Five Good Answers with Author and Activist Shayne Moore
Shayne Moore is an author, blogger, speaker, mother of three, and outspoken advocate in the fight against extreme poverty and Global AIDS. She is one of the original members of ONE, The Campaign to Make Poverty History (www.one.org), sits on the executive board of directors for Upendo Village, an HIV/AIDS clinic in Kenya (www.upendovillage.org) and Growers First (www.GrowersFirst.org). Shayne has written for ONE’s blog, Christianity Today’s Gifted for Leadership, FullFill, a digital magazine, and for her personal blog. She is also a member of Redbud Writers Guild.
Shayne is an ordinary, full-time “soccer mom” who joined the ONE Campaign at its inception and who represents the heart of the movement. She is an original member of DGAAN, Dupage Glocal AIDS Action Network, an advocacy group in her hometown. She was chosen to attend the G8 Summit as a delegate to both Gleneagles, Scotland in 2005, and to St. Petersburg, Russia in 2006, to urge World Leaders to keep their promises to Africa and fully fund AIDS initiatives. In 2007, Shayne was featured in a commercial with Julia Roberts, George Clooney and Matt Damon. She has been interviewed by CNN, NBC, and was quoted and pictured in The Wall Street Journal (2006). Shayne traveled to Capitol Hill for a photo shoot which was featured in the Africa issue of Vanity Fair (July 2007) with ONE members such as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Pastor Rick Warren, Matt Damon, and NAACP chairman Julian Bond. She has traveled to Honduras and to Africa twice to see first-hand the devastating effects of AIDS and extreme poverty on communities. (For more information about Shayne go to: www.shaynemoore.com)
Global Soccer Mom is Shayne Moore’s story: a full-time mom of three whose eyes are opened to the world’s extreme poverty and the scourge of preventable diseases. I think you will find Shayne’s narrative inspiring, touching and transparent. She shares her profound realization that, even as a suburban soccer mom, she can make a dramatic impact in the world – and that God has placed her exactly where He wants her to be. She blazes the trail for everyday moms, teaching them to see beyond their piles of laundry and through their minivan carpool windshields to understand that they can make a global impact by making one phone call or writing one letter at a time. She assures her readers that it doesn’t take travelling the world and attending conferences with political leaders and rock stars to make a difference; speaking for those who have no voice can influence real and lasting change. Shayne’s “one” voice and inspiring story will resonate in the hearts of readers and make them eager to join her fight. My wife and I both read Global Soccer Mom and found Shayne’s message moving…you will too (click on the book cover to order). I recently had the opportunity to talk with Shayne about her new book and her fight against poverty. I think you will enjoy “Five Good Answers” with Shayne Moore:
Matt: How do you feel your involvement as a global activist has and will continue to impact your three children?
Shayne: I love being a full-time mother and I am a strong believer in models and guides when it comes to influencing those around us, particularly our children. Not everyone will be called or have the opportunity to travel to an impoverished part of the world, but one of my favorite stories comes from a recent trip to Zambia with World Vision and World Bicycle Relief.
I had been away from home about a week and the entire time I was gone I had been uploading pictures of my travels to Facebook. My fourth grade daughter, Greta, had been saving the pictures to the computer. One of the pictures was of a small girl at a Zambian elementary school. She was dressed in traditional Zambian clothes and she was lovely. I was at the school to participate in a bicycle distribution to students provided by World Bicycle Relief. A simple bike can change a family’s life. The entire school was being given bicycles.
While I was still gone in Africa, Greta printed out these pictures and made a presentation for her class about the difference we can make in the world. When I returned home I got to see her presentation. The last page was the picture of this small Zambian girl and the caption Greta had written under her was, “It doesn’t matter how small you are. We can all make a difference.”
I don’t think I’ve ever been that directive or said those exact words to Greta, but by just watching my life she got the message loud and clear.
Matt: What single life experience, outside of hearing Bono at Wheaton, would you say created the most significant paradigm shift in you’re faith journey?
