• Press Release

Joan Baez Asks Fans to Take Action on Mass Incarceration Through Amnesty International on Her 2016 Tour

March 9, 2016

Fans attending legendary singer Joan Baez’s 2016 tour will have the chance to make a difference for criminal justice reform with the help of Amnesty International.

Baez has invited representatives from Amnesty International to share personal stories of people affected by mass incarceration and give concertgoers a chance to take meaningful action right there in the venue. Fans will be able to call on the president and Congress to create a national commission on criminal justice devoted to resolving these issues.

A quarter of the world’s prisoners are held in the U.S. prison system. Unchecked immigration detention, harsh sentencing laws, and prosecuting youth as adults all disproportionately impact communities of color and those living in poverty, and contribute to mass incarceration.

“I would have thought that we as a country would have moved on from the racial disparity I saw during the civil rights movement 50 years ago. Sadly, we have not,” said Baez. “People should not be locked up unfairly. This campaign offers specific actions one can engage in to change our way of thinking about treatment of prisoners, race, and fairness, and make this country a more just and better place."

Baez’s long history with Amnesty International began in the early 1970s when she met Ginetta Sagan, a torture survivor and Bay Area activist who worked with Baez for years to establish the organization in the western U.S. In 1986, she was a featured performer on the Conspiracy of Hope tour and appeared as a special guest on 1988’s Human Rights Now! Tour.

“As longtime fans both of Joan’s music and her activism, we were thrilled for the chance to work with her on this pressing human rights issue happening within U.S. borders,” said Maragret Huang, interim executive director for Amnesty International USA. “It is shameful that the United States is the largest jailer in the world.”

Last year, Baez received Amnesty International’s “Ambassador of Conscience Award” along with world-renowned artist Ai Weiwei. The award is the organization’s top honor which recognizes those who have shown exceptional leadership in the fight for human rights through their life and work.

More information on Joan Baez’s tour can be found here