In the beginning of the month, I attended the Millennium Campus Conference in Washington DC as a member of ONE Campus. The conference was a gathering of young change makers from around the world and was an opportunity to grow our activism skills and network with others. It consisted of a variety of workshops, forums, and debates, all of which were informative and thought provoking. MCC was especially powerful for me for one main reason, it confirmed why I became a ONE Campus leader.
Of course, I should back up a little bit. ONE campus is part of the ONE campaign, a nonpartisan advocacy group aimed at eradicating extreme poverty, with a particular focus on sub-Saharan Africa. ONE Campus leaders use the voices of college students to help ONE with this mission. They hold events, write letters, call congress, uses social media, all in the name of advocacy. I joined ONE for three reasons; their message that this is a campaign of justice, not charity, that voices can change the world, and the fact that Bono is a co-founder. Ignoring the last completely self-serving fact, the first two reasons were proven during MCC and has made me even more passionate.
The first reason, the ONE is a campaign of justice not charity, was proven throughout the conference. One of the coolest things about MCC was that America and Europe were not the only voices being heard. There were students from all over the world; Ghana, Haiti, and Liberia to name a few. Each of them had unique stories and visions that made MCC so interesting. Listening to them, it was confirmed that charity is not what is needed in this world, its justice. They are not looking for charity, they are looking to change the world and the right partners to do it with which is why being in ONE became even more important to me.
ONE also believes that we can change the world by simply speaking out. At MCC, I got to do that for the first time. They, along with ONE campus, organized a lobby day were volunteers went to Capitol Hill to discuss the Global Fund with members of congress. Personally, I got to speak to Senator Ed Markey’s chief of staff. We had an extremely productive meeting regarding the global fund and he made us feel heard. Many others who went to meetings expressed similar statements. It was also amazing to see how many people were this passionate about poverty relief and how many of them were my age. I felt like together, we could do anything. MCC proved to me that my voice has power, and when combined with the voices of many others, could change the world.
Having your beliefs confirmed is one of the most satisfying feelings in the world. It makes you want to go even further and do bigger things. I am so thankful for being able to attend MCC with ONE campus and it has made me even more motivated to run my campus chapter and help end extreme poverty once and for all.