Hands Across America

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Hands Across America
Hands Across America - Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin Parkway/Philadelphia Art Museum - May 25, 1986
Location(s)across the United States
Years active1986
Founded byKen Kragen
Date(s)May 25, 1986
WebsiteHands Across America
 
Jump to: navigation, search
Hands Across America
Hands Across America - Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin Parkway/Philadelphia Art Museum - May 25, 1986
Location(s)across the United States
Years active1986
Founded byKen Kragen
Date(s)May 25, 1986
WebsiteHands Across America

Hands Across America was a benefit event and publicity campaign staged on Sunday, May 25, 1986 in which approximately 6.5 million people held hands in a human chain for fifteen minutes along a path across the continental United States. Many participants donated ten dollars to reserve their place in line; the proceeds were donated to local charities to fight hunger and homelessness and help those in poverty.

"On the afternoon of Sunday, May 25, 1986, almost seven million people joined hands to form a line that stretched 4,152 miles (6,682 km) – from New York City's Battery Park to the RMS Queen Mary pier in Long Beach, California. This nationwide event, called Hands Across America, was intended to raise money to fight hunger and homelessness."[this quote needs a citation]

In order to allow the maximum number of people to participate, the path linked major cities and meandered back and forth within the cities. There were undoubtedly many breaks in the chain, but enough people participated to form an unbroken chain across the 48 contiguous states if the participants had been spread evenly along the route standing four feet (1.2 m) apart.

Hands Across America raised $34 million.

Cities[edit]

Cities along the route included the following:

The event was conceived and organized by Ken Kragen. Event implementation was through USA for Africa under the direction of Marty Rogol, the founding Executive Director. A theme song, titled "Hands Across America," was played simultaneously on hundreds of radio stations at 3:00 p.m. Eastern time (noon Pacific time). The song was written by Marc Blatte and John Carney (the Spanish version was written by the composer Marcia Bell), and featured lead vocals by session singers Joe Cerisano and Sandy Farina, and the band Toto. The song peaked at #65 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1986.

Hands Across America was a project of USA for Africa. USA for Africa produced "We Are The World" and the combined revenues raised by both events raised almost $100 million to fight famine in Africa and hunger and homelessness in the United States.

The date and time chosen for the event inadvertently conflicted with another charity fundraiser, Sport Aid, which was organized by USA for Africa on the same day. Since Hands Across America was much better publicized in the United States, only 4000 runners participated in New York City for Sport Aid.

Protests[edit]

Sen. Edward Kennedy and Rep. Edward Markey led an official protest over every New England state being excluded from Hands Across America. Political leaders in the South additionally weighed in against the route that was chosen to span the continental United States. Various protests broke out in the Upper Midwest, notably Minneapolis and Milwaukee, as well as northwestern cities such as Portland and Seattle. In Hawaii actor Tom Selleck and Sen. Daniel Inouye led a counter Hands Across Hawaii program that was held to remind mainlanders that "Hawaiians are Americans, Too!"

In popular culture[edit]

Further reading[edit]

References[edit]