A Night of Jazz and Justice

night jazz justice

On September 29th, New York Justice for Our Neighbors celebrated our mission of welcome with a Night of Jazz. The event was kindly hosted by the Vanderveer Park United Methodist Church, who has long been a partner of NY JFON. Alongside the entertainment, guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres from Shey Ni Chez, a Brooklyn-based catering company. 

night of jazz logo

The night opened with a number from Raymond Trapp and Friends, featuring Vanderveer Park UMC’s own Director of Music, Raymond Trapp. A native of Belize, Raymond joined Vanderveer Park UMC in 2009, where he conducts 3 vocal choirs and plays the organ and piano. The night’s talented musicians also included renowned trumpet player Lessie Vonner, who has performed with artists such as Beyonce, Jay-Z, and Lizzo, who played with her group, the Lessie Vonner Trio.

Keynote speaker Donna Akuamoah, now an attorney with Fayetteville JFON, captivated the audience with her moving speech, “From Client to Counsel.” Born in Ghana, Donna credited the JFON community for her success, describing how welcomed and respected she felt as a NY JFON client: “At New York JFON, as soon as you walk through the doors you are welcome. You belong here. You are one with all. You are treated as a full human.” She named Managing Attorney TJ Mills as her biggest inspiration in pursuing law as a career. Donna graduated from Duke Law School in 2011 and joined Fayetteville JFON in 2020. We are so proud of all Donna has achieved, and look forward to following her accomplishments as part of our JFON family.

Following Donna’s speech, Rev. Paul Fleck, NY JFON’s Executive Director, came on stage to recognize the tireless efforts of NY JFON’s attorneys, staff, and volunteers. In closing remarks, board member and “volunteer extraordinaire” Gail Douglas-Boykin asked us to reflect on the state of the world today and what we can do to advocate for justice for our immigrant neighbors. 

Thank you to everyone who attended the event, whether in person or virtually. Because of you, we raised over $13,000 to provide legal services to low-income, vulnerable immigrants. As we seek to expand access to legal services for immigrants on Long Island, we encourage you to sign up for our newsletter to stay informed about future opportunities to support us.

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