Founded in 1974, the Women’s Center was established to:
Dismantle, from a feminist perspective, all forms of oppression, including but not limited to those based on ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Advocate for an equitable environment free from violence and harassment based on gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Create an anti-racist, non-sexist, queer-affirmative space where all people can feel valued and safe.
Facilitate and strengthen connections among people across lines of difference through programming and educational campaigns.
Integrate an appreciation of Women's Gender and Multicultural Studies across the disciplines.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Musicians Raise Awareness at Global Citizens Festival

“We are global citizens, we’re going to change the world” sang Stevie Wonder into a sea of just that pressed up against each other to stay warmer trying to hide our cigarettes from the Central Park authorities. Irony at its finest.

Alicia Keys at Global Citizens HOLLIE SMITH
Alicia Keys at Global Citizens HOLLIE SMITH
The second annual Global Citizens fest welcomed 60,000 people onto the Great Lawn in the middle of Central Park in the name of a stubborn yet admirable cause – ending world poverty.  The festival is an overabundance of empathetic hippie liberal arts students, the major donors to the campaign to end world poverty, the great muscle of charity and the musical moguls that somehow tie it all together.  This years musicians were far from small names, in fat there was truly something for everyone. From the Southern rock band Kings of Leon, to songwriter Alicia Keys and crooner John Mayer the festival also had guest appearances by Janelle Monáe and Elvis Costello.

“This is amazing, but I wish I knew what was going on,” said James, 19 Morristown, NJ followed by his friend stating, “Yeah, too many speakers that don’t work and they are talking too much – just play the music” Aaron, 18 Morristown, NJ. Many onlookers came as either extreme charitable people – wearing global citizens merchandise and donating to any part of the cause they could and yet on the other spectrum there were thousands of young students who had won the tickets and had little to no idea what was occurring. “I honestly wasn’t even sure what this was for” said a Marymount Manhattan student  “but I knew it was free and there was musicians.”

Global Citizens Stage  HOLLIE SMITH
Global Citizens Stage
Every year the Global Citizens fest tickets are earned through watching a series of short documentaries about the cause and doing online activities which raise awareness. Many of the fans present in the crowd would briefly forget the point of the concert. However, the committee for the festival made sure the point was made clear throughout the five and a half hour concert. Representatives from the biggest names in poverty campaigns included Hugh Evans, representatives from the Global Poverty Project and the United Nations spoke nervously after introductions by actors or musicians such as Gerard Butler and Olivia Wilde.

Although the speakers tended to somewhat shove their cause down the throat of the audience in a clear yet somewhat pushy manner – the musicians were slightly subtler in their approach. Kings of Leon, the first lineup of the night, started off with two songs from their new album “Mechanical Bull,” which were greeted well by the fans who knew the songs. It wasn’t until the band played their infamous least favorite song “Sex on Fire” that the crowd all got off their blankets, scarves and tapestries. Ending the set with “Beautiful War” they sang out about “something worth fighting for.” Subtle enough.

Following this set, many citizens would come and go as the sun went down over the park. Standing on line for 40 minutes for the bathroom or 2 hours for a tray of food. The event was dry – no alcohol was sold or allowed in. New York City also banned smoking in the park. This did not stop many people in the crowd from lighting up.

The beautiful and talented songwriter Alicia Keys came out with her guns blazing playing one soulful number in front of the piano after another. It appeared she struggled to find an appropriate way to address the cause – singing “Try sleeping with a broken heart” with a somber video playing behind her. Her strengths appeared when she played her hits “If I Ain’t Got You”, “Girl On Fire” and closing with the inevitable “Empire State of Mind (part 2) which caused the crowd to uproar singing along and raising up lighters and smart phones as if we were saying “Yes, New York – we are here, we understand this.”

The lights of the stage shimmered over the crowd, now looking colder and shifting loser for warmth. A pungent smell of smoke overcame the areas surrounding and crooner John Mayer walked on stage with the statement “ We’re just going to do our thing.”  As Mayer started his heartfelt wounded love songs, every single person in the crowd instantly became a couple leaving a few awkward groups isolated. Mayer finally addressed the issues with his 2005 hit “Waiting for the World to fall.”

Global Citizens HOLLIE SMITH
Global Citizens HOLLIE SMITH
Stevie Wonder hyped up by Bono walked on stage to deliver a message about Gun Control citing the death of John Lennon. Although off point, he sang Imagine and everything tied together. Wonder adapted his hits “Sir Duke, “ Superstition” and “Signed Sealed Delivered” to his featured artists.

As the night came to a close, and thousands of fans navigated their way out of the park in the pitch black in promise of French fries an audible phrase came over the leaving crowd. The crowd sang back “We are global citizens, we’re going to change the world”
If that isn’t success, I don’t know what is.

No comments:

Post a Comment