John Legend announced today that he will be launching a multi-year initiative entitled FREE AMERICA, wherein he hopes to bring an end to our nation’s epidemic of mass incarceration. Legend, who made his first public plea on the Oscar stage after accepting the Academy Award for Best Original Song, intends to lead the campaign as he makes stops at various correctional facilities across the country, working with administrators and lawmakers alike to push forward legislation like California’s Prop 47, which mandates the treatment of shoplifting, fraud, petty theft and non-violent drug offenses as misdemeanors instead of felonies.
The campaign will make its first stop this Thursday a facility in Austin, Texas, where Legend will not be performing in a B.B-takes-on-the-Cook-County-jail type of outing. Rather, Legend will take part in a press conference with legislators that will delve into the unforgiving and rehab-less nature of our nation’s criminal justice system. A second stop is planned for Washington, DC later this month where Legend will co-host an event with Politico that will continue attempt to expound on the sentiments he shared on the Oscar stage in front of the nation’s bureaucratic elite. Join us in supporting this most needed campaign and relive that powerful moment at the Academy Awards below.