Anthony Papa speaking at University of Massachusetts Amherst 2017

Do you need a dynamic speaker that will excite and motivate your  audience?



Anthony Papa is an experienced speaker that has given presentations in many different venues from major universities to schools for troubled youth, churches, prisons, and criminal justice conferences.  Using a multi visual presentation which includes videos, slide talks of his art incorporating criminal justice issues, he has a unique approach that inspires and captivates the target audience.  To inquire about this service please contact Mr. Papa at   0r call 646-420-7290

Some examples of  Papa's speaking style can be seen widely on the internet

Anthony Papa on Felony Disenfranchisement on WPIX Close Up

Anthony Papa on Bronx Net Talking about his one man show at the Outsider Gallery

Anthony Papa on Capital 9 News Historic Rockefeller Reforms

Drug War Activist Tony Papa Democracy Now

Anthony Papa :Fighting The Drug War (Part1)

Anthony Papa: Fighting The Drug War (Part2)

Anthony Papa: Drug War on Users (spanish)



Legal Action Center's 2021 Arthur Liman Public Interest Awards Benefit




Dear Friends, 

On behalf of the entire team at the Legal Action Center, thank you for your incredible support of the 2021 Virtual Arthur Liman Public Interest Awards Benefit! You made Monday night a record-setting evening, and together we raised $1,326,822! We are deeply grateful for and so inspired by this outpouring of support. It is your generosity that makes it possible for LAC to dismantle systemic inequity, fight discrimination, and restore opportunity for individuals criminalized for health issues or otherwise entangled in the criminal legal system, including the right to vote. Together, we will break the systemic barriers rooted in racist and punitive policies that perpetuate disparities in justice, health and opportunity. Thank you so much for joining us in this critical work.


Broken? A Symposium on Mass Incarceration in the USA


THE WAR ON DRUGS - 500B   Novemebr 17, 2018

This session will be led by Anthony Papa, an anti-drug war activist who was sentenced to two 15-years-to-life sentences for a single, nonviolent drug offense. Tony is the Manager of Media and Artist Relations at the Drug Policy Alliance and co-founder of the Mothers of the New York Disappeared.


Anthony Papa To Speak About Drug War, Mass Incarceration And His New Memoir

anthony papa drug policy alliance

Anthony Papa, an anti-drug war activist, author, and artist will speak at the University of Massachusetts Amherst on Monday December 4th.
Papa will be discussing his second memoir, This Side of Freedom: Life after Clemency. The book is a riveting, compelling tale about Papa’s life as an activist, writer and artist. He tells firsthand of his experience of returning home after serving 12 years of a 15-to-life sentence for a non-violent drug law violation, sentenced under the mandatory provisions of the Rockefeller Drug Laws of New York State. While behind bars, Papa found his passion for art and his haunting self-portrait entitled “15 to Life” ended up showing in the Whitney Museum. Papa used his art and personal story to generate a wave of media attention and in 1997 he was granted executive clemency by New York Governor George Pataki. Papa literally painted his way to freedom.

Papa, who is a manager of media & artist relations for the Drug Policy Alliance, was granted a pardon by NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo on 12/30/16, becoming the first individual in New York State history to receive both clemency (Gov.George Pataki 1996) and a pardon.

Mr. Papa’s stinging opinion pieces about the drug war have appeared in news sources across the United States, including his Huff Post blog.

Papa says that the freedom he fought so hard to get smacked him swiftly in the face, overpowering him. He struggled with his own freedom while fighting to free those he left behind. Papa goes through heart-wrenching trials and tribulations as he seeks to rebuild his life and continue his fight to end the war on drugs. Along the way he meets an array of individuals from famous movie stars to politicians and the very rich, enlisting their help in doing away with mass incarceration and draconian sentencing laws that have destroyed America’s criminal justice system.

