Episode 8 – Public Defenders and the Communities They Serve



In celebration of Black History Month, co-hosts Jonathan Rapping and Ilham Askia sat down with Author and The Breakfast Club Co-Host, Charlamagne tha God and the Southern Center for Human Rights’ Community and Engagement & Movement Building Counsel, Tiffany Williams Roberts to discuss how public defenders can improve their perception among communities in which they serve. Tune in as they discuss their current view of the criminal legal system, thoughts on how Gideon’s Promise can continue to effectively work to not only seek, but to also obtain justice for everyone (especially for black and brown people that are most vulnerable and dis-enfranchised), and how Gideon’s Promise can spread their message of transformation to mainstream America.




Charlamagne Tha God has risen to become one of the most potent, influential, and authoritative voices in media today. He is the widely coveted, outspoken, thought-provoking co-host of the hottest nationally syndicated radio show in the U.S., ‘The Breakfast Club,’ heard by over 4.5 million weekly listeners and televised each morning on Revolt TV. He is a cultural influencer, executive producer with his own production company, ‘CThaGod World,’ and co-host of the popular podcast, ‘Brilliant Idiots.’ His YouTube Channel, CThaGod, is one of the fastest-growing on the platform and features in-depth one-on-one conversations with artists such as Kanye West and Ed Sheeran.

Born and raised Lenard Larry McKelvey in Moncks Corner, South Carolina, Charlamagne began his career by landing a job as a radio intern while attending night school. After various on-air stints, he was offered a life-changing opportunity to become second mic to legendary radio icon Wendy Williams. In that role, he honed his trademark interview style, and quickly became known for his meticulously timed, groundbreaking questions, skillfully balancing stimulating curiosity and revelatory honesty. As an author, Charlamagne has cemented his ability to translate his personal plight into sonic narratives that educate, empower and inspire. ‘Black Privilege,’ in addition to being named a New York Times bestseller, was awarded Audible.com’s bestselling book of the year. ‘Shook One’ has helped Charlamagne become one of the world’s leading voices in the mental health discussion, as he publicly shares transparent truths about his struggles with anxiety.



Charlamagne tha God on Facebook

Charlamagne tha God Instagram

Charlamagne tha God on Twitter 



Tiffany Williams Roberts joined the Southern Center for Human Rights in April 2018 as the Community Engagement & Movement Building Counsel. Roberts is a civil rights and criminal defense attorney in Atlanta. She has practiced criminal defense since 2008, first as a public defender with the Atlanta Judicial Circuit Public Defender and later as a solo practitioner beginning in 2011. As a public defender, Tiffany represented hundreds of indigent clients facing felony prosecution and graduated from the Gideon’s Promise trial advocacy training program. She expanded her private practice to include civil rights litigation for victims of police abuse.

Tiffany has volunteered with organizations promoting justice, fairness and equity in the criminal justice system for her entire legal career. A community organizer, she co-founded police accountability organization Building Locally to Organize for Community Safety (BLOCS) in 2008 to promote a holistic approach to public safety. BLOCS successfully advocated for legislative improvements to the Atlanta Citizen Review Board along with other critical local policy changes. In 2015, Tiffany co‐founded Lawyers United for a New Atlanta (LUNA) in response to calls for criminal justice reforms in Atlanta courtrooms. She is also a founding member of the Atlanta chapter of the global Black Lives Matter network, which first convened in 2015. Tiffany was featured as a critic’s choice for one of four Best Citizen Activists by Creative Loafing Atlanta that same year.


Tiffany Williams Roberts on Facebook 

Tiffany Williams Roberts on Twitter 

Tiffany Williams Roberts on Instagram


Video Clips



    • Is there a disconnect between public defenders and the communities they serve?
    • Why are public defenders so critical in this moment/in this fight for racial and economic justice?
    • Why have public defenders been left out of the conversation?
    • Do communities distrust public defenders, and what do public defenders need to do to earn that trust?
    • What does Gideon’s Promise bring to the legal industry?


Gideon’s Promise: The Podcast can be found on Apple PodcastsSpotifySoundCloud,  YouTube and on the Gideon’s Promise website.




Black Privilege: Opportunity Comes to Those Who Create It (2017) by Charlamagne tha God.

Shook One: Anxiety Playing Tricks on Me (2019) by Charlamagne tha God.

Gideon’s Promise: A Public Defender Movement to Transform Criminal Justice (2020) by Jonathan Rapping.