*Alicia Keys pleaded with lawmakers on Capitol Hill Monday to vote for a landmark bipartisan bill that could significantly reduce minimum sentencing for non-violent drug offenders.
Before making her way to congress, the singer spent Monday morning in Baltimore visiting families who have been devastated by the incarceration of their relatives, many of whom were under 18 when sentenced for non-violent offenses.
Keys related the heartbreaking stories to congressional staffers to drum up more support for the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, which a Senate committee voted in favor of last week. She was joined by New Jersey Senator Cory Booker and civil rights activist Van Jones.
“Nowhere in the rest of the western world are juveniles being tried as adults, or even worse, sentenced to life sentences without parole,” Keys told The Guardian after the hearing. “Is this who we are now? Is this who we want to be?
“These are just regular boys and girls, trying to find their way.”
Last year, Keys launched the We Are Here movement, to push for social justice on a wide range of national and international issues including racial inequality. She has also supported Cut50, an organization co-founded by Jones that seeks to reduce the prison population by 50% over the next 10 years.
On Capitol Hill, Keys urged attendees to sign an online petition that would be delivered to the White House once it reached 1 million signatures.