When I signed on to build ONE.org's midterm election effort in Colorado, called "ONE Vote 2010," I worried the economic and political climate would make it extremely difficult to find members willing to engage their candidates on American efforts to fight global poverty and disease. I had only been in Denver a few days when I received a call from Matt Higginson, who organized in Colorado during ONE's election effort in 2008. Calling from his Las Vegas office Higginson said, "Nick, you've got to meet the Martians." I thought maybe he'd been standing out in the Nevada desert a little too long, until he explained the "Martians" were Megan and Joe Marsh, a brother-sister team passionate about ending poverty.
Joe, a young graphic designer in Denver, joined ONE more than two years ago. He started his work with ONE on our ONE Vote '08 campaign, and now, two years later, he serves as ONE's Denver "Congressional District Leader." Like Joe, Megan is a long-time ONE member and volunteers as our Colorado Springs leader. Megan comes to ONE from a strong faith background, as she works for the Christian poverty advocacy group Compassion International and serves on the board of Bread for the World.
Both Joe and Megan have been instrumental in making ONE Vote Colorado one of the most successful states in terms of action and advocacy for ONE. With the Marshes' support, the Colorado team has signed up more than 600 members in just a few weeks. So I knew when I approached them about this Saturday's AIDS walk in Denver, they'd help ONE Vote build a crowd that would stand out among the walk's 8,000 volunteers.
This weekend, the brother-sister team will walk with a group of ONE Vote volunteers to raise money for life-saving treatment for HIV/AIDS clients of Colorado AIDS Project and many more AIDS service organizations. ONE Vote's participation in the walk will also work to raise awareness around America's leadership in the fight against extreme poverty and preventable disease.
In the weeks following the AIDS walk, the Marshes will bring their districts together to watch The Lazarus Effect. The documentary highlights the success of the Global Fund, a program that has helped nearly four million Africans -- up from 50,000 in 2002 -- receive antiretroviral treatment for HIV/AIDS. The local screenings will educate Coloradans about effective HIV/AIDS programs and encourage them to ask their candidates to continue supporting these life-saving efforts.
As I prepare to join the Marshes, the ONE Vote team and thousands of Coloradans in this weekend's AIDS walk, I can't help but feel a deep sense of pride. I may not be a native Coloradan, but I draw inspiration from this community's determination to lead the fight against extreme poverty. I hope those of you reading this post will walk with us on Saturday, and join ONE's 2 million members to advocate for continued assistance for the world's poorest. As the election season heats up, ONE will be on the ground, ensuring that critical issues like fighting hunger, increasing access to education, saving lives from diseases like AIDS and malaria and empowering women are part of the discussion on the campaign trail. They are too important not to be.
For more information on ONE Vote, or to become a ONE member, please visit www.ONE.org.