This past weekend I was lucky enough to attend Global Citizen Festival with my sister. The lineup included: Demi Lovato, Major Lazer, Kendrick Lamar, Ellie Goulding, Yusuf/Cat Stevens, Metallica, Chris Martin, Eddie Vedder, Usher, and Yandel. It was hosted by Chelsea Handler and Hugh Jackman, with numerous appearances by Priyanka Chopra, Jada Pinkett Smith, Selma Hayek, Neil Patrick Harris, Justin Trudeau, and many more! Most importantly there were honest and inspiring stories by Sarah Mardani, Alek Wek, and Brendan Cox. As well as a heart warming have to the crowd by the 6-year-old boy Alex who wrote a letter to President Obama asking for him to rescue a Syrian refugee boy, whose photo has gone viral, and bring him to Alex’s house so that Alex and his sister could share their toys and take the little boy in as a brother.
I had one of the best evenings of my life dancing around with my sister, enjoying every moment. But there is something more important than the music or celebrity appearances we saw.
My sister turned to me in the middle of the festival and said “I wish every concert was like this”. She wasn’t just referring to how laid back everyone was, that it was in a park, that there were so many different performances, or anything to do with the atmosphere. My sister was referring to how educational Global Citizen Festival is. The entire festival is about 5 major issues occurring in the world, drawing attention to them, and declaring change. Even the people who might have only came for the perfect instagram opportunity had to partake in social action or donate money to this cause. Global Citizen is about people coming together, acknowledging that we are all global citizens of this planet, and that we must come together as a international, worldly power, declaring change for injustice.
People deserve the right to clean water and education, poverty is sexist and unfortunately women are not treated equally in all nations. Qandeel Baloch was brutally murdered by her own brother for “dishonor to her family” and it was justified in Pakistan. Women are equal and deserve basic human rights, Global Citizen re-enforces these ideals by calling attention to actions, such as what happened to Qandeel Baloch, and how unjust they are. As well as praising Girls Who Code, a group of young girls and women who learn how to code to make a change and create their own algorithms to make a difference in the world with technology.
Over 7.7 million actions were taken by global citizens this year which will affect/already have affected over 656 million lives! If you are ever given the chance to attend Global Citizen Festival seize the opportunity. But, most importantly, when you attend, open your mind to the knowledge they are imparting on you. It is life changing and you will realize how your actions can help make a difference, not just bettering your community, but the world for equality, basic human rights, stopping injustices, equal education and so much more!
(Below: A photo with my amazing older sister who truly embodies what it means to be a global citizen!)