Next Friday you can hook up with Adam lambert, Billie Eilish, Doja Cat and many other music stars in saving the world. And you don’t have to leave home to do it. Really!
Sept 25 is launch day for the Global Citizens Live (GCL), a 24-hour marathon of music and arts events, broadcast from multiple cities around the planet to support the Global Citizen.org campaign A Recovery Plan for the World, which focuses on COVID-19, ending the hunger crisis, resuming learning for all, protecting the planet, and advancing equity for everyone. It will involve dozens of high wattage artists ranging from Alessia Cara to Ricky Martin to the Black Eyed Peas to H.E.R., Lang Lang, Doja Cat, Keith Urban and many more, plus historic artists and leaders from around the world to defend the planet and defeat poverty.
Hailing from 6 continents, the broadcast will feature performances from Lagos, London, Los Angeles, New York City, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Seoul, and Sydney. Additional locations and event-specific details will be announced next week, in accordance with local health and safety restrictions. All live events will be strictly Covid-protected.
Along with the music – and probably a few speeches – will be opportunities to take specific actions, donate money, and join organized efforts aimed at turning the planet around while there is still time. All in all, GCL looks to be the biggest live concert of the year, if not the decade.
You can watch/engage no matter where you are by logging onto one of the platforms or media entities listed on the Global Citizen website at globalcitizen.org/en/live/watch/ You can also register to take actions such as petitions, contacting politicians, or run social media campaigns. You can join Global Citizens by downloading the Global Citizen app either during or before the concert and use it to take action – and people are taking hundreds of thousands of actions around the world right now.
So what will Global Citizens Live accomplish? Anything?
In his article, “Social Activism in the US Music Industry, Joey E. Tan wrote:
“Music has played a key role in social activism and various rights movements throughout history. Through political protests and commentary, artists have used the power of music to share critical messages, inspire action and achieve lasting change”
His researched focused on individual songs like Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit”, Woodie Guthrie’s 1945 song “This Land is Your Land”, and “Killing in the Name” by Rage Against the Machine. But Global Citizens Live is hundreds of songs broadcast to tens of millions – Woodstock on steroids with a purpose.
In my own research as a political scientist who studied and produced activist media and measured its impacts, I found that, yes, an event like GCL can affect behavior and even outcomes. The key is not how much money they raise, or even how many people they draw, but how much resiliency they build into the activism they generate. One weekend of music, no matter how many people watch and listen or call-in or post or donate may generate a blip of activity, but little long-term impact.
But an organization that uses music and artists to attract members and activists and then keeps them engaged for the long haul can change the world, or at least a part of it. And it will contribute to positive ideas, helping to shape the images in the minds of millions. Global Citizen.org is geared for the long haul. When the last note of the last song fades away, their global offices and staff will marshal newly registered Global Citizens to take thousands of actions from writing letters to planting tress (1 trillion trees!), to showing up at global conferences to demand action, to voting.
Global Citizen has taken the organizing knowledge built over decades by groups like Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network and Amnesty International and used it to build a global machine of tens of thousands of “global citizens” working t make change. Music is a big part of this, not only in the big global event next weekend, but in the actions and words and music of hundreds of artists who themselves are also inspired by the GCL.
So check out GCL at https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/, groove to the music, register as a Global Citizen and join the song-powered movement that just may save the world. You and Billie Eilish and Doja Cat and Adam Lambert. Really!
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