If Martin Sheen sounds like the natural voice of USD’s new “Changemaker” video, it might be because he is so familiar with the material.
“’Some people see things as they are and ask why,’” he reads off the script. “’We see a better world and ask why not.’ Of course you know where this quote comes from?” he asks.
Sheen was not only able to answer his own question, identifying the lines as stemming from a George Bernard Shaw poem, but also put it in a more contemporary context. Robert F. Kennedy had often used a version of the sentiment in his speeches.
“Oct. 7, 1964,” Sheen says as if that date were yesterday. “I was sitting on the stage at Madison Square Garden not three feet from Robert Kennedy when I first heard him use that line. Powerful moment. I’ll never forget it.”
The connection between the spot and the renowned actor may run deeper than the latter’s familiarity with the poetry of George Bernard Shaw or the speeches of Robert Kennedy. Sheen, who first visited USD in 2007 to receive the USD Peace Medal from the Kroc School of Peace Studies for his efforts in support of human rights, has long been something of a Changemaker himself. From his early support of Cesar Chavez’s farm labor movement to more recent efforts to provide relief to genocide victims in Darfur, Sheen has a history of using his celebrity to advance causes close to his heart.
Among those causes is the work of Monsignor Michael Dolan, pastor of the Sacred Heart Church in Camden, N.J. Sheen donated the modest honorarium for his involvement with the latest USD television spot to support Father Dolan’s work in one of the poorest communities in the United States.
One way to be a Changemaker, it turns out, is to help another.
– Tim McKernan
Photos by Tim Mantoani