John Legend is another celebrity that is heavily involved with social justice. The world-famous R&B singer is making an effort to ensure that people with criminal backgrounds are given more opportunities for employment, and not simply stigmatized.
Unlocked Futures, which began in the fall of 2017 is a partnership with New Profit and FREEAMERICA program, which is a movement that John Legend has initiated, is meant to further social entrepreneurs. So many have been heavily impacted by the criminal justice system strongly enough to be moved to join the fight to remove those barriers in America that arise from the stigmatization that are placed on those who have had legal issues. FREEAMERICA is an accelerator that last a little longer than a year and is intended to help social entrepreneurs who have also been incarcerated and are now turning the energy into a productive force.
Legend asserts that FREEAMERICA is less about pressuring companies to hire people who’ve been incarcerated, but rather to encourage investment into their ideas and ventures. Business ideas often have further-reaching impacts that go beyond directly benefiting the person that started the business. It has to be recognized that the prosperity also extends to families of business owners, enables the employing of others, strengthens our communities in which the businesses operate, and serve as inspiration to others to follow their dreams as well. All to often, hope is in short supply in areas and social circles that are subjected to despair and perpetual negative situations, resulting in lost hope or a dampened outlook on life and potential.
In this program, people will get guidance on things such as leadership skills, how to raise funds, ways of effective communication, tactics to develop talent, and other soft-skills. Assessments are made to measure where there might be a need for improvement, and paired with mentorsbased on those assessments.
In order to be in the program, potential participants must have fully operational businesses, specifically in what is known as “proof points” — that is to say an established model and the plan of sustainability, growth, and measurement and expansion.