The AFJ Legal Support Unit lead attorneys. From left to right, Kwesi Dash and Tajuana Johnson.

The AFJ Legal Support Unit lead attorneys. From left to right, Kwesi Dash and Tajuana Johnson.

About

AFJ is proud to launch its Legal Support Unit, which will expand upon its legal work and make it a hallmark of the statewide services that the organization provides.

The Unit provides a vital set of services to incarcerated individuals and their families. It takes a multi-pronged approach to providing legal representation to people in prison as well as information and resources for their families. The focus is on legal issues that affect the rights, concerns, and quality of life of incarcerated people and their families.

Some examples are:

  • Article 78 proceedings

  • Medical and mental health neglect

  • Physical abuse of incarcerated people

  • Visiting bans of family members and loved ones

  • Parole preparation

  • Clemency

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If you need our support, please reach out utilizing the form below, or call the Legal Support Unit at 917-268-2500.

We are a small and mighty team with a limited capacity, and will do our best to support you.

Name *
Name

lead attorney bios

Kwesi A. Dash, Esq.

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Kwesi A. Dash is one of the Lead Attorneys of AFJ’s Legal Support Unit. Kwesi has devoted his decade-long legal career to defending and advocating on behalf of individuals who have the least amount of access to resources and power, but who are the most targeted by the Criminal Justice System and other prevailing institutions. Kwesi comes from a family of immigrants. He was raised in Brooklyn, New York and learned very early about the importance of safeguarding the rights of the indigent and marginalized. Kwesi pursued a legal career after years of already having been in the workforce. Before attending law school, he was a law clerk and part of a team of lawyers that represented people from poor communities in Washington, D.C. Kwesi was also in charge of the firm's pro bono effort to provide legal rights awareness to people of color in the surrounding neighborhoods in D.C.

Kwesi spent his first years as a lawyer working in the jails of the New York City Department of Corrections. He provided legal assistance to incarcerated individuals, appeared alongside the incarcerated as an advisor at disciplinary hearings; and developed a curriculum for legal research courses that he taught in the correctional facilities. Kwesi then went on to practice at the Legal Aid Society. He spent a number of years as a defense attorney handling parole revocation cases that were heard on Rikers Island. Kwesi subsequently transferred to Legal Aid’s Manhattan trial office, where he represented clients for years in New York City’s hectic Criminal and Supreme courts as a fully-certified felony trial attorney. Before coming to the AFJ, Kwesi was a part of the Community Justice Unit of Legal Aid. As an attorney in that specialized unit, Kwesi provided legal services to all of the Cure Violence sites in Brooklyn. The position allowed Kwesi to work even more directly with the members of the communities he grew up in and gave him the opportunity to better merge his law practice with his 20 years of experience doing grassroots community work. Kwesi was the founder and the head of the Black Attorneys of Legal Aid Caucus, the first caucus of its kind in Legal Aid’s 140 year history. Kwesi has written a number of articles about social justice topics, has been a co-host for a live call-in community television show and has been a requested speaker at a variety of events. Kwesi writes prolifically outside of his professional work and continues to volunteer with community organizations to which he is personally connected.

tajuana b. johnson, esq.

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Tajuana B. Johnson is one of the Lead Attorneys of AFJ’s Legal Support Unit. Tajuana has been a legal practitioner for over ten years and has honed her skills in a variety of practice areas. She was born and raised in New York City and knows firsthand the experience of having family members caught in the Criminal Justice system and supporting loved ones through lengthy periods of incarceration. Having spent her early years in Far Rockaway, Queens and her formative years growing up in Brooklyn; Tajuana has personally witnessed and has been touched by the ways in which economic disenfranchisement, the influx of drugs and the prison industrial complex ravages communities.

Tajuana has always believed in the importance of family as a foundation. She started her professional career helping to mold and inspire young minds as a high school teacher and college professor. She taught for ten years before embarking on a second career in law. As part of her legal training, Tajuana spent time studying Human Rights law in South Africa.  She started her career as a Court Attorney in the Family Court Division of the New Jersey Superior Court. She then became an attorney with the Legal Aid Society of New York, where she initially represented juveniles in delinquency and persons in need of supervision (PINS) cases in the Bronx. Tajuana then moved into the complex integrated domestic violence and criminal defense practice (IDV) in Manhattan Supreme Court. She handled hundreds of cases annually and was the only attorney representing clients in IDV cases in New York County on behalf of her firm.

Prior to joining AFJ, Tajuana served as an Adjunct Clinical Professor at the City University of New York School of Law. Tajuana is a writer, and she has appeared on a number of panels and media broadcasts. She is also a requested speaker at various forums. Tajuana serves as a mentor to new attorneys and other young professionals, as well as a number of young people across New York City.