Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy Receives Grammy for Aiding Afghan Music Academy
WASHINGTON D.C. (KPEL News) - U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana received a rare honor among politicians - a Grammy.
Cassidy was instrumental* in helping a music school in Afghanistan escape the Taliban. That school, the Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM), was under threat as the Taliban seized control of the country in the wake of the United States military withdrawal.
According to Cassidy's office:
During the fall of Afghanistan in 2021, Cassidy’s office had been involved in efforts to help 272 young musicians, faculty, and staff escape to freedom. When the ANIM students were in busses waiting outside Hamid Karzai International Airport during the chaos of the mass evacuation, Cassidy attempted to get them through the gates. He worked to get messages to the commanders of the airport to gain entry for the students. After the airport was sealed off following a deadly ISIS attack, he advocated to make the students a priority as paperwork issues became a problem and worked with the Qatar government on multiple occasions to secure safe passage for the students.
The ANIM group was the largest evacuation out of Afghanistan and was the last major evacuation since the country fell to Taliban control. The students, staff, and families now reside safely in Portugal, where they were offered official residency.
"Music carried the spirits of the students at the Afghanistan National Institute of Music through to freedom," Cassidy said in a statement. "No matter where you are in the world—Kabul or New Orleans—music communicates resilience, passion, and culture."
The Grammy presentation will be part of "GRAMMYs on the Hill," an annual award ceremony and advocacy event that seeks to inspire innovation and protection of music. It is an annual event put on by the Recording Academy.
"GRAMMYs on the Hill is a celebration like no other, spotlighting music's unifying power as we bring together our nation's leaders with some of the most renowned artists in the world," said Harvey Mason jr., CEO of the Recording Academy. "It's a privilege to honor Pharrell alongside Senate Majority Leader Schumer and Senator Cassidy, all of whom have fought tirelessly for pro-music policy that protects the creatives that make up our community."
"I'm very grateful to be honored at this year's GRAMMYs on the Hill among some incredible other honorees who have done tremendous advocacy work for others," said artist Pharrell Williams. "It's important that we show up for each other and support one another to ensure that we can keep creating."
*EDITOR'S NOTE: Joe Cunningham has since been placed on administrative leave for this pun.
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