Pope Francis Competes with Beyonce at Under One Sky Event in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza

Pope Francis Competes with Beyonce at Under One Sky Event in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza

UnderOneSkypicOn the eve of Pope Francis’s address to the United Nations General Assembly, an eclectic congregation of street preachers, aged hippies, political activists, Buddhist monks, and Millennials gathered in the shadows of the UN to convey solidarity with the Pontiff’s message on poverty, inequality, and climate change.

Action/2015, an interfaith coalition of advocacy groups, hosted the Under One Sky event at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, just a few blocks from the UN Headquarters in New York City.

The rally’s turnout saw ambassadors from a swath of advocacy groups ranging from local parishes to environmental projects. Andrew Bishop, 32, a literature professor at Hudson County Community College in Jersey City, New Jersey, attended the Under One Sky event representing the eco-friendly group, System Change Not Climate Change. Bishop says his group champions the pope’s encyclical, Laudato Si’, which breaks down the relationship between climate change and poverty. Bishop claims there is a perception that environmental groups only care about national parks, but now the pope has illuminated the peripheral effects of climate change. “Pope Francis has successfully galvanized a jaded generation to effect change,” Bishop said.

The most recognizable group at the event was Global Citizens, which is set to host a festival in Central Park over the weekend that is headlined by music performances from Cold Play, Beyonce, Ariana Grande, and Ed Sheeren. Global Citizens is a political organization that favors advocacy over fundraising when it comes to effecting change. For example, Global Citizens incentivizes people to write letters to Congress in exchange for tickets to the Global Citizens Festival. Just prior to Action/2015’s Under One Sky event, Global Citizens rolled out a social media campaign that invited people to attend the event for a chance to win festival tickets.

As a result, the rally’s attendance at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza was inundated by Millennials who did not seem too invested in the pope’s message on climate change or poverty. August Riche, 29, a musician who hails form Brooklyn, said he learned of the Under One Sky event via Global Citizen’s social media feed. Riche says that he appreciates the issues that are at the forefront of the Under One Sky event, but, at the same time, suspects that a lot of people in attendance were there to win festival tickets as opposed to expressing solidarity with the pope.

To qualify for Global Citizen’s ticket giveaway, social media users had to take pictures at the Under One Sky event and then post them on Twitter with the hashtag: #LightTheWay. People at the event were encouraged to shine the lights on their phones and to bring glow sticks from home to perpetuate the light motif.

By the end of the event, the motif seemed to engulf the theme. While inspiring speakers like Graça Machel, the widow of Nelson Mandela, took the stage to express solidarity with Pope Francis, many people in attendance were busy taking selfies on their phones. Machel reminded the audience that issues like poverty and climate change do not solely deal with numbers and statistics, but with real people who are suffering. The only stat some event-goers were concerned with was the number of available tickets left for the Global Citizens Festival.

Article can be found on www.linktaylor.com

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