Sunday, May 31, 2015

John Legend -- "Value Every Life"

There’s a time in every movement when it becomes a truly national movement. And you can tell when that happens by certain people and organizations getting involved. Most of you have heard all about the various new groups, foundations, and political figures getting involved in bail reform and pretrial justice lately, but I’m talking popular culture here.  

Like last week, when someone from HBO called to ask about bail for a weekly comedy show. I asked what in the world could possibly seem funny about locking up so many people for lack of money, and she said that their show specializes in taking “grim” subjects and making jokes about them. I believe her, and it may be one of the best ways to get the attention of the American people.  

Another way is for our American stars and celebrities to get involved. That’s what Oscar and Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter John Legend is doing. I first saw him say something about mass incarceration at this year’s Oscars. And if you aren’t sure about his commitment, look at this story, describing his new campaign to end mass incarceration: Or just run his name along with the words “jail reform” and see what comes up. The story says that he’s putting together other artists to help him out, in addition to organizations committed to ending mass incarceration, and so I really hope that my pretrial friends reach out to him.

John Legend has a giant following, and the people who want to leave bail the way it is, keeping poor and minority folks in jail for lack of money, are going to have their hands full when someone famous and with common sense and empathy for others gets full-on involved.

John recently told some people in Texas to “value every life even if people make a mistake.” Exactly, John. Well said.