John Legend launched a new project as part of his #FreeAmerica initiative to end mass incarceration. On Monday (Aug. 22), Legend announced a digital storytelling campaign called “My Potential,” which is aimed at changing the way we as a country think about those currently and formerly incarcerated.
“The aim is to highlight how all people — from crime survivors, to law enforcement, to children, to formerly incarcerated individuals — are impacted by mass incarceration,” Legend explained in Facebook Live post. “The goal of this series is to show a different side of incarceration. the human side.”
The series will feature narratives and stories of people affected by mass incarceration including inmates and families. Among those highlighted will be Norris, who served 27 years for a crime he didn’t commit, Tauheedah, whose father is currently locked up, and Tonie and Kiesha, two incarcerated mothers facing the daily challenges of trying to parent from prison.
For the last year, Legend has traveled the country to educate himself on the criminal justice system. With “My Potential,” the 37-year-old singer hopes to help bring about systematic change and end the cycle of mass incarceration.
“One of the major rode blocks in elevating the conversation on this issue, is the false assumption that the incarcerated and formally incarcerated can only be defined by their mistakes,” Legend continued. “Too often when we think of the incarcerated we default to an image that is really ripped from the media and the headlines. But by creating a space for people to tell their own stories we hope to shine a light on the injustice of mass incarceration in America, and dispel the stereotypes and misconceptions about those most impacted.”
See more in the vide below.