Friday, May 18, 2007

Buy RED - Help Cure AIDS/HIV

Bono. Everyone knows who he is, right? The frontman for the mega-rock band U2? The founder of DATA, a watchdog organization fighting poverty in Africa by holding the G8 Summit countries to their promises of aid? The founder of ONE, the campaign to end poverty on our globe? Or is he the co-founder of RED (products), a partnership with companies to produce RED merchandise, donating a portion of the profits to buy AIDS/HIV medication?

He is all of these things and more. Can you tell that I am in awe of the man? Well, unashamedly, I'll stand up to say, "Yes I am."

When I went into my local GAP store after Christmas to spend a gift certificate and fell in love with a stone washed red sweater, I didn't know that buying it would help provide antiretroviral medication for women and children with AIDS in Africa. I only knew I had a cool new sweater.

I didn't know that RED has raised 25 million dollars for the Global Fund for AIDS from the sale of RED products. Bono said in an interview with CNN that this is more than Canada or China has contributed to the fund and they are nations, much more powerful that little me. Or are they?

That's what Bono wants you to ask yourself. Where does the power to end poverty and AIDS really lie? Look in the mirror. To harness this power he founded the everyday person's activist group, ONE. ONE provides a jumping off place to reclaim your decision making power as a citizen of whatever country you live in. If you are American, you have great power, if you only chose to use it.
One way to exercise our power over the economic model is to support companies like The GAP, American Express UK, Motorola, Emporio Armani, Converse, and Apple. Each have produced RED products and have pledged in their business models to donate a portion of their profits to the Global Fund for AIDS.

It's working, but now RED needs more business partners to jump on board and see the benefits of selling with a conscience. GAP's RED clothing flys off the racks and I can't tell you how many RED Motorazrs and RED Apple IPOD Nanos I see everyday. These companies are fast learning that it pays to care.

Bono says the money funneled into this and other AIDS relief is the difference between life and death in Africa. He feels we must look beyond our front doors, beyond our neighborhoods to the global community. So goes Africa, so goes the rest of the world.

To do something for people living in poverty and the problems it fosters such as AIDS is not merely charitable but justice in its purest sense. Raise as a Catholic, Bono made mention in his CNN interview to religion and the basic tenets of a religious belief system. Every religion on Earth asks us to reach out to others and care of them as we would care for ourselves. He said that his world view drastically changed after he and his wife worked in an African Orphanage during the late 1980's. It became important to do something to help change at least one life in Africa.

Mr. Hewson (aka Bono) you've succeeded and made it easier for everyone else to do the same.

To join the ONE Campaign,

To learn more about RED(products),

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