ONE, the global anti-poverty group, has announced the launch of “It starts with me,” a YouTube video series designed to commemorate World AIDS Day and inspire global action in the fight against AIDS.
“It starts with me,” which can be viewed on ONE’s YouTube channel, features an initial lineup of video messages and personal stories from a broad range of contributors such as activist Cleve Jones, actors Colin Farrell, Zoe Saldana, and Kellan Lutz, blogger Perez Hilton, model Anne V, ONE members and others who are committed to the fight against AIDS.
Leading up to World AIDS Day, which is commemorated on December 1, the “It starts with me” series will continue to be populated with videos from people across the globe, all sharing a personal story – a moment that inspired them to join the fight against AIDS. Viewers will have the opportunity to sign ONE’s petition to protect life-saving programs for the treatment and prevention of AIDS, create their own YouTube video, and share what they’ve seen with their friends and family across their social networks using the hashtag #startswithme.
Cleve Jones, a longtime AIDS and LGBT rights activist and founder of The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt and San Francisco AIDS Foundation, worked closely with ONE to conceive the video series and guide the campaign.
“I remember back in 1981 when I read the first stories in the newspapers about the new disease that was attacking gay men,” said Jones in his video message, where he talks about meeting Simon Guzman, one of the first people in America diagnosed with AIDS, and the first person Jones knew who died of the disease. “By 1985, almost everyone I knew was dead, or dying, or staying home caring for someone who was dying. But we all fought back. And all these years later, I’m still fighting back, and I’m going to keep fighting until it’s over.”
In his video message, Colin Farrell says of AIDS: “It’s not an African disease; it’s not an American disease. It’s not a disease that is of any country, any region or any continent … or any sexuality, gay, straight …. It’s just a human disease that has taken so much life, and it continues to do so. It doesn’t have to be that way. As one world, let’s end this.”
In conjunction with the video series, ONE is launching a new accountability report that monitors progress made towards the “the beginning of the end of AIDS.” Specifically, the report analyzes progress made on three key targets—the virtual elimination of mother-to-child transmission, 15 million people on treatment, and the reduction of new adolescent/adult HIV infections—and assesses the political, programmatic, and financial contributions made by a variety of stakeholders. In addition to the launch of the “It Starts With Me” video campaign and the report, ONE also included in elements of (RED)'s World AIDS Day campaign, DANCE (RED), SAVE LIVES. The campaign includes an exclusive compilation album from Tiesto, and a global livestream – powered by YouTube – from the Stereosonic Festival in Melbourne over the World AIDS Day weekend.