While it’s often incredible escapist fun to put on a pair of headphones and drift off into a sonically fueled dreamland where all of one’s cares and daily tribulations melt away on the waves of our favorite music, it is essential that we pause our iPods, MP3 players, CDs, or turntables and educate ourselves on many of the humanitarian projects that many of the musicians who provide our sonic escapism support. We should do this, at the very least, out of respect for the gift of music that those artists bestow upon us. This is what the column The Mainstream Rock and Social Consciousness is about. Here you’ll read about humanitarian projects supported by a myriad of musical artists, and more importantly how to get involved.
Manyang Reath was one of “The Lost Boys of Sudan.” As a refugee of the long standing wars of the Sudanese region of Africa, he faced a future without and education, a home, or enough to eat on a daily basis. Separated from his family at age 3, he bounced around Africa going from one refugee camp to another. Eventually after garnering the attention of Commonwealth Catholic Charities after enduring a unique treatment for a snake bite that included electrocution (it’s a fascinating story and can be read in full here), he came to the United States, attended the University of Richmond and started the Humanity Helping Sudan Project which aims to bring aid, through farming and fishing education, as well as other aid to the “Sudanese Diaspora in the Gambella region of Ethiopia along the Eastern border of Southern Sudan” (see HHSP Project Proposal). The HHSP is his way of giving back to those not as lucky as he was to escape the life of a “lost boy.”
The HHSP has attracted the attention of musical artists as diverse as pop legend Beyonce and rock legend Bono of U2. Both of which have contributed their time and efforts to Manyang’s project. HHSP and Manyang himself were also highlighted by the largest non-profit organizations promoting young people for change: DoSomething.org.
It’s easy for us to simply when “something important comes on to just change the channel” as Bono once said when something important comes on the TV that is disturbing, or that asks for out help. Don’t “change the channel” by clicking away. Check out the links below to the Humanity Helping Sudan Project.