John Legend is using his platform to recognize one extraordinary man.
During tonight’s 2018 E! People’s Choice Awards, the “All of Me” singer was given the opportunity to present Bryan Stevenson with the People’s Champion Award.
For those wondering who this special man is, we’ll let John do the honors of introducing him.
“Despite all the negativity happening in the world today, we can take comfort in the fact that there are everyday people who are doing extraordinary things. People who possess the vision, the courage and the commitment to justice to steer us into a brighter future,” John explained while introducing Bryan. “He’s a lawyer, professor, activist and author who has dedicated his life’s work to challenging racial discrimination in the criminal justice system. I have witnessed how mass incarceration negatively impacts children, families and communities and I’ve seen up close the impact Bryan’s work has had on the people and communities who otherwise wouldn’t have access to justice.”
In addition to partnering with Erase The Hate, which is NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment’s campaign to support people all over the U.S. taking action against discrimination, hate and bias, Bryan helped found the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama.
“Bryan has made it his life work to not only have us remember some of the darkest parts of American history but to instill us with hope and a commitment of a brighter tomorrow,” John explained.
After a performance from John, Bryan took the stage and accepted his award with a special message.
“I have spent the last 35 years standing with the poor, standing with the excluded, standing with the disfavorite. I represented the accused and the incarcerated and the condemned,” he shared. “I don’t believe any human being is just the worst act and because of that—with a lot of advocates and lawyers and people like John—we have been able to reform our justice system.”
Bryan continued, “To end hate, some of us are going to have to stand up when people say sit down. Some of us are going to have to speak when they tell us to be quiet. To end the hate, we have to embrace hope because hopelessness is the enemy of justice…We got to be hopeful and do uncomfortable things. We’ve got to do some difficult things. If we do them together, we can create a new America. There’s something better waiting for us.”