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Billy Bragg and Grammy Award-winning musician line up to back Amnesty's Youth Awards

With just over two weeks to go until entries for Amnesty’s Youth Awards close, Billy Bragg and Esperanza Spalding have called on 7-21 year-olds to enter the Amnesty’s Youth Awards.

The Awards are made up of five strands – journalism, photography, fundraising, campaigning and songwriting. And it is the latter that Billy Bragg and Esperanza Spalding are particularly keen for Britain’s youngsters to enter.

Billy Bragg, famed for his hard-hitting song-writing, said:

"Music can inspire and motivate people to really make a difference. History has shown that time and time again. Amnesty's competition reaches out to a new generation and I would encourage any budding songwriter to enter."

Meanwhile, Esperanza Spalding has not only endorsed the competition she has also agreed to be a judge. Esperanza won a Grammy award for Best New Artist in 2011, and was selected by President Obama to perform for him when he received the Nobel Peace Prize. She recently wrote a song called “We Are America” " calling for the immediate closing of the detention centre at Guantanamo Bay. 

She said:

"What is the point of having a voice if you don't use it? There are so many people in the world that for one reason or another can't speak out and it is up to us to speak up for them.

“I'm so happy to be participating in the Amnesty's Youth Awards. The passion for justice and meaningful cultural progress in a young person is truly a precious gem worth celebrating. That passion, polished and expressed through music, can inspire nations and move mountains."

Esperanza will be joined on the judging panel by Jerry Dammers, who was a founder of the cult band The Specials, and renowned music journalists Dorian Lynskey and Jenny Stevens.

For more details on the competition or to enter please visit

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