Wednesday’s Concert For Social Justice To Benefit Young Musicians

Photo for California Rocker courtesy of Melissa Etheridge
Melissa Etheridge has a new album called This Is M.E., available now

They are known for their songs of social justice. And on Wednesday night, when Crosby and Nash, Melissa Etheridge, and Jackson Browne take the stage during The Concert For Social Justice, they will have a special purpose.

David Crosby - photo courtesy of Django Crosby
David Crosby – photo courtesy of Django Crosby

Wednesday’s concert at The Fonda Theatre in Hollywood is presented jointly by the GRAMMY Museum and Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. It also features Tom Morello, La Santa Cecilia and Rocky Dawuni, along with heavy-hitter actors like Martin Sheen and Alfre Woodard.

But the real stars are the students in a new music contest jointly presented by The GRAMMY Museum and the Robert F. Kennedy Center Human Rights‘ “Speak Truth To Power” initiative.

The Wednesday concert at The Fonda Theatre kicks off the national launch of the music writing contest called “Speak Up Sing Out: Songs of Conscience.” A regional, Los Angeles-based pilot of contest was held in 2014. The winner of that contest — still unannounced by the organizations — will appear on stage with the music superstars.

Concert For Social Justice Sold Out

The sold-out concert was first announced here on California Rocker on March 30.

“The concert kicks off the expansion of Speak Up Sing Out, nationwide,” said John Heffernan, executive director of the Speak Truth To Power program and who was instrumental in producing the concert. “Our partnership with the GRAMMY Museum is to empower young people to create change with music. So far it’s been limited to Los Angeles, but we want to bring national awareness of Speak Up Sing Out contest using the GRAMMY network. La Santa Cecilia
La Santa Cecilia to Perform at The Concert For Social Justice – Photo courtesy of La Santa Cecilia

During 2014, the contest received 25 submissions. The selections were narrowed to five, and finally, one artist’s submission was selected as most relevant. The selected artist will perform Wednesday night alongside some of the world’s most famous musicians.

“The way to prevent human rights injustices is to educate, tell people they can ‘Speak Up and Sing Out,’ Heffernan said. “We want to build a citizenry of committed people holding society to the highest standards of equality and justice.”

David Crosby, Graham Nash, Etheridge and Browne were among those selected for a particular reason, Heffernan said.

“We brought in these musicians because they’ve played such an important role of social change, writing songs of conscience,” Heffernan said. “Their music is so mainstream but they’re talking about critical issues.”

Highlighting the musical performances will be well-known actors performing monologues in the roles of revered world leaders and influencers. Among additional actors expected are Dennis Haysbert, Chad Lowe and David Arquette.