International Rescue Committee (IRC)

Musician John Legend joins forces with the IRC to spotlight needs of children and youth in crisis zones

NEW YORK 08 Nov 2011 - John Legend at the International Rescue Committee's headquarters office in New York
John Legend at the International Rescue Committee's headquarters office in New York. (Photo: Lucy Carrigan/IRC)

Grammy Award winning vocalist, songwriter and musician John Legend is teaming up with the International Rescue Committee as an IRC Voice – joining other prominent young artists who use their voices to call attention to the humanitarian needs of refugees and others affected by war and disaster.

Legend will be working with the IRC to raise awareness about the impact of violence and natural disasters on children and youth and to garner support for IRC programs that help children recover, provide care and protection and improve access to education.

“I believe that educating and empowering children brings lasting change, which is what the International Rescue Committee does in crisis zones around the world,” says Legend. “There’s no better organization than the IRC in terms of giving help and hope to vulnerable refugee children.”

Legend got his first taste of the assistance IRC provides refugee children in New York City, one of 22 cities where the IRC resettles refugees given sanctuary in the United States. He visited a local program that helps newly arrived refugee youth adjust to their new community and prepare to start school. Next year, he’ll be traveling with the IRC to West Africa, where the IRC has extensive programs that train teachers and help children enroll and stay in school.

Legend, a prolific recording artist and longtime social activist, was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2009. He has won nine Grammy Awards, including two for Wake Up!, a compilation of R & B music with themes of awareness and social engagement, released last year with the band The Roots.

In 2007, he launched the Show Me Campaign, a project that promotes education to combat poverty. It’s one of numerous initiatives that he’s involved with that aims to make a difference in the lives of others.

“John Legend’s humanitarian achievements are fast catching up to his extraordinary musical accomplishments,” said George Rupp, the IRC’s president. “We are delighted that John is joining our team as an IRC Voice to spotlight the critical needs of uprooted children and youth.”

Other IRC Voices include actress Rashida Jones from NBC's “Parks & Recreation” and Disney’s upcoming film “The Muppets,” Latin singer and actor Jencarlos Canela from Telemundo’s “Mi Corazon Insiste,” and actress Sarah Wayne Callies, who stars in the AMC TV series, “The Walking Dead."