Sunday 18 February 2018

Alicia Keys wins prestigious Amnesty International award

By Lucy Mapstone

The Fallin’ hitmaker is the latest in a long line of notable figures to win the prize.

Singer-songwriter Alicia Keys is the winner of Amnesty International’s prestigious Ambassador of Conscience Award for 2017.

The 15-time Grammy winner and activist said it is a “huge honour” to receive the accolade, which has previously been won by the likes of Nelson Mandela, Malala Yousafzai and singer Joan Baez.

The human rights organisation has chosen Alicia as the recipient of the prize because of her extensive philanthropic work, including the co-founding of non-profit organisation Keep a Child Alive, which helps those affected by HIV in Africa and India.

Alicia also co-founded the We Are Here movement, encouraging young people to push for change and take action against issues such as the criminal justice system and gun violence.

Alicia, 36, 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.”

She said: “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, OK, what can I do? That is a question we can ask ourselves and then act upon.”

The Ambassador of Conscience Award highlights individuals and groups of people who have displayed courage in standing up to injustice while using their talents to inspire others who have furthered the cause of human rights.

The US star, whose hits include Fallin’, Empire State Of Mind and No One, will receive the award at a prize-giving ceremony in Montreal, Canada on May 27.

The mainly female-led Indigenous rights movement of Canada is also receiving the award.

Sali Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International, said: “Both Alicia Keys and the Indigenous rights movement of Canada have in their own ways made inspirational and meaningful contributions to advancing human rights and towards ensuring brighter possibilities for future generations.

“Crucially, they remind us never to underestimate how far passion and creativity can take us in fighting injustice.”

Press Association

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