If you find yourself on a train in the northeastern United States sometime soon, check the seat pocket in front of you for the latest edition of Amtrak’s Arrive magazine. Enough Co-founder John Prendergast is featured in the magazine’s Trendsetters column. The piece describes how Prendergast had set out on a career working with inner city youth when a late-night news segment caught his attention. Prendergast describes this unexpected inspiration to learn about Africa’s war zones for Arrive:
“I had my whole career track mapped out and I was really excited. And, one night, I just happened to see footage very late at night. I had a sprained ankle from playing basketball. I was sitting up in my chair and couldn’t move. I didn’t have a remote control, so I would watch just whatever came on TV. And these images started flashing about Ethiopia. (…) I saw these pictures and was utterly devastated, broken by what I saw. I just didn’t know that human suffering existed on that scale. I felt very compelled to just go and understand.”
Prendergast also discusses something he quickly learned when he started working in the Horn of Africa and then traveled more widely on the continent: While war and famine are the dominant stories covered by the media, there are many hopeful stories that need to be told. And with regards to the conflicts that persist on the continent, grassroots advocacy has an important role to play in compelling U.S. policy makers to prioritize helping find solutions. “Not everybody walking down the street is going to care,” Prendergast said to Arrive. “But if one out of every 500 people cares enough to write a letter to their member of Congress or the president, that’s going to get people’s attention.”
Click to read Arrive‘s Trendsetter column.