By Aaron Maurer, ONE Volunteer
On an overcast Tuesday afternoon, ONE volunteers met at the “Madhouse on Madison” – also known as Chicago’s United Center and home of the Bulls and Blackhawks. We assembled for U2’s eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE Tour in support of the BUILD Act, a bipartisan initiative that will make it easier for entrepreneurs to do business and create more jobs in developing nations.
In the three years since the band last played the venue so much has happened. The band spent a year celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Joshua Tree (including a Chicago stop at Soldier Field) and released Songs of Experience, while ONE saw the Electrify Africa Act signed into law and has fought to protect cuts to the foreign aid budget. Now, the messages of both the band’s latest album and ONE’s fight against global poverty feel more urgent than ever.
Since 2005, I have used my voice as a ONE member to support legislation to fight extreme poverty via petitions, letters, and phone calls to my representatives, and mobilized others to do the same.
As a volunteer at the show, I partnered up with Chris, another ONE member from Wisconsin, to discuss the BUILD ACT with fans as they waited for the doors to open. One of the most invigorating things about U2 concerts and ONE events is the diversity of the people engaged. I chatted with many Americans but also fans from France, Chile, Colombia, and Brazil. Many were already familiar with ONE’s advocacy work and those who weren’t wanted to learn more!
Although the afternoon began with fog, the clouds gave way to blue skies and a touch of sun by the time the doors opened. You couldn’t have asked for a better metaphor – despite these tumultuous times, a brighter skies are on the way. Over two nights in Chicago, 44 ONE volunteers collected more than 1,700 signatures for the BUILD Act, which will be hand-delivered to our local representatives. These signatures stand as a sign of hope for the end of extreme poverty in our lifetime and I’m glad that I got to contribute!