Richmond, Virginia Harry Chapin, an American singer-songwriter, is renowned for successes like his classic song "Taxi." Still, the rock and roll star is also regarded as a pioneer for organizations that fight hunger. Chapin founded Artists Against Hunger and Poverty in the 1970s as a branch of the non-profit WhyHunger. The Borgen Project talked to Hillary Zuckerberg, the WhyHunger director at Artists Against Hunger and Poverty (AAH&P), to discover more about the organization and the upcoming work.
Musicians have been using the strength of their voices and instruments for ages to produce powerful songs about global concerns that deserved more attention. Harry Chapin was motivated to fight for world change in the only way he knew how drawing inspiration from musicians who in the 1960s used their songs to promote the Civil Rights struggle as well as artists who hundreds of years before pushed civilians to battle in the French Revolution. To declare, "Hey, I'm doing this," he only relied on many of his musician friends. You should get involved if we're going to end hunger and poverty. Thus, step it up.
Chapin passed away in 1981, but his legacy lived on, as AAH&P continues to work "to generate funding to create awareness, to comprehend the intricacies of the food problems in the hunger crisis and to, you know, step up and take action." AAH&P is more than just a non-profit organization committed to ending world hunger, and WhyHunger, its principal business, is greatly to thank for this. WhyHunger helps grassroots initiatives all around the world, enabling them to connect with musicians who can broaden their influence by reinvesting proceeds from concerts and merchandise sales in the local area. These monies not only benefit the residents of these communities but also encourage community involvement and teamwork among the families who get to enjoy a fantastic performance and sense the artists' positive energy.
Artists Against Hunger and Poverty has long been supported by international icons like Yoko Ono and Bruce Springsteen: More than $6.8 million was raised to end childhood hunger through Ono's Imagine There's No Hunger campaign, and Bruce Springsteen's work has benefited more than 130 local charities. As more musicians join the cause and support WhyHunger and AAH&P, Zuckerberg thinks that "over $15 million" has been raised.
Some of the things that stand out to me include the tiny bit we talked about Imagine, and the three years we spent working with Yoko Ono, the John Lennon estate, and Hard Rock International on a global campaign. Through that campaign, we raised $7 million to support locally driven solutions to hunger and organized some fantastic events.
"And some incredible products that I still observe people wearing when I go down the street are amazing," says Zuckerberg.
The video "WhyHunger's Drum Together" by Artists Against Hunger and Poverty, which featured great drummers like Ringo Star from The Beatles, Max Weinberg from the E Street Band, Matt Cameron from Pearl Jam, and more, was undoubtedly one of their most amazing creations. A total of 50 musicians playing a variety of instruments and over 100 drummers were playing together to support the struggle to end world hunger and poverty.
More to Come
Since 1975, WhyHunger has used radio stations to promote its telethon Hungerthon while also spreading awareness of the global issue of hunger and poverty. Over $920,000 was raised through auctions, prizes, and donations last year during the organization's 36th Hungerthon. For the past four or five years, we have reached a million. It also has a lot of layers. Radio stations are partners in it. As a result, Sirius XM, Odyssey, and iHeart Radio are all pushing it, with Sirius XM and Odyssey being slightly more concentrated in New York. However, it is now definitely possible for individuals to listen to the radio anywhere in the world. Therefore, it's, in a sense, worldwide, said Zuckerberg. On November 1, the 2022 Hungerthon will start, and 90 cents of every dollar raised will go toward improving the globe.
The organization is also holding the annual WhyHunger Chapin Awards on November 1, 2022. This event honors artists, with this year's honorees including legends like Kevin Bacon, Warren Haynes, and Bob Wolk, and ticket sales benefit the charity.
Every action taken by Artists Against Hunger and Poverty (AAH&P) is done with the best of intentions. According to Zuckerberg, "We really, the entire world needs to believe like, people should have food, they should have food access and they should be capable of being able to purchase healthy food. So that's it. That shouldn't even be a question, am I right?" The phrase "water, food, home, like, those are the basics we simply need to be able to function" nicely summarizes the firm views of the non-profit.
One of the most essential messages ever is that "music has the power to alter the world, there is absolutely no doubt about that," and AAH&P continues to have musicians reaching out and wanting to do their part in supporting people all around the world.
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