John Legend Launches ‘FREE AMERICA’: Campaign to Help End Mass Incarceration

The Academy Award-winning singer is committed to improving civil rights

(Image: File)

According to recent reports, John Legend has launched his campaign ‘FREE AMERICA’ to end mass incarceration. The agenda includes plans for Legend to kick off the campaign by performing at a correctional facility in Austin, Texas, and then attending a press conference with state legislators to discuss the state’s criminal justice structure. Later this month, Legend is set to to co-host a criminal justice event with Politico in Washington, D.C. and will also visit a California state prison.

[Related: Civil Rights Today: 15 Empowering Songs That Promote Freedom and Justice]

The campaign will be adding other organizations and artists, which will be announced in coming weeks. FREE AMERICA’s first early triumph was Proposition 47’s approval last November in California. The Proposition calls for acts including shoplifting, forgery, fraud, petty theft, and possession of small amounts of drugs to be treated as misdemeanors.

The Academy Award-winning singer told the Associated Press, “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.”

He also stated, “Once you have that tag of a felony on your name, it’s hard for you to do anything. Getting those reduced to misdemeanors really impacted a lot of lives and we hope to launch more initiatives like that around the country.”

What do you think about his new campaign? Share your thoughts with us below.

  • Nikkib.

    I’m proud of him! And I’ll do whatever I can to support this movement! Most people just rich and get complacent. Thank you, John!! Yay!!!!!

  • Debra Baker

    I would like to have our organization partner with him. It is the Raising Our Youth As Leaders Project (ROYAL) in Seattle, WA. Where black youth make up 50-70 percent of the daily prison/confinement population. We are endorsed by Dr. Michael E. Dyson. Please help us connect with Mr. Legends movement. We are an evaluated and proven model. 206-322-8400. Ext.3196. Thank you!!

  • Lenny Singleton

    I applaud John Legend. Mass Incarceration and Sentencing Disparity are very real issues facing this country. A white man and a black man committing the same crime should get the same time — PERIOD! Learn about one of the worst cases of sentencing disparity in this country, Lenny Singleton, Sign his petition and watch his fiance’s video, The Making of a Miracle. Become a part of Lenny’s Miracle today.

  • bigbeeinthebuilding

    I feel that if a convicted felon, regardless of charge instead of sexual, can go 15 years without another felony charges, he or she should be able to get their record cleaned and rights restored. Not conviction, charged. If you havent even been charged with a crime for that long, then obviously you have changed your life, circles, and way of thinking. They should be able to have the same rights as every other citizen and get a good job. They have suffered enough and totally paid their debt to society.

  • Pingback: John Legend launches 'The Legend Experience'()