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Kay Warren is an evangelical leader, author, AIDS activist, and co-founder of Saddleback Church in Southern California. Along with her husband, Rick, Warren founded Saddleback in 1980 with just a[…]

Kay Warren, on how she found the AIDS campaign.

Question: What inspires your AIDS work?

Warren: About five years ago, I read a magazine article that talked about AIDS in Africa. And at that moment in time, I didn’t care anything about AIDS anywhere, let alone in Africa. I didn’t realize it was a problem in the United States. I was just ignorant and misinformed. But for some reason on that one day, I picked up this magazine article and it . . . it rocked my world. It’s as though I had a blindfold on and, you know, like cotton stuffed in my ears, and they were both just gone. The blindfold was gone, the cotton was out of my ears, and I saw for the first time that this . . . that the greatest humanitarian crisis of all times was occurring right under my nose and I hadn’t paid any attention. And I think what was so shocking to me that day when I read that article was that . . . That article talked about, you know, something like 35 million . . . there were 33 million people infected with HIV. And I sat there in my living room and I go, “Do I know anybody who’s HIV positive?” And the answer was no. And it said that there were 12 million children orphaned in Africa due to AIDS. And I thought, “Can I name one orphan?” And I thought, and I couldn’t. And I . . . It was so horrifying I just threw the magazine down. It was like, “How can there be something this big and I not know it – and I not know a single person?” That changed everything for me. It started me on this journey of . . . of trying to figure out how I could be a part of that.

Recorded on: 12/11/07