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As the Black Lives Matter movement coalesces on social media and around the globe—ESSENCE invited activists, authors, thought leaders and cultural figures to reflect on the meaning of this moment, and what we must do next.

John Legend
Jan, 05, 2015

I'm particularly concerned lately about the criminal justice system, which has locked up so many of our young people and crushed our communities. Police brutality and the killing of our young people by police is a part of that. But it's only a part of it. It's a larger system of being over-policed, overincarcerated, overcontrolled by the state…. Even when young people are getting out of prison, they can't get employment most of the time, so they end up going right back into crime. My hope for the future: a world where everyone treats each other with love, and believes that every human life is valuable…a world where justice and equal rights, human rights, prevail.

This contribution, along with others exploring the new civil rights movement, appears in ESSENCE's special #BlackLivesMatter issue. This historic collector's edition is available on stands January 9.

FOR MORE FROM OUR BLACK LIVES MATTER ISSUE:

The Editor's Letter: The Path Forward
Where Do We Go From Here?: Essay by Angela Davis

Where Do We Go From Here?: Essay by Patrisse Cullors
Where Do We Go From Here?: Essay by Isabel Wilkerson
Where Do We Go From Here?: Essay by Chirlane McCray
Where Do We Go From Here?: Essay by Melissa Harris-Perry
Where Do We Go From Here?: Essay by Sunny Hostin