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  • Alice Green

A Tribute to Joseph "Jazz" Hayden

Written by Dr. Alice Green, January 19, 2024

Photo Credit: The New York Times

Jazz and I worked together while he was still incarcerated.  We corresponded for many years and he assisted the Center for Law and Justice to develop its prisoner voting rights agenda that we used to educate the community on the issue and its importance to Black communities in particular.  Throughout the years, we have advocated for the right of incarcerated people to vote, inspired by Jazz.


Upon his release from prison, we met each other for the first time in Washington, D.C.  , at a criminal justice conference.  From that point in time, we became close friends and social justice advocates.  On a number of occasions, we met at the Riverside Church in Harlem, where we held conferences, sometimes with Angela Davis and Michelle Alexander, who learned so much from him.  She also counted him among her mentors and special friends.


We will miss Jazz, but never forget him and his many contributions to the struggle for the freedom of Black people and all those incarcerated and enslaved.

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