Today is We Day in Vancouver as thousands of school-aged children congregate in Rogers Arena to hear some of the most inspirational and motivational speakers of our time. Last year I had the chance to live blog throughout the day, meeting Jane Goodall, Mia Farrow, and listening to the sage advice of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Today I’ll be doing the same, posting updates here over the next few hours as Al Gore, Martin Sheen, Reverend Jesse L. Jackson Sr. and Free The Children co-founders and international childrenâ€™s rights activists Craig and Marc Kielburger take to the stage in front of 18,000. Rick Hansen, Ethan Zohn, and Philippe Cousteau, will also speak as Hedley, Barenaked Ladies, and Colbie Caillat entertain.
We Day brings together children and youth to teach and inform them that even the very smallest actions can cause a big change in the world today. Last year the movement was about pledging 10 actions and spreading the word to 10 of your friends, with Give Your 10.
Today’s call to action is to drive 1 million “Likes” to Facebook for We Day. For every “Like” the page gets, sponsors will donate $1 to Free the Children, which will ultimately providing incredible support to children struggling against poverty and exploitation around the world.
Update Stay tuned for live updates and photos from 10:00am PT until 2:00pm PT
After a welcome from First Nations Chief Shawn Atleo, We Day 2010 in Vancouver got underway. Thousands dance, scream, and shout when words like “be the change” or “it’s not charity, it’s sustainability” are spoken. Just as it moved me last year, it’s incredible witness the positive energy in this arena today.
Update The first speaker is actor and activist, Martin Sheen who quotes Robert F Kennedy: “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope… and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”
Update I will be going between live blogging in the press room to watching the speakers in the arena so for more frequent updates follow me on Twitter @Miss604 or search the tag #WeDay.
You can also watch We Day live online or catch the replay on CTV later tonight.
Update Ethan Zohn (from Survivor) and motivational speaker Spencer West now head up a panel discussion on the We Day mainstage.
Update Jim Berk of Participant Media highlights the importance of teachers and the school system in our country and in America. He introduces a trailer for his upcoming film, Waiting for Superman
Berk gets all of the teachers in the arena to stand up as he says, “everyone is capable of great things and they all start with great teachers.”
Update Rick Hansen is introduced as the Greatest Living Canadian Hero as he shares stories about perseverance. “You will meet challenges and make errors but you have to just keep going.”
Update Heading back into the press room, the first Q&A session is with Reverend Jesse L. Jackson Sr. “Often people say at rallies like this that the youth are our future. The reality is that the youth are right now.” He uses a sports analogy, as these events are something our nations have in commons. “The rules are public, the goals are clear, the referee is fair — those conditions we must apply beyond the playing field, to schools and education.”
A question is asked by a reported from YouthInk Magazine about the evolution of civil rights and activism over the last 50 years. Rev Jackson replied, “Against great odds we have made great progress, we’re a different nation today.” He references that we live in a such a different time now, without segregation, with women’s rights, with children and human rights. “We are different world with different challenges including different weapons — and that includes the right to vote.”
On the topic of celebrities championing causes Rev Jackson says that he learned more from some of his childhood heroes than he did from his textbooks. People like Jackie Robinson, Harry Belafonte, Sidney Poitier and of course Dr King who not only did their ‘jobs’ but also toured around speaking to the public and informing them of issues.
Update Free the Children and We Day founders Marc and Craig Kielburger are on their way up next. They’re beaming (as they should be) about the enthusiasm from all of the Student Leaders here today. They said they just met former Vice President Al Gore who they last saw years ago when he invited him to the White House in an effort to get his own children involved in social causes. “There’s still this view in school that children need to wait until they’re older,” says Craig. He adds that it wasn’t hip to be socially active when he was growing up, “changing the world was the antithesis of cool.” Now, they have celebrities, politicians, and rockers alongside youth who are all championing causes.
“For every international action we also have a domestic action,” says Marc to highlight that Free The Children believes in global and local support.
Update Martin Sheen is on his way to the press room and then I’ll be heading out to catch the rest of the production in the arena for the next hour or so.
Update 18,000 kids cheering for Al Gore. 18,000 kids chanting Freedom! 18,000 kids all motivated to do some good in their communities. After a sing-along version of “If I had a Million Dollars” from the Barenaked Ladies, We Day 2010 came to a close.
The call to action from the Kielburger brothers included some of the following local and global events. These are all campaigns that can be run by schools, classrooms, or individuals.
You can watch We Day on CTV October 30th at 7pm to catch all of the musical entertainment and talks from Al Gore, Martin Sheen, and more.