by Anita Bennet: Will Smith and Helen Mirren are teaming up to fight homelessness…
The two stars have joined “The World’s Big Sleep Out,” which aims to help one million homeless and displaced people across the globe by raising money and awareness.
“Think for a minute about what home means to you,” the Gemini Man actor says in a new video for the campaign. “To me, home means conversation. It’s the place where my family comes together, and that’s the most beautiful part of home. But there are over 100 million people in the world that don’t have a place to call home.”
“We are hoping for 50,000 people to sleep out in the world’s largest display of solidarity and support for homeless and displaced people,” Oscar-winning actress Mirren explains in the video. “Major sleep out events will be happening in Trafalgar Square, in Times Square, and in 50 cities across the world.”
Event organizer Josh Littlejohn adds a message in the video, saying the goal is for participants to “walk in the shoes of people that we would normally walk past.”
Also appearing in the video is Coldplay frontman Chris Martin. According to the event’s website, Smith will be appearing live in Times Square in New York to read a bedtime story to participants, while Mirren will appear live in London’s Trafalgar Square. Musicians are also being lined up to perform “stripped back” acoustic sets at the gatherings.
Here in Los Angeles, the event will take place in Elysian Park. Homelessness is a particularly pressing issue in L.A., where the number of people living on the streets jumped 16% over the past year, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. It’s estimated that there are currently 36,000 people in the city experiencing homelessness.