The White House has been home to consistent protests and marches throughout the month of September — including DACA recipients and supporters of the Insane Clown Posse, aka the Juggalos, who marched this past weekend — and the month of October has no plans for slowing down. On Oct. 6, thousands plan to gather around the White House to sing “Africa” by Toto, “the greatest song ever composed,” as the Facebook event describes. The goal is to raise money for clean water access in Sub-Saharan Africa for The Water Project, and at the request of the organizers, attendees are asked tobring glowsticks, your best singing voice, and possibly an instrument.
The Water Project is a non-profit organization with local teams in Sierra Leone, Uganda, and Kenya that create wells, sand dams, and spring protections to schools, medical clinics, and villages. The organization is involved in 200 new water projects this coming year to help improve the sanitation effects on education and food production in these three parts of Africa.
“We have created a fundraising platform on our website for anyone to access. We are trying to make it as easy as possible for people to fundraise money for clean water,” Lisa McAllister, director of marketing at The Water Project, tells Elite Daily.
While the Water Project works on the ground in Africa, the hands and feet of fundraising come from anyone around the world willing to raise money. This specific White Houseevent was unintentionally organized by two students from George Washington University in D.C, Joanna Chou and Jaskeerat Mann.
“We created this event as a joke in the beginning. While Jas and I fully intended to sing Africa by Toto someplace on the National Mall for fun, we did not anticipate the Facebook event to become anything that had meaning beyond an appreciation for the music.” Joanna Chou tells Elite Daily. “Once we realized that we had an audience and a platform to create change, we seized the opportunity to start something with a clear message and purpose. We now have begun to organize volunteers for the event, stickers to sell, money management, and future plans for our cause to continue and attract crowds based on the common base that many of us share: love of music and a taste for humor.”
Some organizers and participants took to Twitter and the discussion page on Facebook to raise awareness and excitement for the upcoming event.
While this may be the first time anyone has seen thousands of people singing “Africa” by Toto in unison, it is definitely not the first time that clean water has been protested on the White House lawn. There have already been protests just in 2017 centered around the clean water crisis in Flint, Michigan and the Native American reserves.
In March 2017, thousands of Native Americans groups united in Washington to protest President Donald Trump’s support of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines. The groups feared these pipelines would ruin their tribal lands and contaminate the water. Just before this protest, residents of Flint, Michigan gathered at the U.S. Courthouse and federal building to protest the city’s water crisis.
It wasn’t long after that the Trump administration, along with the Environmental Protection Agency, moved to reverse former President BarackObama’s clean water act from 2015, which allowed the federal government authority to limit pollution in major bodies of water, rivers, streams, and wetlands – and is crucial to protecting clean water for Americans.
Organizers of the event have invited anyone to donate to the $2,000 fundraising goal, but it is not required in order to attend at 8-10 p.m. on Oct. 6. Each donation is directly linked to a specific water project, so participants will be able to stay updated on where their contribution is being used through photos, stories, and maps. Additionally, all who donate $5 get to pick up this sticker at the event.
The novelty and accidental growth of this event makes it light-hearted and different from other planned events or protests in Washington. Participants, which are expected to be in the thousands, according to the Facebook event, share the common thread of humor, love for music, and a passion for clean water access. Hopefully, the nature of this event is inviting to all and just loud enough for our friends in the Oval Office to hear.