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- Equality Directory
(WASHINGTON) The face of HIV and AIDS has changed over the past three decades. The disease, originally called Gay-related Immune Deficiency (GRID), is now on the rise among heterosexuals, women, African Americans, Latinos and men who have sex with men. Crystal methamphetamine use is also a contributing factor to increasing rates of HIV. More than one million Americans are living with HIV and/or AIDS
As individuals, communities and organizations across the globe get ready to mark World AIDS Day 2009, ONE is launching "Coming Together as ONE" -- a new PSA campaign designed to mobilize young people to get involved in the fight against extreme poverty and preventable disease. The public service announcements, which debut online today and will first appear on TV during the Dec. 2 episode of Gossip Girl, will feature young stars from some of the hottest entertainment properties.
The spots were created by filmmaker Jesse Dylan who is known for a variety of films, music videos and the Emmy Award-winning "Yes We Can" Barack Obama campaign video collaboration with will.i.am. The PSAs feature actors and actresses Leighton Meester, Jessica Szohr and Ed Westwick from Gossip Girl; Ashley Greene, Kellan Lutz, Nikki Reed and Jackson Rathbone from Twilight; Hayden Panettiere from Heroes; Corbin Bleu from High School Musical; Tristan Wilds from 90210; John Cho from StarTrek and Brandon T. Jackson from Tropic Thunder.
"In the last election, and over the course of history, young people have shown that when we get organized and committed, we are powerful. The fight against extreme poverty and preventable disease in poor countries needs our support, our energy and our commitment," said actress and ONE member Ashley Greene.
"Some people might say young people don't care about the world beyond our classroom, our family, our friends - but I don't believe that's true. In an increasingly global world, we have to look beyond ourselves. By raising our voices together, we can and will make a difference in the fight against extreme poverty and preventable disease," said Corbin Bleu, actor and ONE member.
"Coming Together as ONE" is a campaign to recruit more young people into the growing global movement to fight extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. ONE is asking youth to make their voices heard in the fight against extreme poverty, just as they did in the last presidential election, and as they have over the course of history. As the PSA makes clear, young people have been at the heart of all major social justice campaigns, whether for civil rights, women's rights or the fight against apartheid.
"Today's young people have already shown us they are powerful change-makers. They've done it in the recent presidential election and many are looking for the next social movement," said David Lane, President and CEO of ONE. "Coming Together as ONE aims to harness that power and build a buzz among Millennials. We know this generation can help defeat extreme poverty, put more kids in school and protect families from preventable disease such as AIDS, TB and malaria."
"I think young people understand the issues facing our global community. Their ideas and actions can bring about change. I wanted to deliver the message in a way that was current, reflected their voice, and conveyed urgency," said Jesse Dylan, director, FreeForm.
The PSA campaign will also serve as a vehicle to promote to the ONE Campus Challenge (OCC) -- a nationwide competition to encourage students to organize and mobilize as powerful voices in the campaign against global poverty. Students have been effective advocates for ONE, holding rallies and educational roundtables on their campuses, and during the 2008 presidential campaign, showing up at town halls and campaign stops for all of the major candidates to get them "on the record" with ONE about their plans for fighting poverty. Altogether, students from more than 2,500 schools across the country have taken more than 270,000 actions to fight poverty since the inception of the ONE Campus Challenge in August 2007.