outsider: The story of Bayard Rustin


On June 14th, we held our first public event, a screening of Brother Outsider at The RADA Studios. Brother Outsider tells the story of Bayard Rustin who was African American, Communist, gay, pacifist and a phenomenal organiser of the US civil rights movement. He was an anglophile and visited the UK over 20 times, helping to organise the Aldermaston Marches and campaign for our race relations laws. We were joined at the screening by the film’s co-director, Bennett Singer who left a message for Journey to Justice.


The turnout, discussion and feedback was excellent.

‘Journey to Justice is an inspiring project – and the Bayard Rustin film was a fitting first public event to launch your important efforts to build support for the movement for social justice in the UK and globally.

The film showed powerfully that understanding and learning from the past is a much more sustainable way to build and create social change. Rustin learned from his grandmother the ways of peaceful protest, he learned from Gandhi about how to conduct an effective civil disobedience campaign. He knew it was his human right to be gay and insisted on being open about his sexual orientation, long before this was socially acceptable, and paid personal and political costs for doing so. He advised others, including Martin Luther King, based on his own learning and built a clear vision based on his strategic thought, his experience, clarity and integrity. He showed the way through walking the talk in every way, including pointing out where others were wrong.

So much of our current experience of showing support for social issues is through ‘clicktivist’ campaigns – misguiding people that change can be delivered by signing up to an online petition. Such campaigns can only be a part of the important work of organising, learning, collectivising social action.

Congratulations on this initiative, and best of luck for the launch next week. So sorry I won’t be able to be there, but look forward to participating in future.’ (Cindy Berman)

“Journey to Justice’s showing of Brother Outsider about the awe-inspiring Bayard Rustin was a totally uplifting and extremely thought-provoking event. Bayard’s life embodied Journey to Justice’s values of challenging injustice through non-violent action; compassion for all people; tolerance and inclusion; the importance of music to inspire and promote solidarity as well as a constant debate about how to actually achieve a more just society. The chance to meet and discuss this award-winning film with Bennett Singer, its joint director, made the screening a very memorable occasion. I loved the film and learned so much.” Pat Boyer

‘Journey to Justice has already affected me because I’ve learned about Bayard Rustin.’ Aziz Rahman

Articles about Bayard Rustin by Eric Lee of Labour Start:

Support our crowd funding campaign to raise £20,000 for the travelling exhibition

We raised £10,277.50 and are delighted with and grateful for, each penny and pound.
Now we can commission our exhibition design and film.
You can still see the 4 minute movie we made:

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Journey to Justice – the launch

Saturday 21 June 7.30pm – 10.00 pm

Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Sq, London WC1R 4RL

A night of music, dance, poetry and film celebrating those working for social justice.

The main speaker will be Leyla Hussein, co-founder of Daughters of Eve and campaigner against gender based violence.

Compered by Pauline Pearce, Hackney Heroine, performances include the David Idowu Choir (formed in memory of David, who was a 15 year old victim of knife crime); Tayo Aluko (Call Mr Robeson); Streetz Ahead dance; UCLU Jazz Society; Zena Edwards, poet and singer; Jo Clarke singing Nina Simone and Wayne Marshall singing classic civil rights anthems.

June 21st is the 50th anniversary of the murder of civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman in Mississippi and this launch is dedicated in part to their memory.

We will conclude with a tribute to the late great Pete Seeger, a king of social protest music.

Doors open at 7pm Light refreshments will be served in the interval.

Tickets £10

Blogger Jaz McKenzie kindly wrote this poem for our launch week: