NFL Legend Champ Bailey Honored


Atlanta, GA – February 17, 2020 – Pro Football Hall of Famer Cham p Bailey will be awarded the Ambassador of Change Award by Gideon’s Promise, a public defender organization whose mission is to transform the criminal justice system by building a movement of public defenders who provide equal justice for marginalized communities. The award will be presented at the organization’s Igniting Change fundraiser on March 20, 2020 at 595 North Event Center from 6:00 – 10:00 p.m.

Annually, Gideon’s Promise honors individuals and organizations in the Atlanta community committed to improving the dialogue and engagement around the issue of criminal justice reform. This year’s event will also honor Stone Mountain Circuit Public Defender Claudia Saari with the John R. Lewis Lifetime Achievement Award and The Gathering Spot with the Community Impact Award. The evening will also feature a cocktail reception, plated dinner and dancing with music provided by the band Gritz & Jelly Butter.

Champ Bailey is widely known for his outstanding achievement in the area of football. During his college and professional careers at the University of Georgia, Washington Redskins and Denver Broncos, Bailey built a stellar reputation as a diligent and high-performance leader.  He played in the NFL for 15 seasons as a cornerback and is credited with 908 tackles, 203 career pass deflections and was selected to12 Pro Bowls. The latter two achievements still stand as NFL records. On August 3, 2019 Champ Bailey was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

During his enshrinement speech he used the occasion to bring awareness to the racism and social challenges of black men saying, “The first thing people see when they look at me is not a Pro Football Hall of Famer or a husband or a father. They view me first as a black man…Yes, most of us are athletes but we are black men first. Understand this. Things that make us great on the field, like our size and our aggression, are the same things that can get us killed off the field.”

Since his speech, Bailey has become actively involved with a number of social justice issues and advocating for public defenders as a viable solution.  It is for this commitment he is being saluted at the organization’s fundraiser.

“We are very appreciative Champ is using his platform to bring much needed attention and awareness to the critical role of public defenders in seeking justice for marginalized communities, says Gideon’s Promise Executive Director Ilham Askia. “Strengthening public defense in America is at the center of any conversation surrounding criminal justice reform and we salute Champ for his willingness to be a champion for this worthy cause” she continued.

All proceeds from the 2020 event will be used to provide scholarships for the training and mentoring of new public defender fellows.

2020 Igniting Change sponsors include Freed Grant; CP Law Group; Stern Law; The Cochran Firm Atlanta; Delta Community Credit Union; Ten ATL; B-Tech Printing; Positive Promotions; and Bailey Brothers Foundation.

For information about Igniting Change tickets and sponsorships, please visit or contact Christopher Pearson at 404-921-3836 or [email protected].


About Gideon’s Promise

Gideon’s Promise is a 501(c)(3) public defender organization whose mission is to transform the criminal justice system by building a movement of public defenders who provide equal justice for marginalized communities.  Founded in 2007 by Jonathan Rapping, the organization has grown from a single training program for sixteen attorneys in two public defender offices in Georgia and Louisiana to a national enterprise with 1,000 participants in 45 public defender offices across 27 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The organization’s initial three-year program for new public defenders has expanded into a comprehensive program model that supports public defenders at all levels of their career.