An Individual Action, Multiplied by Millions, Creates Global Change
Above is the tag line for Jack Johnsons activism initiative, All At Once. Fans attending one of Jacks 2008 shows are encouraged to join the All At Once community by visiting the non-profit booths located in the Village Green, or by taking on-site fan-oriented environmental actions, such as refilling personal water bottles at free refill stations. In addition to becoming members of the All At Once community, participants are entered into nightly drawings to win a skateboard or two tickets to watch the show from the stage.
HeadCount is an integral part of the All At Once community and we have a Village Green booth at all of Jacks USA shows. This summer I am traveling with a team of HeadCount volunteers, and at each show we recruit ten local volunteers to help us register voters. We are steadily working towards our goal of registering 6,000 of Jacks fans by August 31st; so far weve registered 997!
While I am very proud of this statistic its really just a number it gains real meaning for me when viewed in its context.
Behind that statistic are the 41 volunteers who came out to help us register fans at five June shows. Many were new to HeadCount and for a few, volunteering with us at Jacks show was their introduction to hands-on activism. Our volunteers adjusted their work schedules and braved nervousness, rainy conditions (it rained at three of our five outdoor amphitheater shows), and traffic in order to help us at the shows. Amazingly, a few volunteers didnt even care if they saw the show or not; they just wanted to help. We even had mothers in two different cities who inquired about bringing their daughters along – ages ten and 14 – because they wanted to teach their girls about hands-on activism. The young women received the HeadCount training, donned boldly lettered Register to Vote Here clipboards, and proudly canvassed the crowd alongside their mothers.
That statistic also stands for 997 individual fans who completed voter registration forms. I remember a young member of the U.S. Air Force, newly engaged, who will be voting for the first time on November 4th – after his wedding, but before leaving for his third tour of duty in Iraq. Then there was the 17 year-old with a July birthday, sitting next to his registered father – and the father who wanted to register, sitting next to his son who had registered in school. I also met more than a handful of 17 year olds, who all loudly complained that theyll turn 18 right after Election Day. Well theres always next time; HeadCount will be back!
So yes, we have a great statistic! But I hope our legacy will be much greater than that that 997 of Jacks fans will always smile when casting their ballots, because they will be remembering a certain Jack Johnson show and a HeadCount volunteer, and that our 41 volunteers will proudly remember that they did and always can create global change. As Jack reminds us on the track All At Once on his latest release, Sleep Through the Static, There’s still hope between the dreams.