The state of Iowa today (Tuesday) officially joined a campaign to end global poverty and AIDS. Governor Tom Vilsack signed a proclamation declaring Iowa part of “The One Campaign” — a coalition of religious groups and antipoverty advocates trying to convince the U.S. government to provide more assistance to Third World countries, particularly countries in Africa. Susan Guy, a Midwestern organizer for The One Campaign, says Iowa is the first state to join. “What we want is for people to speak out on these issues,” Guy says. The One Campaign is urging the U.S. government to forgive Third World debt and increase U.S. aid to Third World countries by one percent. The group also plans a rally in Scotland next week outside the G-eight meeting that’ll bring together leaders from the world’s eight top industrialized nations. University of Iowa student Megan Roy, a senior, says she’ll be there to add her voice to those asking world leaders to help because she spent time in western Africa as a child. “The extreme poverty in which most African people live left a permanent impression on me,” she says. “Millions of African children are orphaned by the AIDS epidemic. They contract malaria. They die of malnutrition and are denied the basic access to education that you and I take for granted.” She says America has the ability to tackle the poverty and the AIDS epidemic that are plaguing Africa. Roy believes the war on terror is linked to the global war on poverty “and a generation of Africans is crying out for our compassion.” Before she takes off for Scotland, Roy will be in Philadelphia this weekend to the Live-eight concert which is raising money to fight poverty. To learn more about the group, go to www.one.org on the Internet.
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