Lighting up the Night
Guest blog by Kristi York Wooten, an activist who volunteered with Oxfam at the Atlanta show on July 2nd.
If you’ve been to a Coldplay gig recently, you experienced a feast of light and sound. You probably also received an LED wristband, which twinkled on your arm in time to “Charlie Brown” and other songs during the band’s set.
A lighting engineer controlled the multicolored flickers in the arena, and you got to take the bracelet home as a souvenir (or you recycled it at the venue). Pretty cool to look at, right? Yet, away from its radio controls, the light no longer works.
Those lucky enough to be chatted up by a human vegetable or have their photo snapped for the GROW wall also left the Coldplay show with a keepsake … a new kernel of knowledge about global hunger and the importance of supporting sustainable farming. A few days have passed – that little Oxfam pamphlet’s been thrown away, and a pin that says “GROW” is sitting on your bureau next to that defunct armband.
Let’s go back to the arena for a moment.
What if everyone at the concert received the wristband … but only yours lit up? Would you feel self-conscious or empowered? What if you could light up the bracelet of the person next to you – or light your whole row, your whole section? What if you could light up every wrist in the whole arena?
That’s what it means to be an activist – and for me, that’s what it felt like to talk to Coldplay fans about Oxfam’s work in Atlanta on July 2nd. Oxfam volunteers signed up nearly 600 people at Philips Arena. That’s enough to make a sparkle in a room of 17,000 people.
One thing that makes Coldplay such a great mouthpiece is that the guys are genuinely committed to taking care of our world and its inhabitants – and spreading the word about poverty-fighting organizations like Oxfam. They’re rock stars, which means they have political gumption and strong voices that ring out across the world. But they can’t light up the night on their own. That’s why they gave you the wristband. And that’s why they brought Oxfam on tour.
So before you toss that bracelet in the recycle bin, imagine that you can turn it on without the radio waves and the techie at the arena. And that little bit you learned about Oxfam – don’t be shy to share it on your blog, your Facebook, Twitter, etc. Wear your little green pin with pride.
It’s our turn to keep the spark going. As Chris Martin sings in “Charlie Brown,” “so we’ll soar, luminous and wired. We’ll all be glowing in the dark.”
Have you blogged about GROW or Oxfam on Tour? Share it with us in the comments and we’ll tweet it to the world.