Grammy Winner Takes On Guantanamo Abuses in "We Are America"
With cameo appearances from Actor/Activist Harry Belafonte, Singer/Songwriter Janelle Monae and Entertainer Savion Glover, singer and instrumentalist Esperanza Spalding released her video "We Are America" on Monday to shed light on human rights abuses at the Guantanamo Detention Center in Cuba. This video is rising in popularity this week as the Senate debates provisions that would allow for the closure of the facility.
Spalding said that she created the video to help Congress see that there is public support for closing the facility. Said the artist, "I was appalled and embarrassed about what my country was doing. As I learned that there where far better options on the table and that what is going on at Guantanamo is a clear violation of U.S. human rights obligations, I had to do something."
In the song's five-minute video, the jazz artist raises legal and moral questions about the military prison, established in 2002 primarily to detain suspected terrorists. Of the nearly 800 cycled through Gitmo, seven have been convicted; 164 remain, including 84 cleared for transfer.
Other human rights groups, including Amnesty International are calling for the immediate closure of the facility. In October, the ACLU, Amnesty International, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture and the Presbyterian Church sent a letter to President Obama asking him to follow through on his pledge to close Guantanamo.