We are the old

© Columbia Records

© Columbia Records

There comes a time when we heed a certain call…

For many of us who were young on March 7, 1985, that call is now to the doctor, or the restroom, or the pharmacist. You get my point.

In 1985, I was living and working in Richmond. It was the one year I lived here before we moved here permanently in 1994. I was working on a statewide campaign for Attorney General. In spite of the fact that we had the far superior candidate, we lost. Badly. He dropped out of public life and went back to a successful law practice. Of the candidates I’ve worked for, in spite of the fact that I’ve stepped back from politics, he’s one of a handful that I’d drop everything to work for again. Trust me when I tell you that’s a very, very small list.

The other significance of March 7, 1985? That’s the date of the international release of We Are the World, by USA for Africa.

The song was the idea of Harry Belafonte as a response to the famine in Africa following the UK version of Band Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas? The album sold more than 20 million copies with the single selling at least 10 million copies.

It’s a star-studded performance where music celebrities from all types of music (wait, were there any Gospel singers?), gathered in a studio to record.

Bette Midler later joked “We are the rich. We are the famous…”

Still, it was a good gesture and it wasn’t asking the government to foot the bill. Oh sure, that happened elsewhere and by many of the same people. But since the release We Are the World has raised over $63 million for humanitarian causes. [Wikipedia]

A remake of the song was done in 2010 as a response to the devastating earthquake in Haiti.

We Are the World was a feel good song. It made us feel like we were doing something. I bought two copies of the single to do my extra part. Work with me. I was a poor campaign consultant.

But, looking back, it’s a reminder that while we’ll never eliminate the world’s hunger, the world’s problems, we can make a difference.

Somebody needs to do something. Hey! I am somebody.

So are you.


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