Celebrated global music artist and activist Alicia Keys has been honoured with Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award for 2017, the human rights organisation announced today.
The Ambassador of Conscience Award celebrates individuals and groups who have shown exceptional courage standing up to injustice, used their talents to inspire others and who have furthered the cause of human rights.
Alicia Keys said: “To receive the Ambassador of Conscience award from Amnesty International is a huge honour. Especially as an activist, as a woman, here in this world, who is driven to recognise the injustice in the world and recognise the unfairness the inequality, the things that have to change, the ways that we as everyday people, all of us, have a part to play in that. It is one of the most proud moments of my life.
“It encourages me to continue to speak out against injustice and use my platform to draw attention to the issues that matter to me.
“Our conscience is something we are all gifted with at birth, no matter who we are. That little voice that speaks to you and tells you when something is not right, I always use as my guide. Since I was a small girl my inner voice would yell at me! Now I just say, okay, what can I do? That is a question we can ask ourselves and then act upon."
Throughout her illustrious career, during which she has won 15 Grammy Awards, Alicia Keys has inspired and campaigned for change on critical issues, such as criminal justice reform, HIV/AIDS, gun violence and the refugee crisis.
Alicia Keys: From music to activism
Alicia Keys’ extensive philanthropic work includes co-founding Keep a Child Alive (KCA), a non-profit organisation providing treatment and care to children and families affected by HIV in Africa and India. KCA identifies and partners with local leaders in grassroots organisations to design, implement and share innovative solutions to some of the most pressing challenges in the fight against AIDS. KCA has raised more than $60 million to provide AIDS care to hundreds of thousands of children and their families, as well as advocate for more understanding and support.
In 2014, she co-founded the We Are Here Movement to encourage young people to mobilise for change, asking the question “Why are you here?” as a call to action. Through the movement she has sought to galvanise her audience to take action on issues such as criminal justice reform and ending gun violence.
Stunned by the fact that there are now more refugees in the world today than at any other point in history, the musician helped create and appeared in a short film entitled ‘Let Me In’ to mark last year’s World Refugee Day. With her song, ‘Hallelujah’ at its centre, the film brings the issue of the refugee crisis home to viewers by telling the powerful story of a young American family forced to flee to the US-Mexico border.