80000 Voices healing the inheritance of scars
Interview with Gina Langton, 2017 Nobel Peace Laureate the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
“Japan learned from the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that the tragedy wrought by nuclear weapons must never be repeated and that humanity and nuclear weapons cannot coexist. “ Daisaku Ikeda
Gina is a peace activist and noted public speaker, and has been a practising Buddhist for over thirty years.
She was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts for her valuable work in putting together 80,000 Voices, a grass roots inclusive but youth-led movement of choirs, singers, drummers and other musicians who will come together through various forms of interaction, like social media and one-to-one dialogue, to be part of a mass participation event celebrating and expressing the desire for peace and the creation of a nuclear weapons free world.
With decades of experience as a music business consultant, Gina Langton has discovered that there are certain aspects of the work involved in performing at a high level that can impact our society “from the darkest depths, there is always hope”.
Passionate about using the Arts as a way of engaging society in matters that are important, Gina is a humanitarian and peace activist. With a vast experience of running cutting edge grassroots multimedia themed shows working with well-known artists, often mixing social commentary and music, and with a background in performing, music publishing and production, she develop her vision 80,000 Voices in to a global organisation. Evolving from her campaign work with ICAN Gina founded 80,000 Voices which, as a partner organisation was a recipient of Nobel Peace Prize in 2017.
What inspired you to create your organisation, 80,000 Voices?
I had often asked myself. “Why are we not doing something about nuclear weapons, especially when I hear the news about North Korea building a nuclear arsenal and the UK deciding to renew Trident? Why are we choosing to stay in denial, preferring to sweep this issue under the carpet and keep our fingers crossed that nothing dreadful happens? Surely we’re evolved enough to get rid of them. On some level, we all know they’re not safe, and I’m sure we’d all love to get rid of them (before they get rid of us). Why aren’t our politicians doing something?”
Nuclear weapons are an absolutely appalling and unnecessary evil that does not keep us safe. That no one in their right mind should allow them to exist. We are all on the brink of global destruction. We have to do something that breaks through the stranglehold of mainstream media and peoples powerlessness. I’m the originator and vision holder of 80,000 Voices, although in the whole scheme of things, maybe I should say that the vision came to me, or found its way to me in late 2009. I saw an event with 80,000 people coming together in a large stadium (we are now planning to produce three shows of 80,000 people in Los Angeles, Hiroshima and London in 2020). It was a happening that was more than just people getting together to sing. They had a very important message to pass on to the rest of the world. Because this vision was so big I wrestled with it for a few years, until one day I realised all I had to do was convince the people who could produce such big events then go about trying to find these people and convince them to come on board. Achieving this became much easier once I was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017 for the work I did with Campaigners from ICAN (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons) at United Nations in New York and Geneva.
What challenges are you solving?
The ultimate challenge is to bring awareness to the world that civil society can help ban and get rid of nuclear weapons, and we must do it soon. I choose to bring awareness to large groups of people by using music and by creating an environment where many thousands of people can gather together to celebrate that we do have a ban treaty which has already been ratified by 21 countries and will make nuclear weapons illegal by international law.
As a campaigner and event producer I have come up with a plan, it's a mountain of an idea and I need your help to climb it. I’m going to fill stadiums with thousands of people, in three different parts of the world, throw in some famous artists for good measure, and get you singing and dancing, so that we can create a surge of positivity and educate ourselves (well our politicians aren’t doing that let’s face it!) about how awful these bombs are and the bullying egotistical small minded mentality that goes with them
Your support at this time is so important because you are the ones who are taking the risk to help me to make these events happen. And because of that, I'm going to personally make sure that whatever amount you contribute is redeemable against your tickets.
80000Voices Project 2020
This initiative will lay the framework necessary to launch a collaborative global music and arts festival events production company. As a partner of the 2017 Nobel Peace Laureate the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), 80000 Voices is seeking to raise £32,500 in seed funding for the initial roadmap production period. This project has been several years in the making and we are ready to bring this to the world's attention and we can't do it without not just your funds but your support and belief in the long-term vision of this project.
What are your plans for 80,000 Voices?
In the summer of 2020 80,000 Voices will host a weekend of events in Hiroshima, London and Los Angeles to demonstrate the power of the arts in tackling global threats. These events will raise awareness and funding for the International Campaign To Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) and celebrate our success; specifically our contribution to the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons for which we were recognised with the Nobel Peace Prize in December 2017. I have written several blogs on the music industry and how musicians can run their businesses better. I have yet to write my book!
What are the challenges to make the public aware of your work?
Raising my profile and being taken seriously is a challenge. Raising the working capital I need is the biggest obstacle right now. We have a great marketing plan once we have the budget and plans in place to work with PR agency and creative agencies. We have milestones to achieve and we are running out of time!
Where do you turn for inspiration and why?
I have a strong Buddhist practise and I get consistent support from my mentor of 30 years Daisaku Ikeda. I read and listen to the wisdom in peoples’ words, and I support others – they are always a great inspiration to me!
Let’s make it happen!
Join the 80000Voices Project 2020