Last Thursday, November 3rd, I received this email in my inbox . . .
Did you know ONE is much more than just an online campaigning organization? Across the United States, ONE has hundreds of volunteer activists that organize to take action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease.
Robert, would you like to join ONE activists in the Southeast and attend an online ONE Leadership Academy?
What: ONE Leadership Academy
When: Saturday, 11/7 from 3-6pm ET (2-5pm CT)
I hope you can join us!
Scoggins Berg, Regional Organizing Manager
* * * *
I knew something about ONE’s work and Bono’s association with it. And since I was mulling over a needing to “spread my wings” a bit—and sensing a prompting of the Spirit, I decided to sign up for the event. It affords me an opportunity to acquaint you, my readers, about their dedicated approach to ending world poverty. You see one such approach in the above photo as they’re on a visit to Congress. I’ll tell you what Scoggins said about about what they look for in either supporting a bill or proposing a new one to impact some aspect of ending poverty in the world.
So I attended that introductory afternoon virtual session and their subsequent Southeast monthly gathering the following Monday night and met about twenty of their volunteers—some representatives on college campuses—others who’ve been with ONE for many years.
I followed with some research online and I’d like to share with you what I’ve found out.
ONE is a global movement campaigning to end extreme poverty and preventable disease by 2030, so that everyone, everywhere can lead a life of dignity and opportunity.
Sounds idealistic and ambitious to me and may not take into consideration what will be happening with Global Warming, but I don’t fault them for idealism at all.
They believe the fight against poverty isn’t about charity, but about justice and equality.
Whether lobbying political leaders in world capitals or running cutting-edge grassroots campaigns, ONE pressures governments to do more to fight extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa, and empowers citizens to hold their governments to account.
ONE’s supporters are crucial to this work. They come from every walk of life and from across the political spectrum. They’re artists and activists, faith and business leaders, students and scientists. They take action day in, day out — organizing, mobilizing, educating, and advocating so that people will have the chance not just to survive, but to thrive.
ONE’s teams in Abuja, Berlin, Brussels, Dakar, Johannesburg, London, New York, Ottawa, Paris and Washington DC, educate and lobby governments to shape policy solutions that save and improve millions of lives — and which every year are under threat from cuts and other priorities.
Co-founded by Bono and Bobby Shriver and other activists, ONE is strictly nonpartisan. ONE is not a grant-making organization and does not solicit funding from the public or receive government funds. ONE is funded almost entirely by foundations, individual philanthropists and corporate partners.
ONE has always said: “We’re not asking for your money, we’re asking for your voice.” ONE supporters use their voices – and their political clout – to persuade their government representatives to support effective programs that spur development and are making a real, measurable difference in the fight against extreme poverty and disease.
So, what does my posting a blog on ONE have to do with my ordinary work as a priest to share the gospel, you may ask?
Everything! God has definitely set his preferential option with the poor of the world. Consider some of these scriptures . . . .
The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. — Psalm 9:9
“If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother.” Deuteronomy 15:7
“Looking at his disciples, he said: ‘Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.’” Luke 6:20-21
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Proverbs 31: 8-9
“But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” Luke 14:13-14
ONE is governed by a Board of Directors made up of individuals with extensive experience in advocacy and activism, policy, politics and business that meets twice a year with program committees meeting more often as needed.
There’s also an African advisor board including leading thinkers from a diverse cross-section of civil society, academia, the private sector and media, provides strategic counsel and advice to ONE’s leadership on the latest trends and issues affecting Africa.
Bono and Bobby Shriver are the Co-Founders of One along with 11 organizations: Bread for the World, CARE, DATA, International Medical Corps, International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps, Oxfam America, PlanUSA, Save the Children U.S., and World Concern, World Vision.
The name ONE was inspired by the belief that one voice, coming together with many others — the political left and right, business leaders, activists, faith leaders and students — can change the world for the better.
The lead singer of Irish rock band U2, Bono, 60, is one of the best live acts in the world, U2 have sold over 157 million albums and won numerous awards, including 22 Grammys. Actually you may know of ONE because of Bono because he’s well-known activist and has won a Nobel Peace prize
Robert Sargent Shriver III, 66, is an American activist, attorney, and journalist. A member of the Kennedy family, he is a nephew of former U.S. President John F. Kennedy and former Senators Robert F. “Bobby” Kennedy and Edward M. “Ted” Kennedy.
With Shriver’s involvement, DATA, in turn, was one of the founding organizations in 2004 of the ONE Campaign, a U.S.-based, non-partisan, non-profit organizationwhich aims to increase U.S. government funding for and effectiveness of international-aid programs.
(RED) WAS FOUNDED BY BONO & BOBBY SHRIVER WITH ONE GOAL IN MIND
LET’S END AIDS
It was founded in 2006 to engage businesses and people in the fight to end AIDS. (RED) partners with the world’s most iconic brands to generate money for the Global Fund through (RED)-branded goods and experiences. (RED) Partners include: 212 Carolina Herrera, Alessi, Amazon, Apple, Balmain, Bank of America, Beats by Dr. Dre, Calm, Claro, Closca, Durex, eos, Girl Skateboards, Louis Vuitton, Montblanc, Mophie, NetJets, Primark, quip, Salesforce, Starbucks, Stella Luna, Telcel and Vespa. Supporters include: Merck/MSD and Roche.
To date, (RED) has generated more than $650 million for the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, to support HIV/AIDS grants primarily in eSwatini, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia. 100 percent of that money goes to work on the ground – no overhead is taken. Global Fund grants that (RED) supports have impacted 180 million people with prevention, treatment, counseling, HIV testing and care services.
(RED) harnesses the power of people and companies to fight AIDS. (RED) partners with the world’s most iconic brands that contribute profits from the sale of (RED)-branded products and experiences to the Global Fund.
Global Fund grants that (RED) supports have impacted more than 180 million people with prevention, treatment, counseling, HIV testing, and care services.
Scoggins told me a bit more about how their advocates approached members of Congress. He said he reminded me is always non-partisan worldwide. When they sponsor a bill, they seek both a Republican and a Democrat co-sponsor for the bill. They are most proud of shepherding the “Electrify Africa” bill that was introduced in 2013 and they shepherded it through the various committees and hearings in congress and the senate until it was finally signed by President Obama in 2016.
And,you know, I was deeply impressed by the young people at the two virtual meetings I at. ONE has many ambassadors to colleges to educate young folk about poverty and the need for justice for the poor of the world.
Before I sign off with my guests from ONE, I just want to let y’all know that this theme of caring for the poor is strongly carried over in next Sunday’s gospel. It’s actually a major feast for us ~ the last Sunday of our liturgical year ~ the Feast of Jesus Christ the King of the Universe and here’s a snippet of the gospel . . . . .
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in . . . .
And now, as usual. here’s my prayer . . . .
O God, I praise and thank you for the gift of life and love you share with us.
We ask you to be with those who are suffering in any way because of this Pandemic. Please also give strength to those who care for those who are sick.
I ask to bless all those who are dedicated to serving the poor of the world; give them courage and strength and perseverance.
To you, O God, we offer our thanksgiving and honor and praise. Amen!
And now before you go, here’s a song that Scoggins picked out for us. Click here.
And here’s another video:
Bono went to Christian prayer breakfasts to explain and promote the work of ONE and he took along this brief video. Please take a look Click here