THURMONT – An organization seeking to draw attention to food security and poverty painted tweets Wednesday on Md. 77 near Thurmont in advance of the G-8 summit at Camp David.
One Campaign is an organization of 3 million members dedicated to eradicating poverty through advocacy. The organization received a permit from the Maryland State Highway Administration to spray-paint tweets on the road from 30 countries and all 50 states, said Laurie Moskowitz, senior director of U.S. campaigns for the organization.
Several One Campaign volunteers used the “One Street Tweeter,” a trailer-mounted robot that works like a giant ink-jet printer by pneumatically spraying washable, nontoxic paint onto the road.
“This is the first time we’ve used the technology in the U.S. in a major way,” Moskowitz said. “We thought it was a unique way to get the message out — right on the road to Camp David.”
Thrive Campaign, a subsidiary of One Campaign, fosters sustainable agriculture and works to lift 15 million people and 15 million children out of poverty and hunger, Moskowitz said.
“As the G-8 convenes, we wanted to bring messages from around the world to make sustainable agriculture and food security a focus,” Moskowitz said. “The G-8 will address it, but we want them to go bold and big with programs to help feed people.
“Plans in countries do that; we want them to help these people reach their goals.”
Moskowitz said One Campaign received more than 5,000 tweets from around the world, including from U.S. federal and state officials. The goal was to spray-paint 500 tweets on Md. 77.
The tweets were moderated to ensure nothing inappropriate was spray-painted on the thoroughfare, then loaded onto a computer file, Moskowitz said.
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s tweet read: “Together, let’s end hunger.”
Tweets from Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-8th, Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-5th, and Roger Thurow, a former Wall Street Journal reporter who advocates to fight world hunger, were also applied, Moskowitz said.
“We try to do positive, aspirational encouragement, which is important for people to know how many voices are out there on this,” Moskowitz said.
One Campaign went through the formal permitting process, Moskowitz said. “We’ll clean up afterward.”
Thurmont Police Chief Greg Eyler kept a watchful eye on One Campaign’s efforts Wednesday.
“I don’t have any problems with it,” Eyler said. “The only concern I have is people driving might take their eyes off the road to read it. Everybody just be careful.”
Eyler said he had not seen the technology before.
“It is cool,” Eyler said. “People in this town won’t be bothered with it. Some will look at it and say ‘good idea,’ others will say ‘bad idea.'”
Thurmont is ready for the G-8, Eyler said.
“We’re finalizing a few things as far as manpower, but we’re ready,” the police chief said.
Eyler got high marks from Campaign One organizers.
“The chief has been very accommodating and helpful to us,” Campaign One organizer Redmond Walsh said.
Eyler was not a police officer in 1978 when President Jimmy Carter brought Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to Camp David for a peace accord.
“But I remember it was a big deal. We all got through it,” Eyler said. “A lot of people enjoyed it, and it went off without a hitch. It was good for Thurmont.”
Eyler expects the G-8 summit to go smoothly as well, he said.
The summit will be Eyler’s biggest event as a police officer, “but I like events like this,” he said.
“Everything will be peaceful. We will not violate anybody’s First Amendment rights,” the police chief said. “We’re ready for the weekend.”