Meet Mary Kate Cartmill, activist against AIDS

We invited you to record and your reason to fight AIDS for ONE’s first-ever YouTube campaign “It Starts with Me” in November. We were really impressed with your videos. And so were the more than 100,000 people who tuned in to watch them. Life altering or seemingly trivial, your stories have one thing in common: they inspired you to make this world a more just place by joining ONE and taking action.

Click on the image to watch the video:
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This week, we caught up with Mary Kate, a 22-year-old ONEr from Kalamazoo, Michigan, whose video kicks off the “It Starts with Me” trailer.  We wanted to get her perspective on what it was like make the video, why she was compelled to contribute, and what she thought of the campaign…

When did you join ONE and what made you join ONE?

I joined ONE 4 years ago through the ONE Campus chapter at the University of Michigan. Through ONE I started learning about the factors that contribute to extreme poverty and am now pursuing a career in public health.

Why did you decide to contribute your video?

I decided to submit a video because I thought I could offer a different perspective to the “It Starts With Me” campaign. I wanted to show that you don’t have to go abroad to a developing country to have a passion for international development – so I told a story of something that happened in my own family that made me want to join the fight against AIDS. I was also really inspired by the title of the campaign “It Starts With Me”. It made me ask myself “well MK, who ARE you waiting for to get the ball rolling?” I don’t think you need to already be famous and successful to start making a big change. I think if enough people decide that yes, it does need to start with me…well then that’s the start of a movement right?

What was it like seeing your video in the trailer, next to celebrities like Colin Farrell?

I was really surprised to see myself in the trailer to be honest! The first thing I did after seeing it was email a link to my parents with the subject line, “I may only have a part-time job post college but at least I’m in this cool video!” I think it’s great that ONE took the unconventional route in making this trailer. Instead of a video with a celebrity saying a very nice scripted message, ONE used real members with real ideas and a real passion to see the end of AIDS. To see someone that looks like my mom telling me why they are dedicated to ending AIDS is more of a call-to-action to me because it shows how every single person can be a part of the change.

What did you think the most compelling video was?  Why did you find it compelling?

I have to admit that the first video I watched was Kellan Lutz’s “It Starts With me”. I loved that the lighting was bad and it was filmed on a regular computer camera in a little office space. The fact that it wasn’t a big production made the message much more personal and feel like it was coming from the person and not the celebrity.

How does this action compare with others you’ve taken for ONE?

This video was a really fun ONE action to complete. Everyone has a story and this was a rare chance to share mine and hear hundreds of others. It shows how so many different life experiences can bring people to the same realization that we’re fed up with the current situation and are ready to change it.

We know there are more stories out there worth telling. So get creative by telling yours in 140 characters or less. Tweet your contribution to @onecampaign using the hashtag #startswithme. And be sure to share the “It Starts with Me” trailer link: http://bit.ly/RthrrF.

We’ll re-tweet our favorite stories to our more than 600,000 followers.

As Mary Kate said: “If enough people decide that yes, it does need to start with me…well then that’s the start of a movement right?”

Say hi to Mary Kate and leave her a comment below!