• Press Release

Usher and Artists Join Inaugural Art for Rights Event to Fight Human Rights Abuses

December 12, 2015

Partnering with Amnesty International USA’s Art for Amnesty for One-Day Pop-Up Art Exhibit and Event

MEDIA CONTACT: Mandy Simon, [email protected]

(NEW ORLEANS, LA)– Today thousands will gather in New Orleans to join Amnesty International USA’s Art for Amnesty for Art for Rights– a one-day, free, pop-up art event, to bring attention to human rights abuses happening all over the world. Joined by Usher Raymond IV, in partnership with Sankofa.org, and over a dozen artists including Brandan "BMike" Odums, Danilo “El Sexto” Maldonado Machado, Hebru Brantley, Katie Yamasaki, Kristy Sandoval, Ricky Lee Gordon, and more.

Each artist will be creating a mural that represents a human rights case selected by Amnesty International, calling attention to issues such as prolonged solitary confinement, torture, forced marriage, forced eviction, imprisonment for a miscarriage, LGBTI rights, the death penalty, enforced disappearance and prisoners of conscience. One of the murals will feature Albert Woodfox, the Louisiana native who has been held in solitary confinement for more than 40 years.

“I believe the issues of mass incarceration, prolonged solitary confinement and the death penalty are defining human rights issues for our country. The time for positive and permanent change is here," said Mr. Raymond. "I’m participating in Art for Rights in New Orleans because I know that the passion of artists and activists committed to change is a powerful force.”  

“The artists here today have come together not just to create, but to be a force for justice,” said Marvin Bing, National Director of Art for Amnesty at Amnesty International USA. “They’re here to inspire, provoke activism and raise the stakes on how we address human rights abuses. This is just the beginning. Alongside Art for Amnesty, they know that their work can be a cultural tool that helps to humanize social struggle, builds empathy and sparks action. We’re standing here with them in New Orleans to generate powerful, positive and permanent change.”

Art for Rights is part of Amnesty’s Write for Rights campaign, which runs from December 4 – 18.  During that time hundreds of thousands of Amnesty International members and supporters around the world will send letters, emails and tweets supporting individuals who are facing human rights abuses.

In 2014, hundreds of thousands of people in more than 200 countries and territories participated in Write for Rights, sending 3,245,565 messages offering support or calling for action on the cases of 12 individuals and communities experiencing human rights abuses. More than a million messages have been sent in support of jailed Saudi Arabian blogger Raif Badawi since the campaign first raised his case. This year, Raif Badawi’s lawyer, Waleed Abu al-Khair, is one of the 12 cases.

For more information on Art for Rights, go to:http://write.amnestyusa.org/artforrights

To learn more about Art for Amnesty, go to:https://www.amnestyusa.org/about-us/art-for-amnesty

Follow Art for Amnesty onTwitterInstagramFacebookand Tumblr.

To learn more about Usher’s work with Sankofa, go to: https://www.sankofa.org/

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning global movement of more than 7 million people in over 160 countries who campaign for a world where human rights are enjoyed by all. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.

Art for Amnesty collaborates with creative industries and individuals to amplify and share the stories of those who risk much to build a world that protects and promotes human rights and human dignity. Through art, film, photography, music, theatre, festivals, and literature, we can share the stories of the people behind the statistics, to ensure that their struggles to claim their rights, as well as the abuses they have experienced, are brought to the heart of public consciousness. Artists have a unique power to bring people together and to promote social change. More than ever before, we need creative ways to acknowledge these human stories, to stand with human rights defenders the world over to tell the world the truth. Art for Amnesty brings the power, creativity, and passion of creative people who believe in freedom of expression to projects and campaigns with potential to reach new audiences and inspire creative activism for human rights around the world. Even small actions, when brought together, have the power to generate great change. Create with us.