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Global Campaign Uses Celebrities to Raise Awareness

By Melissa Charbboneau
CBN News White House Correspondent EDINBURGH, Scotland – It was an American invasion on British soil.

A delegation of staffers and volunteers from the "One" campaign flew into Scotland to convince the world's richest nations to eradicate extreme poverty.

Financial heavyweights such as Virgin Atlantic's Richard Branson, Bill Gates, and George Soros raised the heat on G8 leaders by funding "One" activists.

“We can end this problem. We can do it,” said Melissa Fitzpatrick, an actress on West Wing. “But, we as citizens of the United States have a responsibility, and that's to let our officials, our elected officials know we want this.”

Hot off a Live 8 mega-concert in Philadelphia, the "One" volunteers came for the star-studded lineup. And they wanted to President Bush a message.

“So proud to be here, history is being made,” said Paula Abdul, a judge on American Idol. “I couldn't imagine being anywhere else…"

Artists and actors have rallied America to act, touting their symbol of unity by wearing the "One" wristband.

“I think the meaning is One, we all are one, and we are all equal around the world, and we should all start paying attention to this,” actor Chris Tucker said.

Live 8 organizer Bob Geldolf said the 1.3 million Americans who signed on to the "One" campaign can persuade G8 leaders to pony up

“We've never been wealthier. We produce surplus in every single area, including food,” Geldof said. “Yet an entire continent will go to bed hungry. That makes no sense, it's grotesquely immoral.”

Geldof and his vast array of celebrity colleagues said it is time Africa's plight made it to the global stage.

“It's not good for the world if 6,300 people - principally children - are dying every single day in Africa,” musician Dave Matthews said.

“The leaders of the developed world need to come together,” actor Djimon Hounsou said. “They know the issues.”

“Volunteerism is the new black,” Jon Bon Jovi added. “Everyone should get up and volunteer. That's what it's all about, giving back to your local communities and the world's communities. Everybody's reaching out today, performing here but there's one united message because we're trying to save some souls.”

The driving force behind the "One" campaign is Irish superstar Bono of the band U2. The rocker-turned-lobbyist has become a political force in Washington, visiting members of Congress with Bush's Secretary of State, and the Oval Office.

Bono's three-step proposal is debt relief, increased aid, and fair trade for Africa. His co-founder Bobby Shriver of the Kennedy Clan said "One"'s outreach has seen a surprising political convergence of the left and the right.

“It's important to get along with the Republicans because even when President Clinton was in office they had a lot of clout in Congress,” Shriver said. “So we started off on that strategy, sort of inadvertently, and when we realized it was going to work really well, you know Bono and Jesse Helms, Bono and so-forth, we stuck with it. And that's why Pat Robertson and Puffy (P. Diddy)…get people to pay attention.”

“No matter what Christian, or religious background you come from, or if you're in rock-and-roll or pop music,” Dan Haseltine, from Jars of Clay, said. “When 30,000 people are dying everyday from issues surrounding poverty - stuff that's preventable, everybody feels that. And so I think it's easy to put all the other differences aside and say okay, we all can unify for this.”

When Bush and other G8 leaders arrive at the summit tomorrow, members of "One" and other anti-poverty activists will wait in Edinburgh to make sure they shine a global spotlight on the plight of Africa.


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