John Legend addresses public education in Macky Auditorium

The University of Colorado hosted a discussion night with nine-time Grammy winner John Legend at Macky Auditorium Monday. In addition to Legend’s music career, he is also an education activist.

John Legend speaks to the crowd at Macky Auditorium on Sunday night. (Asher Bond Vandevort/CU Independent)
John Legend speaks to the crowd at Macky Auditorium on Sunday night. (Asher Bond Vandevort/CU Independent)

Legend discussed his work with Teach for America, Stand for Children, the Harlem Villages and his own Show Me Campaign, which all focus on underprivileged children and equal access to educational resources.

He shared his beliefs that all children have a great potential when given the right opportunity.

“I’ve seen excellent schools all across the country… disarming the lie that demography has to be your destiny,” Legend said. “We can no longer allow adults to get away with low expectations for our kids just because they come from the wrong side of the tracks. We now know the truth that these kids can achieve great things when they go to excellent schools.”

Gianni Franceschi, Cultural Events Board Member and sophomore architecture major said that Legend was a good person to speak on the issue.

“He has made it to become a music sensation and sets an example for others to achieve the same. He also advocates social justice which is a huge issue in our country, so having him speak about that was awesome,” Franceschi said.

John Legend performs after giving a speech at Macky Auditorium Sunday night. (Asher Bond Vandevort/CU Independent)
John Legend performs after giving a speech at Macky Auditorium Sunday night. (Asher Bond Vandevort/CU Independent)

Legend pointed out gaps in the education system and motivated audience members to take action into their own hands, whether in a big way or a small way.

“Take a look at your resources, your extracurricular activities, your summers, your voice, your money, even the way you use social media, and consider applying some fraction of that towards a good cause that is close to your heart,” Legend said. “If you choose to do that, you will be making a positive impact and leaving a lasting impression on the world.”

After his speech, Legend opened up the floor to audience questions.

Legend spoke about his fortunate experience of becoming successful in the music industry and how he worked as hard in the classroom as he did on his music.

“They say that luck is when opportunity meets preparation… all those things have to come together for this to work out, but it will not work out if you are not prepared and if you are not working hard to get yourself there,” Legend said.

“I think hearing that you are the vehicle to your own future and opportunities are everywhere if you want to take advantage of it is what was so inspiring about his outlook,” Corbin Deleon, a sophomore business open option major said. “Your ethnicity and background should never be an excuse or derail you from your gift of learning and experiencing your academic and self-made potential.”

Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Ellen Crossley at Ellen.crossley@colorado.edu.

 

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