Hundreds of people lined up outside the Tabernacle Wednesday evening to hear political commentator Van Jones, and Atlanta rapper Tip “T.I” Harris speak at the “We Rise Tour” powered by Love Army.
Atlanta was the 4th stop of the 14 city nationwide tour, which focuses on combining changemakers and tastemakers from each city to increase community dialogue and engagement on both the local and national levels.
T.I. was chosen as the representative tastemaker in Atlanta. Born and raised in the westside of the city, T.I. has been a leader amongst the people since bursting on to the scene with hip-hop sub-genre, trap music, in the early 2000’s. Now the 36-year old has focused his energy on making a positive impact on the millions who look to him for guidance.
“To be considered a voice for the culture and for the community and to be able to speak for the city and be acknowledged in such a manner is humbling,” said T.I. afterwards. The self-proclaimed “King of the South” explained that being, “a voice for the voiceless” is an immense responsibility that he takes seriously.
Both Jones and T.I. had an open discussion on stage about the current state of American society, the criminal justice system, and various plans of actions to push minority communities forward.
The two public figures were accompanied by many other social activist, artist, and even Mayor of Atlanta, Kasim Reed.
Although there is much work to be done, each person involved with the tour explained the value in working to create society that is fair, just, and equal to all.
“Nothing good happens to us accidentally, if something good is going to happen it going to require an effort… and I’m willing to put forth that extra effort because someone did it for me,” said Jones during the show’s intermission.
When asked why he involves himself with so much within the community, Jones responded, “I Do what I do because I’m blessed.”
Most associate Jones with his commentary on CNN’s “The Messy Truth with Van Jones”, however the 48-year old is an attorney, author of a New York Times Bestseller, a social activist and cofounder of several nonprofit organizations including Dream Corps; an organization focused on accelerating social justice.
One of the initiative programs Dream Corps focuses on is #cut50, a bipartisan organization that works to find practical solutions to help America safely and smartly reduce its jail and prison populations by 50 percent over the next 10 years.
Jessica Jackson is the Mayor of Mill Valley, California. She partners with Jones on the #cut50 initiative because her family was separated and negatively impacted by the justice system.
“We can have transformative change in the justice system,” said Jackson adding, “You have to turn anger into action,” in order to make a difference.
Jackson is joined by a team of enthusiastic individuals working with Van Jones’s ‘We Rise Tour’, positively impacting people and communities nationwide.
100% of net ticket proceeds from the “We Rise Tour” will go to the Dream Corps initiatives and local charities. For more information on tour dates and programs visit Van Jones website.
- Julien Virgin is a Staff Writer/Reporter at CBS Radio Atlanta