Where: University of Massachusetts Amherst/ Integrated Sciences Complex, 3rd Floor room 3300, Boston, Massachusetts, United States 01003-9313  More info:  617-287-3130

When:  December 4th, 2pm   2017




 The New School  Pardons: The Power Nobody Wants ( Panel discussion) (see Papa speaking at event)


LaGuardia Community College

LaGuardia Performing Arts Center at LaGuardia Community College, The Little Theatre

Guests: two men who spent time in prison and were able to turn their lives around through the vehicle of creative art and activism.

Anthony Papa: author of 15 to Life, How I Painted My Way to Freedom, and Communications Specialist for Drug Policy Alliance

And Felipe Coronel, AKA Immortal Technique: Peruvian-born Harlem-based rapper/revolutionary activist, and president of Viper Records.

Nuyorican Poets Cafe    

 Anthony Papa - author “15 to Life” and Communications Specialist Drug Policy Alliance,

Full Spectrum   panel discussion, "THE INVISIBLES: A discussion with four

creators who have lived among the unseen.", 7:00-9:30 p.m., at WNYC Radio's The Greene Space, in Lower Manhattan.

Christine Bruno [actor/advocate], Lyssette
Horne [artist/poet/photographer],
Anthony Papa [artist/writer/advocate], and Nelson Rivas [painter] will
discuss the ideas behind their work, and draw upon their experiences among
disabled, homeless, undocumented, and incarcerated individuals to explore the
question, “How do we open peoples’ eyes if they refuse to see us?”



Franklin Pierce University : SSDP Northeast Regional Conference 4/08 (key note address)


The Heritage  High School  1680 Lexington Avenue NY,NY  (multimedia presentation to high school students)

The Center for Urban Pedagogy

The official site of Anthony Papa, artist, writer, noted advocate against .... The Heritage School was founded in 1997, focusing its curriculum on the arts. ...

Church Center for the United Nations  777 UN Plaza  NY NY  (multimedia presentation to youth )

 Sponsored by Jay Godfrey Seminar Designer United Methodist Seminar Program


Vassar College, NY Multi Media Presentation  "15 To Life"


vassar student association
... ANTHONY PAPA. Thu, April 7 -- 7 PM -- Villard Room. Formerly incarcerated
artist and current drug war reform activist, Anthony Papa will be visiting ... - 9k - 23 Apr 2005 - Cached - Similar pages




Princeton University NJ


Multi Media Presentation  "15 To Life"


The Daily Princetonian - Students bring Anthony Papa
... Artist and former prison inmate Anthony Papa spent 12 years in prison for
passing 4.5 oz. of cocaine in 1984. Addressing a small group of Princeton ...



Ideas In Action - Past Series Info
... Visual Arts - Anthony Papa A Prison-Art Exhibit. Thursday, October 4th- 4:30pm
Frist 307. ... In 1985, Anthony Papa owned a radio repair business in the Bronx. ...



Harvard University  Boston - Graduate School of Education  "Prisons in America Series" "15 Years To Life: Art, Education, and One Man's Road To Freedom" A multi media presentation  Harvard Hall Room 210   Boston   


Columbia University School of Law  "Latinos In The United States" The Evolving Relationship with Latin America/ Second Annual Latino Law Symposium  NYC


 Bard College 
: The Bard Prison Initiative

"A Forum on NY's Laws Targeting Non-Violent Drug Offenders"
Part of Five Part Series Discussing American Justice


St. Johns University  :A Dialogue on Justice Drug Laws and Non-Violent Crime
Vincentain Center


John Jay College "Criminal Justice Presentation" (see comments below)


Southampton College, League of Woman Voters "Balancing  Justice" L.I. NY


New York University


Mercy College  NY: Criminal Justice presentation (see comments below) 


SUNY Purchase College NY


University of Michigan (PCAP Program) see links section


Hoffstra University's Art Theraphy Club L.I. NY


LEHMAN College  CUNY University of NY
Undergraduate/Graduate Drug Course
Department of Health Services

PACE University  NY  


Fordham University :Rockefeller Drug Law Teach-In   
Bronx, NY   McGinley Center  :Room 235


 University of Illionis "15 to Life: Unintended Consequences of the War on Drugs"
... Anthony Papa, well-known Drug War activist and artist will be on campus for
a talk on April 23rd. His web site is []. ... - 10k - Mar 20, 2004 - Cached - Similar pages


The League of Women Voters of New York State
... Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office; Deborah Peterson Small, Director of
Public Policy for the Lindesmith Center; Anthony Papa, Paralegal with Fish & ...


