Sunday, December 27, 2009

Concert turned mom into a poverty fighter

By Jennifer Grant
Special to the Chicago Tribune
December 25, 2009

Activist and author Shayne Moore credits a rock star with waking her up to the AIDS pandemic. A married, stay-at-home mother of three, Moore said her life in Wheaton was organized around raising her children -- filling sippy cups, changing diapers, and stocking the fridge with groceries -- until Bono came to town.

On World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, 2002, U2 frontman Bono began his weeklong Heart of America Tour. The Irish rock star -- along with a motley crew of fellow travelers including celebrities Lance Armstrong and Ashley Judd, medical experts, and a children's singing group from Ghana -- visited seven Midwestern states and spoke at churches and on college campuses to raise awareness about AIDS.

During their stop at Wheaton College, Moore's alma mater, Moore said Bono's message "knocked the suburban wind right out of me."

"Living in an affluent suburb of Chicago, these issues weren't right in front of me," Moore said. "I was spending my time with other moms like me, going to play groups, going to Old Navy, going to Target. My world was really small."

Moore had been a fan of U2 since high school and when she heard Bono was coming, she was determined to see him.

"To be honest, I didn't care what Bono had to say. I didn't know what it was all about, but I scalped tickets from these little innocent freshmen at Wheaton so I could get in," Moore said. She paid $80 for tickets to attend the program; Wheaton students had received them for free.

That December day, as Moore entered Wheaton College's Edman Chapel with her 1-year-old son on her hip and holding the hand of her 4-year-old daughter, she was unaware that her life was about to change course dramatically. But a few hours later, shaken by what she'd learned about the tragic relationship between AIDS and poverty, Moore was incited to action.

In the seven years since Bono's visit to Wheaton, Moore has become a full-fledged activist. She has attended G8 summits in Edinburgh and St. Petersburg and has made public service announcements urging world leaders to keep their promises to the world's poorest people. She has traveled to Honduras, Zambia, and other resource-poor countries to observe and support the work of humanitarian organizations such as World Vision. Her first book, "All Our Ones Add Up: A Soccer Mom's Journey for Global Change," will be published by Zondervan in August.

"Shayne struck me as representing the prefect target audience for what the Heart of America Tour was trying to accomplish: to take caring, energetic Americans and to educate them on the issue and then to mobilize them to do their part in addressing the HIV/AIDS pandemic," said Ashley Woodiwiss, who was on Wheaton College's faculty when Bono visited and now teaches at Erskine College in South Carolina. "She struck me as well-placed to turn her desire to make a difference into a flourishing and full-time effort."

Moore started by attending meetings of a fledgling group called DuPage Glocal AIDS Action Network(, which was formed just days after Bono's visit by Woodiwiss; Sister Sheila Kinsey, a Franciscan nun; and Sandra Joireman, of the Wheaton College department of politics and international relations.

"Glocal" is a combination of "global" and "local," describing the group's goal of thinking globally and acting locally. Soon, Moore was an active member of the group, which meets regularly.

Because of her involvement in the group, Moore became one of the original members of the ONE Campaign, a nonpartisan effort created by a number of humanitarian organizations -- including Bread for the World, Oxfam, and World Vision -- to mobilize ordinary citizens to fight extreme poverty and preventable disease.

In November, Moore traveled to Zambia to see some of the work that organizations including World Vision are doing to prevent HIV transmission and gender-based violence in the southern African country.

"I connect deeply with the faith-based element of World Vision. My Christian faith motivates me to fight AIDS and poverty. With World Vision, I get my hands wet, my mind active, and my heart engaged," Moore said.

And she is grateful for the opportunity to get involved.

"I was very disturbed after I saw Bono," she said. "It's cliche to say it, but I woke up. I'd been living in this very insular world and it took a rock star coming to my hometown to wake me up to this huge thing happening in the world.",0,1663944.story

Copyright © 2009, Chicago Tribune

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:20 AM

    Oh yah, now there is a Mom who leads by example indeed. Way to go! Our Think Tank has written an eBook for anyone who wishes to do humanitarian work in Honduras, it's a free eBook;