David Clayton-Thomas Releases His Single “The System” — A Commentary On Canada’s Antiquated Juvenile Justice System

In Concert to Support Peacebuilders Canada

Wednesday, November 20th, 2019

Koerner Hall

273 Bloor St W, Toronto

Tickets via The Royal Conservatory of Music

Canada’s music icon, David Clayton-Thomas, best known as lead vocalist for Blood Sweat & Tears, debuts his single, “The System,” from his upcoming album, “Say Somethin’” (to be released March, 2020 through True North Records), at a benefit concert in support of Peacebuilders Canada, November 20, 8 pm at Koerner Hall.

Written with disarming honesty, the lyrics lay bare the negative impact of charging and punishing youth.  “The System” is a commentary on Canada’s antiquated juvenile justice system and the failure of criminalizing adolescents.  Knowing first hand the negative impact of the criminal justice system, Clayton-Thomas exposes the cyclical pattern of re-offending with a recidivism rate of 80 percent.

“Fixing our juvenile justice system has become a passion for me,” says Clayton-Thomas. “We have a terribly antiquated system; a kid is not lost at 14 or 15 years old — they are reclaimable, and they are redeemable.”

Peacebuilders Canada is a charitable organization, whose mission is to provide restorative and public advocacy programs to keep children and adolescents out of the criminal justice system, help them to get back into school and work towards a more positive, productive future.

Sheer resilience, survival and determination led Clayton-Thomas to teach himself to play guitar on an instrument left behind by a fellow inmate in jail.  From there it was a remarkable journey that allowed Clayton-Thomas to break free from the constraints of the juvenile justice system to become one of the most significant musicians globally, selling over 40 million records and winning multiple Grammys.

To this day, Clayton-Thomas advocates for young people, declaring that more organizations need to support adolescents and advocate for meaningful change in the justice and education systems.

“From reform of the juvenile justice system to providing counselling for at-risk-kids, Peacebuilders is at the forefront of a much-needed movement,” says Clayton-Thomas. “We need specialized care for kids, and Peacebuilders gets it.”

To date, Peacebuilders has diverted more than 1,100 adolescents out of youth courts before trial, had all charges withdrawn, reduced school suspension rates by 80 percent and easily saved taxpayers upwards of $45 million.

Proceeds from the Benefit Concert go directly to benefit Peacebuilders’ Advocacy and Public Education and Awareness Programs to divert more young people from the school-to-prison pipeline.

The David Clayton-Thomas Benefit Concert is Wednesday, November 20, at Koerner Hall (273 Bloor St. W, Toronto). The Concert starts at 8 pm, doors open at 7:30 pm.  Special guests include vocalist Genevieve Marentette and remarkable musicians:  Lou Pomanti (piano), Eric St-Laurent (guitar), Marc Rogers (bass), Paul DeLong (drums), Jason Logue (trumpet), Colleen Allen (saxophone), and Phil Gray (trombone).

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