August 9, 2017
Written by Liz Schrayer
This article originally appeared on Time.
If you were a teenager in the ‘80s, you remember “We Are the World” — a song that became the fastest-selling American pop single in history. It’s hard to forget the iconic images of Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, Tina Turner, Bob Dylan, Cyndi Lauper and Bruce Springsteen, among others, wearing their big headphones and singing together to raise awareness about a hunger crisis in Africa that would claim the lives of roughly one million people that decade.
I still remember sitting with my friends — like so many other teenagers — moving the needle on our record players over and over again, belting out the words as we became aware of a place we had never seen and a tragedy we had never known. Millions of dollars were raised for famine relief.
Sadly, the reality of today is that there is far too much competing noise for a simple 45 record to break through about an even more widespread famine. A recent poll by the International Rescue Committee found that an astounding 85% of Americans are unaware that 20 million people — more than the populations of New York City, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago and Philadelphia combined — are living on the verge of starvation in just three African countries plus Yemen.