Amnesty International USA Executive Director Steven W. Hawkins is busy in Washington, DC helping staff prepare for Amnesty’s Bringing Human Rights Home concert at Barclays Center in Brooklyn February 5. But not too busy to send good wishes to Imagine Dragons ahead of the Grammy’s this Sunday, January 26. We asked him about his thoughts ahead of the concert.
Q: So Steven, we are impressed that you like Imagine Dragons. Why?
HAWKINS: I’m excited that Imagine Dragons (in case you haven’t heard, they’re joining our February 5th Bringing Human Rights Home Concert at Barclays Center in Brooklyn), have been nominated for two Grammys – for Record of the Year and Best Rock Performance. Their performance with us next month will be dedicated to the cause of inspiring a generation of young people who care about human rights to use their power to improve lives around the world. I’d like to publicly cast my vote for Imagine Dragons! Good luck, Dan, Wayne, Ben and Daniel!
Q: There are lots of ways to highlight human rights. Why a concert?
HAWKINS: Music erases barriers between people. It transcends race, class, gender and religion – even geography and language. It heals, uplifts and unifies. It motivates even without words. What better way to bring people together in the name of social change than with a concert in Brooklyn?
Q: What’s in your iTunes?
HAWKINS: I’m on the road a lot and a solid playlist keeps me going. I think I have a pretty good variety. I’ve got a little bit of the old classics — Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Sade, and The Beatles. Of course with the launch of this new project, I have made sure to add Imagine Dragons, The Flaming Lips, Tegan & Sara, The Fray, Cold War Kids, and of course, Ms. Lauryn Hill. I’ve also gone back to Sting, Peter Gabriel, Joan Baez and U2 lately, in honor of their participation in the Human Rights Concerts that Amnesty hosted in the 1980s. Those concerts inspired a generation to become lifelong human rights activists. I look forward to watching the torch be passed to the next generation of musicians and activists on Feb 5th.
Q: What do you most look forward to on February 5?
HAWKINS: Our staff and volunteers have been working tirelessly on this so I’m excited to see it all come together. I am most looking forward to seeing the faces of young people willing to share their time in the name of human rights – and of course I’m looking forward to a lot of people coming together to have some fun and demonstrate the power of collective action. Will I see you there? (You can get tickets here.)
Q: Anything else you’d like our readers to know?
HAWKINS: Check out www.amnestyusa.org/Feb5Concert for how you can get involved, win a trip and backstage passes (if you enter before Monday, January 27th), or just stay up to date with how we’re working to “bring human rights home.” You can also sign up for e-mail updates or follow #AmnestyConcert on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, to get up-to-the-minute peeks behind the scenes during concert prep and day of the event, too.
Amnesty International is bringing back its Human Rights Concert series for a new generation. Become part of the ever-growing movement speaking out against injustice. Book your tickets through Ticketmaster or go to http://www.amnestyusa.org/Feb5Concert/ for more information.