60,000 People Gathered at Central Park to End Global Poverty

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On Saturday , September 26, the Global Citizen Festival hosted an all-star lineup of musicians, activists, and politicians on the Great Lawn of New York’s Central Park in order to help end world wide extreme poverty.

The Global Citizen Festival is an annual concert held in New York by the Global Poverty Project. The project, started by humanitarian Hugh Evans, was founded in 2008, with the goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030. The mission is, “Growing the number and effectiveness of Global Citizen to achieve the public, business and political commitment and action to end extreme poverty.”

Evans, the 31-year-old Australian, explained to Fast Company why GPP wants to do more than simply raise awareness, “People don’t need to become more aware of poverty—they need to know how to end it… If I create a thunder clap on World Such-and-Such Day, that’s great, but what do you then expect us to do? The majority of campaigns don’t ask for anything.”

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At the age of just 14, Evans spent several weeks doing community service in the poverty-stricken capital of the Philippines, and hasn’t quit since. In 2003, when he was only 20, he started The Oaktree Foundation; a youth led organization that provided aid to countries in need. The following year Evans was awarded the Young Australian Of The Year Award for his humanitarian efforts.

With Global Poverty Project, Evans wants people to take action. “It’s really pure chance that I was born in the lucky country that I was born in and he [Sonny Boy, Evans’ friend from the Philippines] was born in extreme poverty,” Evans says in the video below. Global Poverty Project, Evans says, seeks to “build a movement to end extreme poverty and curate large scale campaigns at tipping point moments that could influence world leaders to do things that they otherwise might not be inclined to do.”

This year Beyoncé, Coldplay, Pearl Jam, and Ed Sheeran headlined the Global Citizen Festival, with Hugh Jackman and Steven Colbert serving as hosts and Ariana Grande, Common, Tori Kelly, as well as Sunidhi Chauhan appearing in special performances.

Past artists have included The Black Keys, John Legend, and Jay-Z. Since the festival’s birth, some 60,000 people have taken part each year, resulting in over $1 billion in pledged money annually. Taking place every September, the festival lines up with the annual UN Leaders Week, which also takes place in New York.

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“Everybody in the world is entitled to be treated with dignity. No time in the history of the world has it been harder to hide injustice…I see a sea of global citizens. We can change the world, we really can, you can. At no time in history has so much power been available to make such a difference for so many people. I refuse to believe that we’re not going to try,” said Vice President Joe Biden to the crowd on the Great Lawn yesterday.

Tickets for the event could be bought. In order to attend, one had to “take action” to earn points and entries into the ticket raffle. The more you volunteered, the more raffle tickets you earned, and the higher the chances you could attend. The model is designed to not simply raise awareness, but actually spur people into action and make a change.

This year the festival comes in light of the UN’s new Sustainable Development Agenda, which will build upon the previous poverty initiative, the “Millennium Development Goals.” Since its inception in 2000, the Millennium Development Goals, as a part of the UN Millennium Declaration, has helped raise 700 million people from extreme poverty. While the agenda has 17 goals and 169 targets, it stresses poverty eradication as the principle objective. “These global goals, if adopted and then implemented, will represent a seismic shift in how the world tackles poverty,” Helen Morton, post-2015 lead for “Save The Children,” told The Guardian.

For his outstanding and continued commitment to ending extreme poverty, for his ingenuity, and for leading the charge, we are proud to name Hugh Evans, the Global Poverty Project, and the Global Citizen Festival, our Luminaries of the Week.

For more information about Global Poverty Project check out their website. And to get involved with Global Citizen, go here.



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About the author: Gary Joshua Garrison


Gary Joshua Garrison is the Prose Editor for Hayden’s Ferry Review. His fiction has appeared in various locations around the World Wide Web, as well as in bound reams of paper. His nonfictional musing can be found at Luminary Daily and Way Too Indie. He writes, teaches, and goes to the movies in the desert of Arizona with his well-postured cat, Widget.

Website: http://garyjgarrison.com/


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