It started with a silly little button in a reggae shop in downtown Kyoto. On our first night in port after nearly two weeks at sea, my friends and I wandered into a Rastafarian’s paradise in the middle of Japan. “All People Be Happy” read the tiny button. We all figured they meant to steal Bob Marley’s famous line, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” My friend Brandon purchased the button and displayed it proudly on his backpack.
Over the course of the journey, almost inexplicably, those four words morphed from a ridiculous slogan to a phrase of enormous significance for me. I came to see that these four words perfectly encapsulated my desire for humanity. As I witnessed magnitudes of poverty which few people have even the capacity to imagine, as I stared at the destruction remnants of Hiroshima and in the War Museum in Vietnam, as I sat and listened to the unbelievable tales of sorrow and loss of the Congolese refugees we met in Tanzania, again and again I wished that all people could just live happily.
Eric Tang, co-founder, 2004