Philadelphia, PA – Today, ONE volunteers from across America joined community leaders, activists and Live 8 artists and celebrities to kick-off the Philadelphia Live 8 Concert by delivering 300,000 letters calling for an historic debt, aid and trade deal for the world’s poorest people at the upcoming G8 summit on July 6th.
“Today, Live 8 will rock the world with ten concerts from Philadelphia to London to Johannesburg,” said Paul Dioguardi, ONE campaign coordinator. “Millions are gathering in person and on the web right now, and we’re ready to send President Bush and other world leaders to the G8 on a wave of support for doing more to fight global AIDS and extreme poverty.”
ONE volunteers also gathered to celebrate hitting one million Americans joining the ONE network through ONE.ORG.
“God has charged us all with ensuring dignity for his or her neighbor,” Dan Haseltine, lead singer of Live and Christian act “Jars of Clay”. “I hope everyone at Live 8 today around the world – and all Americans – will join us in ONE voice to make that dignity a reality for every person on earth.”
Flanked by mailbags overflowing with a hundreds of thousands of letters from everyday Americans across the country, Melissa Fitzgerald, hometown hero and star of NBC’s “West Wing”, signed and mailed one of over 300,000 letters to be delivered to President Bush calling for the U.S. to help the poorest people of the world.
6300 people die from AIDS in Africa every day, and more than a billion people – including half the population of Sub-Saharan Africa – live on less than $1 a day.
“We can end hunger and extreme poverty in our time. We have the technology and know how to fight poverty, disease and hunger,” said Reverend David Beckman, President of Bread for the World. “And the world’s poorest people are calling us to do it.”
Millions of people gathered at LIVE 8 concerts across the globe to put pressure on world leaders in advance of the G8 Africa Summit in Gleneagles, Scotland on July 6-8. At the summit, the eight presidents and prime ministers of the G8 nations will be presented with a workable plan for better international assistance, 100% debt cancellation and trade reform-and an historic opportunity to end poverty and save millions of lives.
Philadelphia is just the first stop for the grassroots leaders, who represent delegations from across the country. They will continue their journey on to Gleneagles -many of them on jets donated by Virgin Atlantic owner, Richard Branson-to focus attention on the breadth of support by everyday citizens for President Bush to lead the world in the fight to eliminate global poverty. ONE volunteers were joined at today’s announcement by Live 8 and Christian artists Jars of Clay, author and pastor Rick Warren, Ugandan CARE worker Derreck Kayongo, Scott Jackson, Vice President of World Vision and Reverend David Beckman, President of Christian aid organization Bread for the World.
ONE is a new effort by Americans to rally Americans – ONE by ONE – to fight the emergency of global AIDS and extreme poverty. ONE is students and ministers, punk rockers and NASCAR moms, Americans of all beliefs and persuasions, united as ONE to help make poverty history. ONE believes that allocating an additional ONE percent of the U.S. budget toward providing basic needs like health, education, clean water and food would transform the futures and hopes of an entire generation in the world’s poorest countries. ONE also calls for debt cancellation, trade reform and anti-corruption measures in a comprehensive package to help Africa and the poorest nations beat AIDS and extreme poverty.
Americans are united across the political spectrum: ONE’s recent national survey found that 86 percent of Americans believe it is important for the United States to put forward “a new effort to work together with other countries to help the poorest people in the world overcome AIDS and extreme poverty.”
Over one million Americans have lent their voices to ONE by visiting ONE.ORG and signing the ONE Declaration. More than ONE million Americans and millions more around the world are also wearing white bands as a show of support in ending extreme poverty and global AIDS.
“Our communities will not waiver in this long walk to justice,” said Shayne Moore, a ONE Delegate from Wheaton, Illinois. “And we’re going to keep joining our voices, one by one, until we make poverty history.”
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ONE is composed of America’s most well-known and respected non-profit, advocacy and humanitarian organizations including founding members Bread for the World, CARE, DATA, Plan USA, International Medical Corps, International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps, Oxfam America, Save the Children, World Concern, World Vision and many others. For more information, please visit ONE.ORG.