After headlining the ACLU 100 concert this past weekend at SXSW in Austin, TX the ACLU has announced musician and activist Tom Morello as an official ambassador of their Campaign for Smart Justice.
The ACLU’s Campaign for Smart Justice is an unprecedented, comprehensive nationwide effort to reduce the U.S. jail and prison population by 50 percent and to combat racism in the criminal justice system. The campaign combines ACLU state and federal legislative advocacy, coalition building, communications, grassroots organizing, electoral work, litigation and public education to advance reforms in all 50 states to reduce the use of incarceration, address racial disparities, and generate taxpayer savings that can be redirected to preventing crime and rehabilitating incarcerated people, building safer and stronger communities.
“The ACLU is a tireless protector of freedom, truth, and justice. They have fearlessly hounded the perpetrators of excessive executive power, extrajudicial assassinations, and illegal surveillance of civilians, regardless of political party,” states Tom Morello. “They once even intervened on behalf of my underground high school newspaper. I am honored to be chosen the ACLU Ambassador for Smart Justice, the first musician in such a post. Our justice system is riddled with racial, economic and political injustice and I look forward to working with the ACLU to confront these injustices at every turn.”
“The United States is in the midst of a mass incarceration crisis, and the time to act is now,” said Udi Ofer, director of the ACLU’s Campaign for Smart Justice. “The Campaign for Smart Justice is thrilled to partner with Tom as we continue our fight to build a society that prioritizes people instead of prisons.”
The ACLU made the announcement during a live taping of its podcast At Liberty, in which Morello discussed his music and lifelong activism. The episode can be found here: aclu.org/podcast/live-sxsw-feat-tom-morello-ep-37.
The SXSW concert – with more than 3,000 attendees – was the kickoff to the ACLU 100 Tour, which will have additional dates across the U.S. over the next few months. Morello will also perform at the Los Angeles date on March 23. Additionally, his music will be the soundtrack for the interactive exhibits throughout the tour. All details and dates on the ACLU 100 Tour can be found here: aclu100.org.
Morello was previously honored in 2015 by the ACLU receiving the Bill of Rights award for his lifelong support of issues central to the organization. The ACLU has now partnered with Morello for his upcoming tour, as his recent album The Atlas Underground features a thematic through line of social justice ghost stories that are exemplary of many of the ACLU’s causes. Songs like “Rabbit’s Revenge,” “We Don’t Need You,” and “Lead Poisoning” spotlight the issues that the ACLU are focusing on for their 100th anniversary: immigration rights, police brutality and criminal justice reform, and voters’ rights. Morello will be integrating these issues into elements of his live show throughout the tour to bring further awareness.
Following his headline tour, Morello will join Muse on all three of their UK stadium dates this June.