Award winning, Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum rapper, father, and community activist She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, also known as, 21 Savage received the Courageous Luminaries Award from the National Immigration Law Center for outstanding work in the fight against the attacks on targeted immigrant communities. In the months after his unlawful detainment by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), 21 Savage has become a face for immigration reform with the rapid response and national attention of his #Free21Savage Coalition, which quickly mobilized and created a celebrity awareness PSA, and more. Most recently, 21 Savage donated $25,000 to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) to ensure that immigrants in detention centers in the deep south have access to legal representation.
The Ebell Theater of Los Angeles, CA. marked the scene for this beautiful night filled with food, drinks, a live band, and activists highlighting the work being done to fight back against oppressive immigration and civil rights policies. 21 Savage was presented the highest honor, the Courageous Luminaries Award, by Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of Black Lives Matter and founder and chairperson of Reform L.A. Jails. Cullors’ dynamic and compelling speech on the current political climate and how it has created an aggressive and threatening campaign enforcing heinous restrictions on our country, its citizens, and their loved ones ultimately affecting 21 Savage and many others, touched the audience deeply. A powerful visual montage of the rapper/philanthropists work was also shown on a screen to his peers and the community ahead of his acceptance which highlighted his experiences and charitable efforts leading up to and well after the arrest, including his most recent sold out “i am > i was” North American tour in which the Washington Post says “he raps his redemption” following the ICE encounter.
“21 Savage’s story is a powerful reminder of our deeply flawed immigration system,” said Marielena Hincapié, the Executive Director of NILC. “We are committed to fighting for the rights of immigrants and we’re thrilled to honor 21 Savage for standing with us in this fight against this administration’s ongoing attack on immigrant communities.”
The event, hosted by actress Grace Parra, also honored organizations that are fighting for the rights of immigrants across the country including Somos Un Pueblo Unido for their work along the border in New Mexico promoting worker and racial justice and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP for the firm’s pro bono legal support in a case challenging retaliatory immigration enforcement against farm workers organizing for justice.
All event proceeds help sustain NILC’s work to advance justice, equity, and opportunity for low-income immigrants and their families. Visit nilc.org/donate for more information.
In addition to his commitment to immigration reform, 21 Savage is the face of financial literacy and has continued to expand his “Bank Account” campaign to directly impact local Atlanta youth. In March he visited local Atlanta youth alongside Congressman Hank Johnson (GA), Get Schooled and Juma to host a financial literacy workshop and also spoke about gang violence, career building, launched a new digital badge with Get Schooled and gave $100 to each of the young people in attendance. He’s also dedicated to his Atlanta community by hosting 4 “Issa Back 2 School Drives” in a row with a plan to continue each year and give back to thousands of youth.
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