I’ve been pretty open that my childhood wasn’t the best. My mom tried her hardest, my dad did not. I was in a lot of crisis until my dad passed away when I was 11.
And yet, I lived in suburban Maryland. I had food, water, clothes. While we lived fairly modestly, especially after my father passed, we lived in an area of definite affluence, during the 1980’s – that decade of gratuitous greed. I was surrounded by all the things anyone could want, much less need. That was over 30 years ago. Even given all the progress in the world, there are still people everywhere that live in extreme poverty.
Ten years ago, musical hero Bono (now aided by Bob Geldolf of, yes, Band Aid) started an organization called ONE to battle this issue. Many people think that ONE raises funds for Africa. And while in some ways – indirectly – that is true, it’s primary function is advocacy across political borders to relieve poverty and disease, plus help awareness of a wide variety of critical issues that we all face.
I remember hearing about ONE for the first time at a U2 concert with my college roommate, Marabeth. We both have always loved the band, but she loved them. Like really, really loved them. We also saw them on the Zoo TV tour in Florida and ended up meeting them afterwards (total fluke, they were very nice) and I think MB didn’t wash her hand for a week.
People seem to get sick of Bono’s message, even sometimes his bandmates. Personally, I admire how hard he works for things he believes in. So many celebrities get rich and do nothing for the world. And the message is so simple. ONE voice can change the world.
The sad thing is poverty affects women and girls disproportionately across the globe. That is why ONE has recently launched ONE Girls & Women. It’s a page dedicated to poverty-fighting issues, their impact on girls and women, and all the ways we can make a difference. Every month will have a guest curator who shares unique and important stories that affect not only girls and women, but the world. There is a list of resources to show how you can help, in both large and small ways.
I am excited to be a partner with ONE Girls & Women along with all the ONE Moms that came before me. I feel grateful for having emerged from my background, and it feels good to work towards helping others with the same goal. We are a global community now, not just that small suburbia I grew up in. Let’s reach out and be neighbors with the world.P.S. Be sure to follow ONE Girls & Women on Facebook and Twitter. I find myself inspired by them every day.