Church of Living Hope, Harlem NY :Host of  political events for Andrew Cuomo

and Tom Galisano in their bids for Governor of NYS (see photos)


Rye Presbyterian Church , Rye NY


South Presbyterian Church , NY


Yorktown Untied Methodist Church  "Can Anything Good Come From Prison"
A One Day Regional Criminal Justice Conference
Yorktown Heights NY


 The Fortune Society


Spofford Correctional Facility for Youth (This changed my life forever-speaking prisoners that were aged 10 through 15 years old  (see comments below)


JusticeWorks Community  NYC


Touro Law School  "New York State's Controversial Drug Laws - How have they worked?" 


Puffin Room : The Rockefeller Drug Laws: It's About Time
435 Broome St.  NY, NY


 Diocese of Buffalo New York : Forum on the Rockefeller Drug Laws  (see comments below)


The Interfaith Center of New York Rabbi Marshall T. Meyer Working Retreat on Social Justice NY


St. Matthews Church  NYC


All Souls Parish  Port Chester NY --served as preacher with Judge John Carey as liturgist (Carey denied my request for freedom while sitting on the bench as a County Court Judge in Westchester County)


 Lindesmith Center’s Drug Policies for the New Millennium in Alburquerque NM


 Satellite Academy High School in Queens NY (see comments below)


CASES Career Exploration Project  NYC


The House of The Lord Church  Timbuktu Learning Center "Repeal The Rockefeller Drug Laws"


Gossett Correctional Center for Youth in conjunction with Cornell University


Rikers Island NYC


Prison Moratorium Project  NYC


Critical Resistance at Columbia University  NYC


Maryknoll  "The Prison Years" : an art exhibit and lecture , Ossining NY


The Performing Arts Center  Purchase College : Seven Last Words of Christ

 Performed with the Vermeer Quartet    


The Herbert Mark Newman Theatre "Voices From Inside" Art exhibit and lecture

The Community Church of NY Unitarian Church of NY Unitarian Universallst
"Rockefeller Drug Laws:  Close Up


The City of New York Department of Juvenile Justice at Spofford Correctional Facility for Youth  NY


 The United New York Black Radical Congress (BRC),  "Education not Incarceration: Changing Public Priorities."   Harlem State Office Building  NY


William Kunstler Moses Fund For Racial Justice : Tulia Texas


Prison Communities International "One Day Regional Conference" Can Anything Good Come Out of Prison? Landmark Center NY  March 24,2002


Alcoholism Counsel of New York "Art Exhibit and lecture held at Solo Arts in NYC used to educate graduates of their ATI program


FAMM National Workshop in Washington, DC theme of the workshop was "Metamorphosis"- change and transformation taken from the art of Anthony Papa's painting Metamorphosis (see art section)


Northern Westchester Center for the Arts   NY 


Center for Constitutional Rights in Washington, DC,


 Legal Action Center "Arthur Liman 5th Annual Award Dinner" 


Boston International Film Festival 
2003 Boston International Film Fesitval photo gallery. slide changes
every 10 seconds. Patrick Jerome and Anthony Papa.jpg.


