Samford students swarmed Ben Brown on Tuesday, Oct. 26 to see Hanson host “The Walk” around campus. Along with TOMs shoes, Hanson has spent the last few years touring the country promoting action on behalf of those less fortunate around the world. This year, the band chose Samford as the Birmingham walk site on their “Use Your Sole” tour. After “The Walk,” the band performed a two-song set in Harry’s.
Following the concert, the Crimson had the opportunity to sit down with Hanson and ask them a few questions about what they do. Here’s what they had to say:
Crimson: How did you initially get involved with TOMs?
Taylor Hanson: We just started calling and we had a mutual friend who knew Blake Mycoskie (the founder of TOMs). We’re now good friends with him.
Crimson: What kind of work do you do with them?
Taylor: TOMs is one of the causes that we work with in our “Take the Walk” campaign.
Isaac Hanson: This cause has been a catalyst of inspiration for us.
Zac Hanson: It’s a good example of looking to the future, really. With TOMs, we are providing children with shoes. But we work with four other different causes under our campaign, too. We are working to drill water wells and build schools in Africa. We’re trying to help distribute antiretroviral drugs to people with AIDS and provide cell phones to people who don’t have other means of communication. They use the phones to stay in touch with their doctors.
Isaac: By using the cell phones, they don’t risk jeopardizing the doctor/patient relationships.
Zac: The patients need to have consistent contact with their doctors and this allows that.
Crimson: Why are you so passionate about these causes?
Isaac: For me, at least, it stemmed from personal experience. We had some friends who were donating cell phone technology to help people. It really inspired us. It helped us realize that the capacity to communicate and organize as a generation is greater now than ever before.
Zac: So many of the issues really are relatively small; they’re just compounded into something bigger. The first step is often the hardest. You have to look at each issue as an individual one to help people see that they can do something.
Taylor: Seeing ourselves and our peers in those rough situations brought a kind of catalyst. You meet people who are essentially you, almost, living in extreme poverty. We saw a real pathway to change after that.
Isaac: When you see the potential opportunities for change on a government or other level but it’s not happening, you wonder why. We realized we do have the capacity to fix these things.
Crimson: Tell us a little more about “The Walk.”
Taylor: “The Walk” is the gathering point. People pick one of five causes to walk for. Then we give $1 for each person who registers to walk. Each mile walked goes towards our “walk around the world.”
Zac: It really is around the world, too. And they’re not awareness walks.
Taylor: The walks are starting points to get others involved. It’s a kind of domino effect.
People learn about it and the issues it helps and they tell other people.
Zac: It’s many people doing little things to make big changes.
Isaac: I would never have thought there’d be this many walks. Other people have done so much. People all over the world are leading these things.
Zac: You can see that passion really opens doors.
Taylor: You know, the stats say that you can’t change things. But can’t just isn’t an option when you realize a whole continent is…
Isaac: … a giant graveyard.
Taylor: People are afraid to talk about things like HIV. Christians are afraid to talk about it. It’s a sensitive subject. But Jesus went out to work with the poor and the sick. He befriended and helped them. We’re called to do that. How can we not?