Light a Candle

My friend Edisa sent the Light a Candle campaign to me. It arrived while I was shopping online thinking to myself that the holidaze was not just in Manhattan but throughout cyberspace.

Light a Candle is a Bristol-Myers Squibb project. They donate a dollar to the National AIDS Fund every time someone moves the match to the candle and lights it on their interactive website.

It only a second to raise a dollar, a moment to read stories about how HIV has affected individuals, and a lifetime to reflect on the value of human life in the 21st century.

A few days later I read Peter Singer's What Should a Billionaire Give—and What Should You? in the New York Times Magazine. Singer believes that affluent Americans, Europeans, and others have the capacity and responsibility to contribute more. We can solve world poverty within our lifetime.

I also discovered Bike Works, a Seattle-based organization that teaches people to fix bicycles. They have an earn-a-bike program where youth get a bike after volunteering 24 hours fixing bikes to send to Ghana.

I find myself in an America connected to the world through helping rather than shopping.

This holiday season I light a candle and think of my own stories, hopes, and dreams as they have been affected by AIDS, poverty, and the thinkers and doers who are making the 21st century an era of peace.