Alicia Keys, Grammy Award-winning singer and actress, has taken her advocacy for criminal justice reform to a new level by sending a sweet Valentine’s Day message to Republican Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, urging him to help her cause.
"Help bring justice reform to a vote, so we can keep families together and reunite those unjustly torn apart by excessive incarceration," Keys says in the video.
In November, Keys' We Are Here movement announced a partnership with #cut50, a movement founded by former White House official Van Jones that seeks to cut the prison population in half. The two groups are collaborating on #JusticeReformNOW, a call to action for the public to apply pressure to members of Congress, according to Mic.
Keys wants criminal justice reform to come to a vote in the House of Representatives to get the ball rolling on change. The U.S. currently has the largest prison population in the world with nearly 2.2 million people incarcerated.
"This is the one issue where everybody — from tea party conservatives to strong progressives, Paul Ryan to President Obama — want to do something," #cut50's Jones said in an interview. "This is a real test of whether our democracy can function."
Although it’s clear that pretty much everyone wants to fix the problem, effective measures haven’t really been at the forefront of anyone’s agenda, which just keeps the issue going.
Keys and Jones want to convince Congress to make criminal justice reform a top priority in the coming months, which is why Keys has taken the initiative to call on Ryan directly.
Keys’ charming, coy message to Ryan incorporates Valentine’s Day in a humorous plea for him to “help spread some love.”
As far as what they plan to achieve from the message, "our hope is he picks up the mantle on this," Jones said.
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