John Legend has long used his platform to help accelerate change. After playing an integral role for his #FreeAmerica initiative, the “Love Me Now” crooner is now hoping his voice will instill light to those enduring dark days in prison.
Legend recently penned an open letter to President Barack Obama in the newest issue of Rolling Stone. His stance in the letter stems from his desire to see Obama provide clemency to non-violent drug offenders so that they can have a fresh start in life. Legend’s take on the issue resonates deeply with him, considering his mother suffered from drug addiction and was later incarcerated during his teenage years.
“Before you leave office, I would like to add my voice to the more than 2 million Americans who have asked you to use your clemency and pardon powers to bring justice to the thousands of families of non-violent drug offenders who have waited far too long for Congress to act,” wrote Legend.
He also noted how Obama’s “unprecedented” approach to commuting the sentences of over a thousand individuals is a feat no president has ever achieved. While a commendable act, Legend believes more work needs to be done before Obama steps foot out of the White House in January 2017.
“In 2014, you set out to reinvigorate our country’s approach to clemency,” he continued. “Your actions to commute the sentences of 944 individuals, including 324 life sentences, is unprecedented in the modern era. Nonetheless, more action is needed to dismantle the unjust policies of the past 40 years.”
Adds Legend: “I am asking you to bring justice to thousands of families by granting as many clemencies as possible before you leave office.”
According to the White House, Obama has commuted more sentences than 11 presidents combined in U.S. history.