Meek Mill: I now feel a responsibility to 'help change the world'
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Rapper Meek Mill on Friday shared how his own experiences with the criminal justice system are inspiring him to help others during a panel in Washington, D.C.

“I thought when I got out I thought I owed part of my platform to help change the world and help change some of these things and bring light to some of these situations,” Mill said.


Mill in 2017 received a 2 to 4 year prison sentence over probation violations, which many criticized as excessive. He was released from prison earlier this year after questions over his arrest and conviction.

Mill said that while he is "blessed" to have a platform to share his views and make a difference, many others don't have those resources or support. He said the country's probation system kept many young black men unfairly out of the workforce.

Mill spoke at the Congressional Black Caucus Forum on Criminal Justice & Music. He was joined by author and professor Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, Universal Music Group general counsel Jeffrey Harleston and University of Maryland, Baltimore County professor Michelle R. Scott on a panel hosted by Rep. Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine - Will there be any last-minute shutdown drama? Congress hits gas on border deal Trump: 'Shutdown would be a terrible thing' MORE (D-N.Y.) and moderated by CNN host Van Jones.

The panel was part of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Annual Legislative Conference (ALC) at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, which brought together more than 9,000 legislators, community leaders and citizens to discuss economic development, social justice and other issues affecting the black community.

Jeffries stated the panel highlighted the importance of having individuals from all walks of life, including artists, musicians and celebrities, participate in social justice reform.

"This is an all hands on deck moment given what we face here in America," Jeffries said. "Members of Congress, clergy, activists, entertainers, athletes and musicians, and of course the public intellectuals that are on the stage right now."

Mill said that his own experience with the probation system pushed him to fight for a probation cap for non-violent crimes.

“Even with me having a future, this probation has been trailing me for so long,” Mill said.

Under Pennsylvania law, individuals released on parole are required to remain under supervision for up to their maximum sentence. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, more than 44,000 people are on probation in Philadelphia alone.

Mill, born Robert Williams, was released on bail earlier this year. The Pennsylvania state Supreme Court ordered his release after new accusations that the Philadelphia police officer who testified at Mill’s original hearing a decade ago had lied under oath.

Since his release, Mill has been outspoken on criminal justice issues.

Mill spoke candidly about his past experience with opioid addiction and his return to prison.

“I made a mistake getting addicted to opioids,” Mill said. “I believe I made some mistakes but I never believed I would end up in a state penitentiary with people serving life sentences.”

Dr. Dyson criticized the justice system's treatment of those with drug additions, saying that white Americans “get medicalized," but black Americans "get criminalized.”

Asked by a 12-year-old activist how young people can help their communities, Mill urged perseverance.

“If I could have started about 17, 18 years ago on the mission that I’m on, I believe that I would be even more powerful,” Mill said “So, I would just say keep sticking to it and grinding, and work harder than anyone else you see and put your heart in it."