American Visionary Art Museum , Baltimore Maryland  :Fund raiser for Students for Sensible Drug Policy


 Some comments about Anthony Papa's Presentation in Different Venues:

"Your presentations were especially interesting and well-received by the students and myself.  The videos you screened, as well as the points you made, were quite informative".  Bravo!  Dr. Joe Victor, Professor & Chair, Department of Law & Criminal Justice  Mercy College

"I know that my students enjoyed your talk and the slides of your paintings.  Since your talk, my class has continued to the discuss the many issues that you brought up".  Dr. Ida Dupont  Professor PACE University Department of Criminal Justice & Sociology 

"You provided an excellent balance of your experiences with my students  experiences through a mixture of techniques which included a formal overview, use of slides, and interactive methods enabling the students to ask important questions throughout the entire session"  Dr. Sam Schwartz  Professor The City College of CUNY Department of Physical and Health Education

"Behold, last Saturday you truly gave yourself to the conference and the two hundred plus assembled delegates. Your art and message are truly spirit driven".  Katherin Vockins, Prison Communities International

"I  just wanted to thank you very, very much for your participation on our show.  Your presence gave the program a credibility which would have been other wise missing".  Mark Farkas  C-Span Producer 

"Thanks so much for speaking on our panel, New York State's Controversial Drug Laws - How have they worked?  Your contribution was absolutely critical to the program's success.  Your personal experience with these draconian laws gave the audience a real connection to the impact of the drug legislation on people's lives"  Richard Klein,  Program Chair and Professor of Law Touro College  Jacob D. Fuchsberg  Law Center

"Your workshop was extremely affective with students who got to see
activists in the world and to see themselves as activists as well"
Sue Roseb  Satellite Academy High School

"On behalf of the Diocese of Buffalo and the committe which is studying the
reform of the Rockefeller Drug Laws, I wish to thank you for coming to
Buffalo and sharing your story.  It is often the personal witness of people
like you who have experienced such injustice which moves others to advocate
for change. There is no question in my mind that you have done that.
Kathleen Heffern  Diocese of Buffalo, Catholic Center   

"On Behalf of the Department of Juvenile Justice staff and residents I would like you for sharing  your life experinces with our residents at Spofford (Correctional Facility for Youth). I know the residents (prisoners) found your discussion very interesting and informative"  Marta Moczo-Santiago , Commissioner  

Anthony Papa has received  many emails from people that are moved through his art and story. 


Dear Tony,

    I'm not sure if you will personally read this, but
i hope this message reaches you. My name is -------.
I'm 17 years old and live in WA. Reading your book has
completely changed my life. For the past year, I have
been living with my 25 year old boyfriend who is what
he describes as "self-imployed". He has many times
sent me on little errands very similar to the one that
cost you your freedom. Each time I would make a
delivery, I would be so nervous I could barely walk,
and I always knew in my gut that what I was doing was
wrong and dangerous. I take full responsibility for my
mistakes over the last year including, selling illegal
substances, stealing, and dropping out of school. It
was not until i purchased your book that I realized
I'm a smart, gifted person, and i deserve to be with
someone who won't put me in danger to save himself. I
never want to end up in your situation and now,
because of you, I won't ever put myself in that
position again. I feel as though your book was brought
to me by a higher power in order for me to change my
ways. The boyfriend is gone and I've enrolled at the
local community college where I'm working towards my
teaching certificate. I'm also volunteering at the
county's juvenile detention center. One day i want to
be program director for rehabilitative programs in
prisons and jails. People tell me its impossible and I
can't do it, but I believe I can do anything and with
hard work, I hope to improve the lives of the 2
million men in women behind bars.
Thank you so much for changing and perhaps saving my
God bless you!


Hi, Anthony -- I just read your book a couple of days ago, and it really opened my eyes about U.S. drug policy and the U.S. prison system. I had never heard of "mandatory sentencing" -- which seems a complete embarrassment to anyone who wants to believe that our legal system is not stuck in the dark ages. But most of all, your book spoke to me about the ability of the human spirit to overcome the most dehumanizing of circumstances. I have so much respect for you, and I'm so glad that you're free and continuing to fight. I'm giving your book to my brother for Christmas! Peace, Kevin Heslin