The issue is poverty. It affects men, women, and children all over the world. On the continent of Africa alone, it affects millions every single day. This is a moral issue of unprecedented importance. Martin Luther King had this to say decades ago:
"The curse of poverty has no justification in our age. It is socially as cruel and blind as the practice of cannibalism at the dawn of civilization, when men ate each other because they had not yet learned to take food from the soil or to consume the abundant animal life around them. The time has come for us to civilize ourselves by the total, direct and immediate abolition of poverty."
A child dies every three seconds as a result of poverty. That is a shocking statistic. Until now, there has been no widespread movement to force this issue into the political agenda of the United States.
Now, we have The ONE Campaign. When people see my white ONE wristband, they usually ask which cause of the day the white band is for. I simply reply "The ONE Campaign is the campaign to make poverty history." After allowing a moment for the levity of the situation to absorb, I usually throw in, "It's Bono's poverty thing."
While Bono may be the association that much of the public has with ONE, a talented group of people run the day to day operation under the leadership of Susan McCue, who left her job as Chief of Staff to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to head this historic effort.
In the past, the approach to solving poverty would be to hold a bake sale and send some bags of food across the ocean. ONE's approach is to make poverty a top issue for the US Government. It should be a priority because it is the right thing to do but also because it is in our strategic interest to eradicate poverty. Colin Powell had this to say:
"The US cannot win the war on terrorism unless we confront the social and political roots of poverty."
So far, ONE has become nearly 2.5 million people speaking with ONE very loud voice. You should add your voice, too.
ONE recently launched a major effort to educate the public and the politicians about poverty. ONE Vote '08 is on the ground in Iowa and New Hampshire and catching the attention of the candidates and celebrities alike. Here is a quick video about this effort.
And....a personal favorite. This video is a duet between Bono and Mary J. Blige. It's powerful, moving, and just downright awesome. Get inspired and go to ONE.org and sign up! As they say, they don't want your money, they want your voice.