GOOD

Celebrities Go All Out to Honor World AIDS Day

Sharon Stone, Scarlett Johansson, Bono, and others are raising money and awareness to fight the spread of AIDS and HIV.

Screenshot of Scarlett Johansson from the (RED) fundraising jingle video

To the international organizations and celebrities involved in the 30-year battle against AIDS, it must seem as if the problems created by the disease shift shapes as often as the virus.


Human rights organizations—marking World AIDS Day (December 1) with the help of a small army of celebrities—called for fast action to end the disease by 2030, while warning post-millennials that AIDS is far from over.

According to the United Nations, new HIV infections have fallen by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 42 percent since the peak in 2004—but there is still “an unacceptably high number” of new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths occurring each year. In 2014, 2 million people were newly infected with HIV and 1.2 million people died of AIDS-related illnesses.

“To break the epidemic and prevent it from rebounding, we must act on all fronts,” U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement for World AIDS Day. “We need to more than double the number of people on life-changing treatment to reach all 37 million of those living with HIV. We need to provide adolescent girls and young women with access to education and real options to protect themselves from HIV. And we need to provide key populations with full access to services delivered with dignity and respect.”

The United Nations’ International Labour Organization (ILO), calling the HIV pandemic “one of the most critical workplace issues of our time,” highlighted the need to protect the labor rights of people living with or affected by the virus.

In an ILO video released Tuesday, actress Sharon Stone tells the story of a woman named Oleysa, who was forced to resign from her job as a cafeteria worker after patrons called her out publicly for being HIV positive. Stone’s message: “End discrimination. People living with HIV need jobs, just like everybody else.”

“Stigma and discrimination against people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS threatens fundamental rights at work, undermining opportunities for people to obtain decent work and sustainable employment,” the ILO says on its site.

U2 frontman Bono—an early activist in fighting the spread of the disease—believes this year’s World AIDS Day is more critical than ever. “We can feel people going, ‘Oh yeah, that AIDS thing is done now,’ and we’re like, ‘No! It’s not!,” Bono said in an interview with the Associated Press.

As a result, Bono redoubled his public awareness efforts on the disease, with events on two coasts on World AIDS Day.

Bono! Image copyright World Economic Forum (www.weforum.org) swiss-image.ch/Photo by Remy Steinegger

With the 10-year-anniversary of his (RED) organization as a hook, the singer launched an effort to raffle off “once-in-a-lifetime experiences.” The experiences include meeting George Clooney and “getting complimented by him for 45 seconds,” a walk on the red carpet with Meryl Streep, and a ride through Central Park with Bono, who was famously injured during a bike accident in the park last year. Those seeking to qualify for the raffle must donate at least $10, via Omaze.com/RED, to the fight against AIDS.

To boost Bono’s efforts, Jimmy Kimmel agreed to dedicate his December 1 late-night show to the (RED) campaign, with Olivia Wilde joining him in Los Angeles as cohost of a (SHOPATHON), featuring Tom Brady and Shaquille O’Neal. (Brady is offering one donor a private lesson on how to pass a football, while O’Neal has agreed to take a photo with a winner for their upcoming holiday card.)

In New York, Bono organized a Carnegie Hall musical event and rally with Vice President Joe Biden, the Edge, Trevor Noah, Miley Cyrus, and others to “celebrate the possible.”

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation agreed to match every dollar raised by (RED)—up to $20 million. And Scarlett Johansson recorded a “holiday jingle” that also features Barry Manilow and Kimmel to promote the organization’s star-studded shopathon.

Among the “one-in-a-lifetime experiences” up for grabs on Omaze.com: Get “glammed up” with Kim Kardashian; have your portrait painted by James Franco; attend a University of Texas at Austin football game with alum Matthew McConaughey; join R&B singer The Weeknd backstage at his sold-out Miami show; spend a day of “aromatherapy and legal relaxation” with Snoop Dogg at his “Merry Jane Wellness Retreat” in Colorado; hang out with Matt Damon in the green room at Jimmy Kimmel Live; and announce the No. 1 song with Ryan Seacrest on his American Top 40 radio show.

Snoop Dogg. Image by Bollywood Hungama (formerly known as IndiaFM) via Wikimedia Commons

“Even though red is the color of emergency, there’s a sort of optimism about the whole campaign and a kind of defiant humor,” Bono told AP. “We have always had that, but the (SHOPATHON) will really take it to another new level.”

Articles
Screenshot via Sweden.se/Twitter (left) Wikimedia Commons (right)

Greta Thunberg has been dubbed the "Joan of Arc of climate change" for good reason. The 16-year-old activist embodies the courage and conviction of the unlikely underdog heroine, as well as the seemingly innate ability to lead a movement.

Thunberg has dedicated her young life to waking up the world to the climate crisis we face and cutting the crap that gets in the way of fixing it. Her speeches are a unique blend of calm rationality and no-holds-barred bluntness. She speaks truth to power, dispassionately and unflinchingly, and it is glorious.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
Ottawa Humane Society / Flickr

The Trump Administration won't be remembered for being kind to animals.

In 2018, it launched a new effort to reinstate cruel hunting practices in Alaska that had been outlawed under Obama. Hunters will be able to shoot hibernating bear cubs, murder wolf and coyote cubs while in their dens, and use dogs to hunt black bears.

Efforts to end animal cruelty by the USDA have been curtailed as well. In 2016, under the Obama Administration, the USDA issued 4,944 animal welfare citations, in two years the numbers dropped to just 1,716.

Keep Reading Show less
Science

The disappearance of 40-year-old mortgage broker William Earl Moldt remained a mystery for 22 years because the technology used to find him hadn't been developed yet.

Moldt was reported missing on November 8, 1997. He had left a nightclub around 11 p.m. where he had been drinking. He wasn't known as a heavy drinker and witnesses at the bar said he didn't seem intoxicated when he left.

Keep Reading Show less
Communities
via Real Time with Bill Maher / YouTube and The Late Late Show with James Corden / YouTube

A controversial editorial on America's obesity epidemic and healthcare by comedian Bill Maher on his HBO show "Real Time" inspired a thoughtful, and funny, response by James Cordon. It also made for a great debate about healthcare that Americans are avoiding.

At the end of the September 6th episode of "Real Time, " Maher turned to the camera for his usual editorial and discussed how obesity is a huge part of the healthcare debate that no one is having.

"At Next Thursday's debate, one of the candidates has to say, 'The problem with our healthcare system is Americans eat shit and too much of it.' All the candidates will mention their health plans but no one will bring up the key factor: the citizens don't lift a finger to help," Maher said sternly.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
via Gage Skidmore

The common stereotypes about liberals and conservatives are that liberals are bleeding hearts and conservatives are cold-hearted.

It makes sense, conservatives want limited government and to cut social programs that help the more vulnerable members of society. Whereas liberals don't mind paying a few more dollars in taxes to help the unfortunate.

A recent study out of Belgium scientifically supports the notion that people who scored lower on emotional ability tests tend to have right-wing and racist views.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics