This Saturday, July 2, 2005, Live 8: The Long Walk to Justice, a massive, worldwide event, will blast out music from the world's top performers. The purpose of Live 8 is to draw attention to the problems associated with poverty in Africa in advance of the G8 Summit in Scotland from July 6-8.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair is expected to make a push for more aid dollars for Africa at the economic summit.
Concerts will draw masses in Berlin, Johannesburg, London, Paris, Philadelphia, Rome, Tokyo and near Toronto, with Moscow being a ninth possibility.
Irish rock star Bob Geldof agreed to coordinate the gigantic event. According to an AOL report, "Geldof pulled off a show business sensation 20 years ago, when the Live Aid concerts in London and Philadelphia raised more than $100 million to help fight famine in Ethiopia and an estimated 1.5 billion viewers tuned into watch."
What I found interesting and most encouraging was the fact that Geldof would not agree to be involved in the proposed event until he was convinced that it would have substantive affect on the targeted problems.
Richard Curtis, a film writer and producer who has worked with Geldof on similar events in the past, noted about Geldof, "He always said he wouldn't do it until he believed there was a moment when it could make political change and not just charity. . . .
"There are only weeks to go until these men meet and. . .that's the last G8 for another year. The next one is in Russia where poverty may not be the key issue."
Curtis reported that Live 8 organizers were looking for the fair trade issue to appear on the G8 communique and for a doubling of aid from rich nations.
"What we're trying to do is provide a moment in history."
That is definitely what is needed--a moment in history.
The spirit of Geldof and Curtis reminded me of the words of Rev. William Sloane Coffin from a sermon delivered in Washington, DC in 2002:
"Had I but one wish today for the Christian churches of America, I think it would be that they come to see the difference between charity and justice.
"Charity is a matter of personal attributes, justice a matter of public policy. Charity seeks to alleviate the effects of injustice, justice seeks to eliminate the causes of it.
"Charity in no way affects the status quo, while justice leads inevitably to political confrontation.
"Especially I would hope that Christians would see that the compassion that moved the Good Samaritan to act charitably--that same compassion prompted Biblical prophets to confront injustice, to speak truth to power, as did Jesus, who, though more than a prophet, was certainly nothing less.
"Most recently, religious leaders like Desmond Tutu and Martin Luther King have seen once again that compassion frequently demands confrontation."
Geldof and Coffin are on point.
Enjoy the music if you have the chance on Saturday.
Visit the Live 8 website at http://live8.technorati.com/about/live8.html to learn what you can do to be involved.
While you are at, it follow the links to The One Campaign here in the U. S.
Sign the online letter to President Bush asking for his support at the upcoming G8 meeting for an unprecedented debt-aid-trade deal for the people in the poorest countries of our world--mainly in Africa.
Even more important, begin to seriously consider the place of justice in your faith and values system. And, when given the opportunity, insist that others do the same.
Larry's new book, now available from Amazon.com! Also, now in Kindle format! To place your order visit Amazon.com today! Also, available at Barnes and Noble bookstores and on the web. Click on the image above to order!
Larry James' Urban Daily
A repository of ideas, resources, commentary and opinions concerning the issues facing low-income residents of the inner cities of the United States and how mainstream America largely forgets or, worse, ignores the day-to-day realities of urban life for the so-called "poor." Written and edited by the President & CEO of CitySquare. Please visit CitySquare.
Today and throughout 2013, we need your support to continue our life-changing work in inner-city Dallas. Every day hundreds of our wonderful neighbors arrive at our doors seeking our assistance, offering their help and prepared to pursue a better life. Frankly, the folks we "serve" make essential contributions to the scope, nature and soul of the work we attempt. At CitySquare we honor and recognize the amazing value and richness of our low-income neighbors. During 2012, almost 55,000 different people received the benefit of our wide-ranging services designed to assist in the process of building better lives. We need your help TODAY as we continue to respond to the needs of our community. Even more, we need you to become our PARTNER in the work of compassion and community renewal--work that continues day after day at CitySquare.