The Journey of Hope to Take Care of Our Planet and Our Neighbors 

The Intl. WeLoveU Foundation held a relay of worldwide walkathons as part of the “Save the World” Movement to save the earth and our global neighbors from climate change and various disasters. The volunteers in the Eastern U.S. Branch walked the last leg of the walkathons this year.

On July 28, 2019, the 23rd New Life Family Walkathon was held at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey. This aimed to support Mozambique who was suffering from the aftermath of two cyclones that resulted in 640 deaths and 2.2 million victims in the beginning of the year. On the day of the event, a majority of the participants carpooled to the park to reduce carbon emissions and improve the air quality, adding meaning to the “Save the World” Movement. Around 2,500 people including VIPs from various fields such as Mozambique’s Ambassador to the United States H.E. Carlos Dos Santos, Congressman Donald Payne, Jr. from New Jersey’s 10th District, Actor and Climate Reality Project Leader Tim Guinee, United Nations DGC Public Information Officer Felipe Queipo, and French American Chamber of Commerce Liaison Lindsey Prowse participated in the walkathon.

At 9 a.m., the WeLoveU volunteers dedicated singing and dancing performances to comfort the victims in Mozambique and to express their love to the global villagers. After the WeLoveU theme song performance, Daniel Lee, president of Intl. WeLoveU Foundation Eastern U.S. Branch delivered the opening address. He mentioned a saying from Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah, “We are one family living in a big house called ‘Earth.’” He added, “Let’s encourage and serve one another with the heart of a mother as the members of the global village.” Furthermore, he expressed hope the walkathon would instill a sense of responsibility into the participants so they might take good care of their neighbors and our planet.

H.E. Ambassador Carlos Dos Santos said in his address, “The Mozambican government is doing its best to build hospitals, schools, houses, bridges, and roads in cooperation with the international community, but it still needs more help,” and expressed gratitude to Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah for having given a helping hand.

Afterward, each special guest addressed the crowd. Congressman Donald Payne Jr. said, “Today, we’ve gathered to help those who are in difficulties due to cyclones in Mozambique. Recovery efforts for Mozambique will begin with our walking,” and promised to continue to help Mozambique.

In addition, Actor and Climate Reality Project Leader Tim Guinee and the UN DGC Public Information Officer Felipe Queipo pointed out the issues of climate change that the world is faced with, and urged the participants to take immediate actions to resolve them. The participants strongly agreed with the addresses, and pledged to make every effort to contribute to accomplishing the SDGs with steady interest in climate change issues.

The WeLoveU Foundation then presented a donation worth USD 50,000, which was raised through the walkathon for the restoration work for Mozambique.

In addition to the walkathon, activity booths were arranged for the participants to enjoy. These included interactive and fun games, which made it easy for everyone to learn about the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. One activity involved spinning a wheel that landed on an SDG, and participants pledged on the signature board how to fulfill that goal for a sustainable future. Another way they learned about the SDGs was through the “Start Doing Good” cartoon comic that drew people’s attention. There was also a photo booth with the cartoon characters and panel displays about WeLoveU’s worldwide blood drives, which were also taking place during the summer months.

At about noon, every participant stood at the starting line under the blue sky. As the participants at the very front line cut the ribbon, shouting, “One, two, three, start!” they all began to walk, hearing the marching band play along the Hudson River with their families and friends, enjoying the magnificent scene of the New York City skyline. Along the 5-km long walking course, cheer teams encouraged walkers, and the walkers regained strength by refilling their reusable water bottles at the water stations. The WeLoveU Foundation provided reusable water bottles to participants in the beginning of the event.

H.E. Ambassador Carlos Dos Santos said, “I felt a great deal of solidarity from the speeches today and the responses from the participants. The donations will fly a long distance to help those who lost all they have. They will get their life back on track and rebuild their houses and workplaces. Also, they will be provided with clean water, medicine and medical supplies.” He expressed his gratitude to WeLoveU, saying he greatly supports the Foundation’s activities in his country.

The walkathon relay’s three-month journey, which started in May in Korea, then in the Philippines and Peru, concluded in the U.S. Approximately 13,000 people participated in the walkathons to deliver hope and love to the global villagers suffering hardships. The International WeLoveU Foundation will continue to make every effort to pave the path to a sustainable future for the planet and mankind.