Global Poverty Concert

In: Social Issues

Submitted By somecamerunning
Words 547
Pages 3
Electric guitars and staggering statistics shared a Central Park audience of more than 60,000 people on Saturday at the Global Citizen Festival, a five-hour concert held on Central Park’s Great Lawn devoted to ending extreme poverty worldwide. The music line-up—which included Neil Young with Crazy Horse, Band of Horses, The Black Keys, The Foo Fighters, K’Naan and surprise guest John Legend—performed free-of-charge to the public to highlight issues of hunger, poverty, polio and malaria. But while the simulcasted event’s intention was to increase awareness of worldwide social inequity, the overall message of altruism fell flat.

Two hours before the concert’s start time, the attendees flooded the Great Lawn. Petition holders representing UNICEF, Half the Sky, The End of Polio and Charity Water descended upon the crowd to collect signatures to encourage future involvement in their respective charitable causes. Surprisingly, the charity volunteers were not well received by the music lovers. Many attendees walked away, or, responded with “leave me alone” before the volunteers could utter a word. The apathy, and the resulting cold responses, lasted from the time of admission to when the opening band stepped foot on the stage.

It is odd that attendees shrugged their shoulders at the ambassadors; yet, they lit up when the musicians advocating for the same charities began performing, especially given the timely message. The concert was scheduled around the meeting of the United National General Assembly in New York. The sponsoring organization, globalcitizen.org, executed an innovative approach to ticket distribution via sharing user-generated content on Facebook and Twitter. Banners, posted throughout the Great Lawn, displayed the concert’s mantra: “We don’t ask for charity, we ask for justice.” But, “justice” only came in the form of empty petitions and some fans…...

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