‘Boardwalk Empire’ Star Michael Kenneth Williams Pushing For Prison Reform With ACLU, Highlight Hollywood News

Uber popular HBO star Michael Williams is playing a man in prison in the early 1930s on the hit series Boardwalk Empire, and the star is now a national advocate to help reform our nation’s prison system. We now have more prisoners in the U.S. than all the Western countries in the world, and we now have eclipsed Communist China, due to many issues over our nation’s history, including racism within the penal system.  Someone affluent, using cocaine gets probation and rehab, someone in poverty, mostly in inner cities use cooked cocaine or (crack) tends to get upwards of 15-years, and the permanent loss of their voting rights and other rights as Americans. This was initially used in the nation’s Jim Crow-era to keep black men from voting. With Barack Obama in the White House, the last six-years have shown the world what many on the right think of blacks in power. Turn on Fox News, you hear it hourly.  Tune in to right-wing Talk radio, and you’ll think you are back in the 18TH Century of America. 

The Boardwalk Empire star has signed on as the American Civil Liberties Union’s Ambassador for ending mass incarceration, THR first reported, and Highlight Hollywood has confirmed.



In the role, Williams will lend support to the ACLU’s fight to push for criminal justice reform and advocate that people struggling with addiction or mental illness receive medical treatment instead of being sent to prison.




“We have spent 40 years stuffing our prisons, mostly with black and brown men,” he said Thursday in a statement. “We haven’t seen any of the problems outside those prison cells improve, and some have gotten worse. We can do better, and I’m excited to work with the ACLU to push for that change.”




The ACLU’s Ambassador Project launched in October 2013 and pairs stars with key issues.  As part his role as an advocate for ending mass incarceration, Williams will make public appearances and speak out about the issue in the media.




“We’re at a tipping point on mass incarceration in this country, and Michael’s voice will help us move beyond the disastrous policies of the last 40 years,” said Vanita Gupta, Deputy Legal Director of the ACLU. “He has the passion, deep moral conviction, and contagious optimism needed to effect real change in a criminal justice system that simply isn’t working.”




In addition to HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, Williams appeared in The Wire12 Years a Slave, and Robocop. He also co-stars in the feature film The Messenger, which hits theaters in October. He also appears in upcoming awards season hopefuls The Gambler and Inherent Vice.




Other ACLU Ambassadors include Demian Bichir (immigrants’ rights), Harry Belafonte (the over-incarceration of juveniles), W. Kamau Bell (racial justice) Lewis Black (voting rights) Melissa Etheridge (marijuana reform), Jesse Tyler Ferguson (marriage equality), Cyndi Lauper (LGBT and HIV/AIDS issues) and Marlee Matlin (disability rights).




Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: HBO
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