The Bronx Defenders Announces 25th Anniversary Gala to Celebrate a Quarter Century of Radically Reimagining Justice

 September 13, 2022 


CONTACTS: The Bronx Defenders, 

The Bronx Defenders Announces 25th Anniversary Gala to Celebrate a Quarter Century of Radically Reimagining Justice 

Bronx, New York – On October 13, 2022, from 6 – 9:30 PM, The Bronx Defenders will celebrate their 25th  Anniversary Gala at Tribeca 360°.  

The Bronx Defenders was founded in 1997, when a small group of advocates came together to form a public defense office that would serve low-income people in The Bronx and transform the way they are represented in the legal system. Over the next 25 years, the organization innovated a holistic defense model that challenges systems of oppression both inside and outside the courtroom, serving over 550,000 New Yorkers through direct legal representation, community organizing, coalition building, policy advocacy, social work, and impact litigation. 

“From supporting pregnant and postpartum parents to freeing people from ICE detention and challenging NYPD’s unconstitutional stop and frisk practices, The Bronx Defenders is proud to work in partnership with the people we represent, The Bronx community, and coalition partners and organizations,” said Justine Olderman, Executive Director of The Bronx Defenders. 

After a two-year hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Bronx Defenders’ annual gala will return to celebrate 25 years of radically reimagining justice, reflect on the future of public defense, and honor Bronx community leaders Christopher Alexander, Derrick and Desmon Lewis, and Fat Joe. 

Christopher Alexander is the inaugural Executive Director of the New York State Office of Cannabis Management. A long-time advocate for social justice, racial equity, and civic engagement, Mr. Alexander is the architect of the Start SMART NY campaign to end marijuana prohibition and the lead drafter of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, which legalized cannabis in New York State in 2021 and automatically expunged past cannabis convictions. 

Brothers Derrick and Desmon Lewis founded The Bronx Community Foundation in 2017 to mobilize resources to support Bronxites in a unique and innovative way. It is the first and only foundation solely dedicated to delivering resources to the borough.  

“We are honored to be recognized by The Bronx Defenders and we congratulate them on 25 years of radically transforming how Bronxites are supported and represented in the justice system. Since our founding, The Bronx Community Foundation has been proud to partner with The Bronx Defenders. Our work together has led to life-saving activities such as providing micro-grants to system and justice involved Bronxites, to innovative supportive and generational wealth building programs like the first-of-its-kind Bronx Cannabis Hub, both programs which are combating systemic and institutional racism along with helping to Build A Better Bronx.”

Born and raised in The South Bronx, Fat Joe is a Grammy-nominated recording artist, actor, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. In January 2022, Joe teamed up with the New York City Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City to create the Bronx Relief Fund and raise over $1 million for families impacted by the tragic Bronx apartment fire at Twin Parks North-West. 

The evening will be hosted by TV personality, writer, and producer Desus Nice. He co-hosted the late-night show Desus & Mero on Showtime, as well as the long-running and wildly popular Bodega Boys podcast. Elsewhere in television, he has lent his voice to Adult Swim’s The Shivering Truth, Netflix’s animated series Neo Yokio, and Disney’s Star vs. The Forces of Evil.  

Visit to purchase tickets or to become a sponsor.