Two pop titans – John Legend and Colombian star Juanes – joined forces on Wednesday afternoon to draw attention to immigrant detention centers. The duo performed outside the walls of the Eloy Detention Center in Eloy, Arizona, where an estimated 1,500 undocumented immigrants are currently detained and awaiting deportation.
The artists were not permitted to perform inside the center. On a small stage behind the fence, Legend and Juanes performed some of their original songs – Legend performed “All Of Me,” while Juanes performed “A Dios Le Pido.” Together they played a heartrending cover of Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song” for several dozen activists.
The performance was a joint effort between the artists and activist organization named PUENTE (or, Bridge), which advocates for the rights of undocumented immigrants and their families. The National Day Laborer Organizing Network shared the stage to offer words of solidarity.
The action was also part of John Legend’s ongoing initiative to “to change the national conversation about our country’s misguided policies and transform America’s criminal justice system.” Using the hashtag #FreeAmerica, the stars shared their photos, videos and observations from the facility. Reports show the center has also witnessed the most deaths of any detention facility, as well as frequent reports of sexual assault.
“None of those detained are because they committed some crime. Their only infraction is that they were here without papers,” John Legend told the Associated Press. “That is why they are here now and they don’t have the money to post bail.”
“Incarceration in all its forms is an inhumane practice,” said Juanes on Twitter.