Shayne: In 2005 I traveled to Honduras on a fact-finding trip to learn about the HIV/AIDS situation in that country. Upon landing in the capital city, we immediately got in cars and drove the slums outside the city limits. I live in a comfortable suburb. This was the first time I had been confronted with the reality of extreme poverty face to face.
This was an emotional and difficult time for me. It was very hard to wrap my head and heart around the disparities in our world. My reeled with questions like is God here in these slums? The only reason I don’t live in these conditions is because of where I happened to be born, how is this fair? I am raising my children healthy and can fill my fridge because I happen to live in North America?
We visited a family’s home in the slum that day. The mother was my age and was HIV positive. She was very sick and most likely passed away months after we left. I was able to visit with her and hear her story. At one point she said to me, “You were sent here. You were sent here to hear our problems and take them to people who can help.”
These words moved me then and continue to echo in my heart. I have taken them very seriously.
Matt: How do you avoid being overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of the world’s problems?
Shayne: I believe we cannot be paralyzed by the enormity of the world’s problems. I am a full-time, everyday soccer mom. I spend my time driving carpool, grocery shopping, making dinner and supervising homework. I am not a policy expert in international global issues, I don’t work for an organization specializing in this work and I can’t join the Peace Corp. But does that mean the boundaries of my life limit my engagement and influence? I do not believe so.
I believe real change happens right where we are — in our kitchens, our living rooms, and with our own group of friends. What breaks your heart? Start there. Our small actions may seem like they are making a small dent with issues of global need but all our small actions add up.
For instance, I joined ONE. www.one.org. ONE is an advocacy group that is non-partisan and non-denominational. They don’t want your money they want your voice. In 2002, in Africa only about 50,000 people were on life-saving medication for HIV/AIDS. Today, because of my work with ONE and the other 2.5 million members worldwide there are over 4 million people on life-saving medication and 45 million more African children are in school.
I’m only one woman who lives in one town, goes to one church, and has one voice. But I believe all our ones add up.
Matt: Do you ever feel hopeless about the needs of the Global community?
Shayne: It breaks my mother’s heart to see families struggling with preventable disease and extreme poverty. Over 2 billion people live on less than 1.25 dollar a day. When you see first-hand what this looks like for real people in a real place it can make you feel hopeless. I have friend who says, “As women, we must get thick skin but keep our tender hearts.”
This is what keeps me from feeling hopeless and keeping a fighter’s stance. Change is possible. It will be difficult and messy. We won’t do everything right, but we must continue to work together for change. Women must enter the conversation and become global thinkers and encourage their families and friends to be global thinkers.
Matt: What is in the “DNA” of conservative Christians (the influence of their faith communities, their Biblical interpretation, or simply lack of awareness) that makes them averse to serving as advocates for the poor and suffering across the globe?
Shayne: I’m not sure if I am qualified to diagnose the DNA in our Christian communities when it comes to how we engage issues of global need. Most of us come from a strong tradition of missions as conversion and sharing the Gospel. Which I believe is good. I also believe as Christians we need to be serving the poor in our world in physical, tangible ways and we must be a voice for the voiceless.
My work with ONE, World Vision, World Bicycle Relief and Growers First are all ways I have chosen to be a voice for the voiceless — for other mothers and families just like my own.
I feel strongly women can engage the “DNA,” or change it, in our faith communities is to use our voices and pipe up about what really breaks our hearts. I am sure that given the choice, women care more that a 10 year old girl is being held in a cage in Cambodia and used as a sex slave than about the style of music, what to do with homosexuals, and if women should be in positions of leadership. I would love to see a grassroots movement of everyday women in the pews raising their collective voices about issues of global disease, gender inequality and extreme poverty.
If youwant tobecome involvedin thefight againstpoverty and preventable disease across the world,visitone of the following links below (or click on the “Compassionin Action”link at the top of the page).
Come back next week for an engagingFive Good Answers with author, pastor, and radio host, Doug Pagitt.