John Legend continues to stand up for good causes and organizations he believes are doing good for society and the world.
At the Academy Awards this past February, Legend and Common addressed the issue of mass incarceration during their acceptance speech, and now the award winning artist has announced a multi-year campaign called FREE AMERICA.
Legend says FREE AMERICA has already been successful in helping to pass Proposition 47 in California, a law that lightens the sentences of crimes like forgery, fraud, petty theft and possession of small amounts of drugs, making them merely misdemeanors instead of felonies.
This Thursday (April 16) he will perform at a correctional facility in Austin, Texas and speak at a press conference with state lawmakers about the cause. Additionally, Legend will visit a California state correctional institution and host an event in Washington D.C. later this month.
Speaking with the Huffington Post, he said: “We have a serious problem with incarceration in this country. It’s destroying families, it’s destroying communities and we’re the most incarcerated country in the world, and when you look deeper and look at the reasons we got to this place, we as a society made some choices politically and legislatively, culturally to deal with poverty, deal with mental illness in a certain way and that way usually involves using incarceration.”
“I’m just trying to create some more awareness to this issue and trying to make some real change legislatively,” he added. “And we’re not the only ones. There are senators that are looking at this, like Rand Paul and Cory Booker, there are other nonprofits that are looking at this, and I just wanted to add my voice to that.”
There will be other artists joining Legend on his prison campaign as well, who will be announced soon.