Stand up against poverty

01 Oct 2006

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On 15-16 October, UN Millennium Committee invites people from all over the world, to remind the world leaders to keep their promise to eradicate extreme poverty on earth by achieving the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

New Horizons - You, too, can support this symbolic action by standing up and making the following Pledge together with your fellow citizens, colleagues in the workplace, your family and friends… What’s more, even break a Guinness World Record!

Stand Up against Poverty” is an exciting and innovative challenge which attempts to set an official Guinness World Record for
the most number of people ever to STAND UP Against Poverty and for the Millennium Development Goals, in just 24 hours from 10 am on 15th October to 10 am on 16th October, 2006. A total of at least 10,000 people must physically “stand up” from a seated position collectively and simultaneously!

STAND UP is an initiative designed to coincide with global mobilizations around the International Day of Poverty Eradication and the White Band Day of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty on October 17th, 2006. The campaign will raise awareness of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and publicly demonstrate the growing global support for the achievement of these Goals.

There are two ways you can participate in this exciting worldwide challenge: You can either join an existing Millennium Campaign or partner Stand Up Event; or you can arrange your own Event.

For an independent Stand Up action, you can organize your own local community or group to gather in a public space, such as a town or neighborhood square, city hall, marketplace, park, school, university, or your own workplace.

How to “Stand Up” and make your Pledge against poverty?

  • The actual Stand Up moment must be coordinated to take place at a designated time.
  • A celebrity, a high profile figure, or simply your group leader (henceforth referred to as “the announcer”) will ask everyone to sit or kneel down.
  • The announcer will briefly explain the meaning of the Stand Up initiative; then ask the gathered crowd to count down from 10 to 0, at which point everyone will STAND UP together for one minute. (Disabled people can raise their arms or perform another appropriate gesture.)
  • The announcer will read the following PLEDGE on behalf of the participants:

‘Stand Up against Poverty’ Pledge

“We stand here proudly as members of the generation that intends to defeat extreme poverty, the greatest challenge of our times.

We stand up now because we do not wish, years from now, to stand in front of the next generation and say ‘we knew that millions of people were dying unnecessarily every year – and we stood by, doing nothing.”
 
We cannot stay seated when a child born in a poor country today will die 30 years earlier than a child born in a wealthy one. It’s is time to end all this heartbreak.
 
And we stand up because we are asking not for charity but justice – we know, that in our names, world leaders have already made promises to bring this to an end – they are called the Millennium Development Goals.

What is needed is the political will to achieve and exceed these goals – So we, hundreds of thousands of concerned individuals from over 100 countries, are on our feet to say:

To the leaders of the wealthy countries – “be great - fight to keep your promises – debt cancellation, more and better aid, and trade rules that help fight poverty – you know what needs to be done – do it”.

We also stand before the leaders of poorer countries to say – “be great – make it your first responsibility to save the lives of your poorest citizens. We ask you to achieve real transparency and accountability in how money is spent, to tackle inequality, to root out corruption. You know what needs to be done. Do it”.  
 
Every generation has mighty battles to fight against evils such as slavery and apartheid which seem as though they cannot be defeated. But history proves time and again they can, if enough people stand up against injustice.

We wish to set a record today of the number of people standing up to demand action on poverty – but the record we really want to break is the world’s record of breaking promises and just ignoring the poor.

We are six billion Voices.  We want justice now. No more excuses. We will not stand for them...”

How to be counted for the Guinness World Record?

The final but crucial step is to count or estimate as accurately as possible, the number of people taking part in the action. This is very important, as these figures will be added to the total Guinness Record breaking numbers. If possible, the Stand Up moment should be recorded on digital camera, mobile phone or video recorder and the pictures be sent to the Millennium Campaign Office (see: www.millenniumcampaign.org).

The act of Standing Up against the Poverty is in itself a strong symbolic statement. But, for it to have political impact, it is crucial that these efforts are acknowledged by world leaders and governments. Therefore, the event organizers should take the responsibility to register their Stand Up numbers, by completing the Registration Form, and submit them no later than 9 pm (21.00 hours), on 16th October to the mentioned address in the form. 

You can see the current numbers of Guinness World Record initiative and pictures of the act of Standing Against Poverty from www.millenniumcampaign.org web site.