Faith Leaders and Celebrities Cast "ONE vote" to Fight Global Poverty

Rev Rick Warren will join ONE: The Campaign to Make Poverty History, as the organisation announces the broadcast and internet premiere of a new public service to ask millions of American voters to help fight global AIDS and extreme poverty.

Published 24 October 2006
Rev. Rick Warren will join ONE: The Campaign to Make Poverty History, as the organisation announces the broadcast and internet premiere of a new public service to ask millions of American voters to help fight global AIDS and extreme poverty.

The programme premiered on MTV Networks channels including MTV, VH1, Spike, TV Land, and Nick@Nite on 23 October, and will premiere on the Internet (My Space and YouTube) on 24 October.

"This is a first step in a long-term effort to start making the fight against global AIDS and extreme poverty part of the election conversation and Americans can be part of that by joining ONE.ORG," said Matt Damon who appears in and narrates the spot. "Decisions made in Washington DC really do have the power to save lives. I think at their heart Americans are good people and I think people want to help-I think there's momentum building. People are starting to realise that the history books are being rewritten and they want to be on the right side of history, they want to be in the story. "

Faith leaders Pastor Warren and Bishop Charles E. Blake will join the movement, alongside Julia Roberts, Matt Damon, George Clooney, Don Cheadle, New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady, singer songwriter Toby Keith, Alfre Woodard, and Democrat and Republican Strategists Mike McCurry and Jack Oliver.

In the spot, they join with over 2.4 million supporters of the ONE Campaign to "pledge ONE vote" not for a candidate or party-but instead to help fight global AIDS and extreme poverty and make a better, safer world for us all.

In addition to the broadcast and internet premieres, ONE supporters sneak previewed "ONE Vote" at over 676 local events and "house parties" in all 50 states on Sunday 15 October. As airwaves are filled with campaign ads asking Americans for their vote, ONE is coming to American voters with a bipartisan, hopeful message that ONE is a campaign in which Americans do not have to take a side - there is only ONE side in the fight against global AIDS and extreme poverty.

"In every village, in every city, and in every nation that I've visited on the continent of Africa, I've observed people who have the ambition, the desire, and the longing, but they don't have the resources," said Bishop Charles E. Blake. "We must join together to make some of those resources available to people who want to do better, who want to help themselves, but who don't have the ability to do so because of lack of resources. If we can help them, I think that we will see great changes and great development in the world."

"The ONE campaign can unite people together from different backgrounds, different beliefs, different views on life, because these are not only religious issues - they're human issues," said Pastor Warren and author of "The Purpose Driven Life". "As Americans, we have to care about the 3 billion people who live on under 2 dollars a day and the 1 billion people who live on less than a dollar a day. AIDS and poverty will never be solved by one group alone, it takes government, it takes churches, and it takes business - and each of them has a role."

The ONE Campaign asks that America devote an additional 1 per cent of the US federal budget to the fight against global AIDS and extreme poverty. Most Americans would be surprised to learn that less than ONE per cent of the federal budget is currently marked for fighting AIDS and poverty around the world, with surveys showing Americans think it is over 15 per cent. The US has shown bold commitment to Africa and has roughly doubled assistance in the last four years, yet even this funding must continue and expand.

"This is something all Americans can do together across party lines," said Democratic strategist Mike McCurry. "For the first time, we have real solutions that work in the fight against global AIDS and extreme poverty, and America can help lead the world in saving and changing lives."

By directing an additional ONE per cent of the US budget toward providing the most basic needs, and fighting the corruption that wastes precious resources, the ONE campaign aims to help transform the futures and hopes of an entire generation in the poorest countries.

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