Inspired by concern about the world into which her second child will be born in December, Ms. Keys was photographed nude with a peace sign on her belly to draw attention to this innovative movement for social change, she told New York Times columnist Nick Kristof. “People won’t be able to ignore this visual.”
Ms. Keys acknowledged at the kick-off event on Sunday that it’s easy to feel frustrated about the world’s problems and not know how to get engaged even though we all want to do something. She is calling for her 35 million fans on Facebook and nearly 20 million followers on Twitter to get involved and support the We Are Here partner organizations that are working to tackle social justice issues worldwide.
EJI director Bryan Stevenson, pictured above with Ms. Keys (photo by Stuart Ramson/Invision for United Nations Foundation), explained at the event that EJI’s work challenging racial injustice and mass incarceration starts with naming the problem. The politics of fear and anger, he said, have caused the U.S. prison population to skyrocket from 300,000 to 2.3 million in the past 40 years. One in three Black boys born this century will be locked up in his lifetime. “Black and brown people are born with a presumption of guilt that follows them to school, into stores, on the street, and into the courtroom,” he said. We have to talk about how the legacy of slavery, lynching, and segregation fuels the prison industrial complex today. “We have to change the narrative.”
EJI is thrilled to join Alicia Keys in this powerful movement to create an empowered global community in which all people are heard, respected, equal, and treated with dignity, and we are so thankful for her tremendous support.