This blog is written by Jen Roberts, a #ONEonTour volunteer at U2’s new show.
With less than an hour before U2 takes the stage, there’s a buzz inside the Scottrade Center in St. Louis as concert attendees stock up on concert merchandise and refill their beers. After a couple hours collecting petitions outside, fellow ONE volunteers and I employed a different tactic inside: stand next to the beer vendors and let the concert goers come to us.
Some were curious. “What’s ONE?”
Others shouted with excitement when they saw our black and white ONE shirts. “I’m wearing my ONE bracelet,” a man said as he headed our direction to show us his yellowed ONE bracelet that he said was almost 13 years old. We told him that by taking action today to support the BUILD Act, he could get the 2018 tour ONE bracelet. He took the iPad and began filling out the information before we could finish explaining how the BUILD Act will help communities in sub-Saharan Africa.
The BUILD Act helps create jobs for men and women in sub-Saharan Africa by helping American entrepreneurs do business there. When there are more jobs in a community, women have more opportunities to find employment.
It’s this part of the act that really resonates with me. I’ve spent a lot of time in the developing world researching girls’ education, and I know that when women have an income, they invest that money in their families. When women are employed, the entire community benefits.
It was because of this shared commitment that there was an instant camaraderie among the volunteers even though we had never met before, as some travelled from the far corners of our state to work the show. We shared stories about how we learned about the ONE Campaign and encouraged each other by having a healthy competition as to who could get the most actions.
By the time I found my seat for the show, my feet ached. It felt good to sit down, but as soon as U2 took the stage, we were up on our feet dancing and singing along.
It felt bigger than just being at a U2 concert. Here we were in our ONE shirts, fighting for something that is bigger than us, and in that moment, we were ONE with each other as volunteers but also with Bono. When U2 played “Get Out of Your Own Way” and images of justice and equality flashed on the screen, I felt I was right where I was meant to be, fighting for a more equitable world alongside my ONE friends.