Briefly tell us who you are and where you are from.
My name is Will Wagner and I am a professional musician from Cincinnati, OH.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Artist, activist, alliteration-ist
When is your birthday? What is your favorite color? Favorite sport? Favorite activity?
4/19/92 Red Baseball Watching baseball in all red on my birthday.
If you could do or be anything in the world, what would it be?
Activism or philanthropy on a global level would be ideal. Or be able to fly. Flying would be cool.
What is a dream that you have? What is something that you are passionate about?
A dream of mine is to be a successful enough artist that I can donate my time and money to solving the world’s largest problems, from human rights issues to domestic and international conflicts. Another dream I have is where I’m on stage at Carnegie Hall in nothing but my underwear.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Ideally, with a family, a house, and a life full of art, activism, travel, and long-lasting friendships. And hopefully with Beyonce as my wife, we’ll see.
Tell us your RISE story. What are you RISE-ing from? What are you RISE-ing to?
I got involved with RISE for the simple reason that I wanted to take action. I’ve always been passionate about human rights issues and RISE has served as the vessel for which my passion can be channeled. I’m RISE-ing from inaction, and RISE-ing toward making a difference.
What is one thing you want people reading this to know?
The belief that one person can make a difference becomes less naive and more tangible the more that person gets involved. Real change truly can come from a small, grass roots organization. My friends will be the first to tell you that I’m a good example of what just one person can do, no matter how unqualified, or untrained, or unskilled, or just flat-out unintelli – you get the point.
What would you say to those who think they can’t make a difference in the world?
I’ll give one small story. Our organization started a petition last year through change.org with the goal of getting President Museveni of Uganda to sign a bill into law that would help prevent acid violence by restricting the sale and distribution of acid. We had hopes of getting a few hundred signatures, maybe 1,000 if we were lucky. In just a few weeks, we had accumulated 278,000 signatures (100k of those coming in roughly 24 hours). And less than two months after starting the petition, President Muesveni had agreed to sign the bill into law.
Our organization, which had literally a handful of board members, helped pass legislation halfway across the world. It was easy, it was quick, and most importantly, it made a difference.
What does RISE mean to you?
RISE is my opportunity to be a part of something bigger than me. It’s my attempt to walk the walk, to take action on what I stand for.