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Ringo Starr, Elton John, Billy Joel & many more sign open letter encouraging passage of the Equality Act

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Scott Robert Ritchie; ABC/Eric McCandless

More than 300 artists, including Ringo Starr, Elton John, Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen, have banded together to sign an open letter urging the U.S. Senate to pass HR5, otherwise known as the Equality Act.

The Equality Act would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  It would also expand protections for women, people of color and people of faith.

The long list of artists who’ve signed the letter also includes veteran music stars like The EaglesJoe Walsh, Blondie, Cyndi Lauper, R.E.M.‘s Michael Stipe, James Taylor, Talking HeadsDavid Byrne, Richard Marx, Melissa Etheridge, Tony Bennett, and Yoko Ono.

“As musicians and artists, we strongly believe that all people should be welcomed and celebrated as their true, authentic self,” reads the letter in part. It adds, “Taking away basic human rights is inhumane. All youth, especially trans youth should be protected and given opportunities to thrive.”

The letter goes on to say, “As artists, we commit to doing everything in our power to make sure our fans, crew and fellow artists feel safe and welcome everywhere we go…we believe that the passage of the Equality Act is an essential part in protecting…the most marginalized communities from discrimination.”

This Thursday, June 24, at 7 p.m. ET, a virtual happy hour event called A Night of Action will encourage fans to take actions that support the passage of the act. Special guest artists will appear throughout. You can RSVP at EqualityTime.org/Music.

The letter and livestream are being organized by the Equality Time Coalition and The Ally Coalition. The latter was started by super-producer Jack Antonoff and his sister, Rachel, in 2013. Most of the artists Antonoff has worked with have signed the letter.

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