John Legend pens open letter to President Obama pleading to pardon non-violent drug offenders


John Legend has long used his platform to help accelerate change. After playing an integral role for his #FreeAmerica initiative, the "Love Me Now" crooner is now hoping his voice will instill light to those enduring dark days in prison.

Legend recently penned an open letter to President Barack Obama in the newest issue of Rolling Stone. His stance in the letter stems from his desire to see Obama provide clemency to non-violent drug offenders so that they can have a fresh start in life. Legend's take on the issue resonates deeply with him, considering his mother suffered from drug addiction and was later incarcerated during his teenage years.

"Before you leave office, I would like to add my voice to the more than 2 million Americans who have asked you to use your clemency and pardon powers to bring justice to the thousands of families of non-violent drug offenders who have waited far too long for Congress to act," wrote Legend.

See photos of John Legend with his wife, Chrissy Teigen:

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NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24: Chrissy Teigen and John Legend attend City Harvest's 35th Anniversary Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street on April 24, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for City Harvest)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24: John Legend and Chrissy Teigen seen out and about in Manhattan on April 24, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Robert Kamau/GC Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - APRIL 08: Chrissy Teigen, John Legend arrives at the The Daily Front Row's 4th Annual Fashion Los Angeles Awards at Beverly Hills Hotel on April 8, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 02: John Legend (L) and Chrissy Teigen are seen in lower Manhattan on April 2, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Gotham/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 01: John Legend and Chrissy Teigen hold hands when strolling in Soho at night with the Empire State Building in the background on March 1, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Jackson Lee/Jackson Lee)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 20: John Legend, Chrissy Teigen and their daughter Luna seen at a playground in Manhattan on February 20, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Robert Kamau/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 28: Model Chrissy Teigen and recording artist John Legend attend the 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Madison Square Garden on January 28, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 27: Chrissy Teigen and John Legend attend the Clive Davis and Recording Academy Pre-GRAMMY Gala and GRAMMY Salute to Industry Icons Honoring Jay-Z on January 27, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Lester Cohen/Getty Images for NARAS)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 27: Chrissy Teigen;John Legend arrives at the Clive Davis and Recording Academy Pre-GRAMMY Gala on January 27, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Steve Granitz/Getty Images)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 22: Chrissy Teigen (L) and John Legend attend the 'Monster' Premiere during the 2018 Sundance Film Festival at Eccles Center Theatre on January 22, 2018 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by C Flanigan/FilmMagic)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 21: Model Chrissy Teigen (L) and recording artist John Legend attend the 'Monster' dinner film reception presented by the RAND Luxury Escape at Grappa during the 2018 Sundance Film Festival on January 21, 2018 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images for RAND Luxury)
SANTA MONICA, CA - JANUARY 06: Chrissy Teigen (L) and John Legend attend The Art Of Elysium's 11th Annual Celebration on January 6, 2018 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for The Art Of Elysium )
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 14: Chrissy Teigen and John Legend are seen in Manhattan on December 14, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Robert Kamau/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 12: John Legend, Chrissy Teigen and their daughter Luna are seen leaving their hotel on December 12, 2017 in New York, New York. (Photo by Alessio Botticelli/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 12: John Legend and wife Chrissy Teigen seen out and about in Manhattan on December 12, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Robert Kamau/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 07: Chrissy Teigen and John Legend attend GQ and Dior Homme private dinner in celebration of The 2017 GQ Men Of The Year Party at Chateau Marmont on December 7, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for GQ)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - OCTOBER 19: Chrissy Teigen and John Legend attend 'Turn Me Loose' at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on October 19, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Greg Doherty/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 03: Chrissy Teigen and John Legend attends the Miu Miu aftershow party as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2018 at Boum Boum on October 3, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Victor Boyko/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 13: Model Chrissy Teigen (L) and musician John Legend attend the 5th Annual Beautycon Festival Los Angeles at the Los Angeles Convention Center on August 13, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)
John Legend and Chrissy Teigen attend the 2017 Tony Awards - Red Carpet at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City. / AFP PHOTO / ANGELA WEISS (Photo credit should read ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 10: Chrissy Teigen and John Legend attend INTERMIX x A.L.C 'On Duty' Launch Dinner with Chrissy Teigen at Jon and Vinny's on August 10, 2017 in Los Angeles, Californi (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for INTERMIX x A.L.C)
SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 6: Robinson Cano #22 of the Seattle Mariners offers up a ball after Chrissy Teigen, second from left, John Legend, far right, and daughter Luna Stephens threw out the ceremonial first pitch before a game between the Minnesota Twins and the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on June 6, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 01: Chrissy Teigen and John Legend attend 'Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Gar�ns:Art of the In-Between' Costume Institute Gala at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 1, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Jackson Lee/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 25: Chrissy Teigen and John Legend attend the 2017 TIME 100 Gala at Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 25, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02: Model Chrissy Teigen and singer John Legend arrive at the Los Angeles Premiere 'Beauty And The Beast' at El Capitan Theatre on March 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
WESTWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 28: Model Chrissy Teigen (L) and actor/singer/executive producer John Legend attend WGN America's 'Underground' Season Two Premiere Screening at Regency Village Theatre on March 1, 2017 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images for WGN America)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 08: Chrissy Teigen and John Legend attend the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards - Arrivals at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 8, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 19: (Exclusive Coverage) Chrissy Teigen and John Legend attend August Wilson's 'Jitney' Broadway opening night at Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on January 19, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 08: Model Chrissy Teigen and singer John Legend arrive at the 18th Annual Post-Golden Globes Party hosted by Warner Bros. Pictures and InStyle at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 8, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 07: Model Chrissy Teigen (L) and recording artist John Legend attend The Art of Elysium presents Stevie Wonder's HEAVEN - Celebrating the 10th Anniversary at Red Studios on January 7, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by C Flanigan/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 07: Model Chrissy Teigen (L) and singer-songwriter John Legend arrive at The Art of Elysium celebrating the 10th Anniversary at Red Studios on January 7, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 07: Recording artist John Legend (L) and model Chrissy Teigen attend The Art of Elysium presents Stevie Wonder's HEAVEN - Celebrating the 10th Anniversary at Red Studios on January 7, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for The Art of Elysium)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 07: Chrissy Teigen and John Legend attend Target's Toycracker Premiere event at Spring Studios on December 7, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 06: Chrissy Teigen (L) and John Legend host the celebration of MATERIAL GOOD's 1st Anniversary on December 6, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Material Good)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 07: Model Chrissy Teigen and Singer John Legend attends Target's Toycracker Premiere Event at Spring Studios on December 7, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Mark Sagliocco/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 20: Model Chrissy Teigen and musician/husband John Legend arrive at the 2016 American Music Awards held at Microsoft Theater on November 20, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by C Flanigan/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 20: Chrissy Teigen, John Legend arrives at the 2016 American Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on November 20, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
AUSTIN, TX - NOVEMBER 18: Model Chrissy Teigen and singer-songwriter John Legend attend the 11th Annual Andy Roddick Foundation Gala at ACL Live on November 18, 2016 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Rick Kern/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 30: Model Chrissy Teigen and singer John Legend arrive at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on August 30, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 07: Chrissy Teigen and John Legend attend the photocall for the Lancome Celebrates 80 Years of Beauty With All Its Ambassadresses on July 7, 2015 in Paris, France. (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images for Lancome)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 06: John Legend and Chrissy Teigen attend day seven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships at Wimbledon on July 6, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 17: John Legend and Chrissy Teigen arrives at the 2015 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Garden Arena on May 17, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 04: John Legend, Chrissy Teigen, Emily Ratajkowski and Gabrielle Union leave the 'China: Through The Looking Glass' Costume Institute Benefit Gala at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 4, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/GC Images)
BURBANK, CA - APRIL 26: Model Chrissy Teigen (L) and recording artist John Legend attend The 42nd Annual Daytime Emmy Awards at Warner Bros. Studios on April 26, 2015 in Burbank, California. (Photo by John Sciulli/Getty Images for NATAS)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 22: (L-R) Chrissy Teigen and John Legend arrive at the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 22, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Dan MacMedan/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 22: (EXCLUSIVE ACCESS, SPECIAL RATES APPLY) John Legend and Chrissy Teigen attend the 2015 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Graydon Carter at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 22, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/VF15/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 08: Model Chrissy Teigen (L) and recording artist John Legend attend The 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards at the STAPLES Center on February 8, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Vespa/WireImage)
Model Chrissy Teigen and singer/songwriter John Legend attend the unveil of the Reimagine Learning Initiative during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. (Photo by Cindy Ord via Getty Images)
John Legend and Chrissy Teigen celebrates His Birthday And The 10th Anniversary Of His Debut Album 'Get Lifted'. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris via Getty Images)
Chrissy Teigen and John Legend attend the White Party Dinner Hosted by Andrea and Veronica Bocelli Celebrating Celebrity Fight Night In Italy Benefitting The Andrea Bocelli Foundation and The Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center. (Photo by Andrew Goodman via Getty Images)
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He also noted how Obama's "unprecedented" approach to commuting the sentences of over a thousand individuals is a feat no president has ever achieved. While a commendable act, Legend believes more work needs to be done before Obama steps foot out of the White House in January 2017.

"In 2014, you set out to reinvigorate our country's approach to clemency," he continued. "Your actions to commute the sentences of 944 individuals, including 324 life sentences, is unprecedented in the modern era. Nonetheless, more action is needed to dismantle the unjust policies of the past 40 years."

Adds Legend: "I am asking you to bring justice to thousands of families by granting as many clemencies as possible before you leave office."

According to the White House, Obama has commuted more sentences than 11 presidents combined in U.S. history.

Take a look at Legend's full letter here.


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