Back in the 80s I sang in a British rock group named Classix Nouveaux. As we embarked on tours in 30 countries, my eyes were opened to a world way beyond that of music and entertainment. Our first Silver Disc came from Yugoslavia, and I saw real tanks on the streets. We went to the Far East and encountered child prostitutes in Bangkok. From there to India, and beggars on the streets everywhere, plus people sleeping on the sidewalk, or a bench, or a wheelbarrow. Then to Mexico, where we witnessed a different kind of poverty: people living in huts with no windows, but a TV antenna on the roof, so they could see all the excess just across the border.
Later we toured in Poland, and visited Auschwitz. I have often told people about the mountains of shoes and spectacles from those who were killed, plus the sign that says they made sackcloth from human hair, and lampshades from human skin. Yet I realized this happened not because of poverty, but because of racism.
In 1999 I relocated to the USA and immediately began to receive requests to travel to Latin America. When recording a Spanish album in the Dominican Republic, I asked why people should live in such dire poverty when their neighbor to the north is the richest nation the world has ever known. Here in the USA and the West, we build cathedrals to commerce and worship fame and profit. Yet we have 6 times our fair share of all the world has to offer.
Having spoken to teens all around the USA, I cannot help but share with them the experiences of my life, and the places I have seen. Many Catholic youth have a hard time grasping theology or doctrine, but they seem to jump at the chance to do something for the less fortunate.
Back in 2004 when I was keynote at the Diocese of Biloxi Youth Rally, I told them of the millions in the world who live on less than 50¢ a day. Afterwards one boy pledged 50¢ a day to the poor, illustrating how easy it is to put that simple message into action.
So now we are launching a new campaign called 50¢ A DAY which will enable young people (and the not so young) all over America and the developed world to get into the habit of giving a small amount each day, which can make a BIG difference in the Third World. We invite you to partner with us so that together we may change the world!