December 8, 2022

A Letter From Angel Rodriguez, Executive Direct

Photo by Ana Isabel Photography

Avenues for Justice (AFJ)  was born out of the necessity to make sure young people in the Lower East Side had a fighting chance at better lives. Forty three years ago, our community was under-resourced, underserved, and over-policed. As a result, young people found themselves having multiple encounters with law enforcement that yielded life-changing results – court appearances, lengthy sentences, and charges that followed them into adulthood.

AFJ was incorporated to make sure young people had as many support systems as possible to help guide them towards different choices. Today, our work has grown ins cale, impact and depth. We remain committed to the Lower East Side and Harlem communities where our community centers are located. Our reach has expanded to include participants from across New York City, including the Bronx, Staten Island, Queens, and Brooklyn. In addition to our anchor court advocacy services, we provide a host of supportive services and enrichment activities to help support our participants and introduce them to new opportunities and experiences. Those supports include mental health services, job training, life skills building, academic assistance, along with activities and lessons like podcasting, videography, cooking, and much more.

Despite our growth, we remain rooted in the heart of our mission – making sure young people have access to court advocacy services. This work remains as crucial now as it was when we were founded. We know that young Black and Brown people across New York City continue to experience unjust rates of arrest, a dangerous situation for many young people to endure as they end up being held in places like Rikers Island while awaiting trial. This year, 18 people have died at Rikers Island, an increase from 16in 2021. Avenues for Justice provides a positive alternative to jailtime, offering young people services and support instead of time in cells. 

While we’ve come a long way in the past four decades, we have so much more to do. More young people to serve in our city, more second chances that we hope to provide them with, and more lives to touch. We hope we can count on your support as we work to not only sustain AFJ’s current work, but to deepen our presence across New York City. Your donation today will make a meaningful difference in the lives of court-involved young people in New York City. Here are some of the ways your support can help:


We appreciate your support and remain dedicated to creating a fairer criminal justice system together. Avenues for Justice will always be a place that offers young people the guidance, support, and services they need.

All the best,

Angel Rodriguez, 

Executive Director

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