Along with over 150 ONE volunteers, last week I traveled from Fresno, CA to our nation's capital for this year's ONE Power Summit. There, we had the privilege of learning from leading voices on extreme poverty and an opportunity to collaborate with other activists to produce catalytic action on behalf of the world's poorest people.
Throughout the conference, I was consistently motivated through thoughtful presentations on policy, advocacy and communications. On Monday afternoon, we heard from Gayle Smith, Special Assistant to The President of the United States and Senior Director, National Security Council. Smith spoke about the administration's commitment to fighting HIV/AIDS, eliminating preventable child deaths and ensuring food security for the world's poorest people. Particularly paying attention to the president's Feed The Future initiative, she said "It's our hope that Feed The Future will last for many, many years until the job's done." She thanked ONE for continuing to let the White House know that preserving funding for life saving programs must remain a priority.
The keynote address was delivered by H.E. Ebrahim Rasool, Ambassador of South Africa to the United States. Rasool spoke about the important role that activists, like all of ONE's membership, play in our current global community. "Activists have the ability to imagine a future that hasn't yet arrived," he said. Recalling firsthand the difference that PEPFAR (begun by President George W. Bush) has made in South Africa, Rasool concluded with an appeal to stay the course on fighting HIV/AIDS. He said, "This is not the time to be tired, this is is not the time to retire."
We finished our time together with preparations for Lobby Day, a time when a diverse group made up of professionals, clergy, students, veterans, moms, teachers and more, will head up to Capitol Hill to let our elected officials know that ONE advocates for people whose lives are on the line!