Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Garner, Martin Luther King III and Maria Shriver will also appear during the global virtual event

By Eric Todisco
April 29, 2020 02:20 PM
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Former President George W. Bush is uniting with celebrities and prominent figures from all over the world to lift spirits amid the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

On Friday, Bush, 73, will participate in The Call to Unite, a virtual 24-hour livestream which will feature performances, lessons and conversations for those in need during the global outbreak.

"This is our moment to answer the call," the organization said in an Instagram post promoting the event. "You may be scared, you may be struggling, but you are not alone."

The event begins on Friday at 8 p.m. ET and will be livestreamed at unite.us and on all major social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Like her husband, former First Lady Laura Bush has also offered messages of hope as the virus spreads and people retreat from public to slow infections while treatments are developed. On April 18, Mrs. Bush teamed up with fellow former First Lady Michelle Obama for the Global Citizen's star-studded One World: Together at Home special.

“Michelle and I are thrilled to join you tonight in your homes for this special program,” Mrs. Bush, 73, said at the start of the special, appearing from the breezeway sitting room of her and her husband's Prairie Chapel ranch in Crawford, Texas.

“Over the years, Laura and I have traveled across this country and around the world,” Obama, 56, said, before Mrs. Bush added, “We’ve visited with you at your schools, libraries, diners, places of worship and even at your kitchen tables.”

“And we’ve had the profound privilege of getting to know you and your families,” Obama said. “Your hopes, your struggles and your triumphs.”

Laura Bush, Michelle Obama
Former First Lady Laura Bush (left) and former First Lady Michelle Obama
| Credit: Global Citizen/Twitter

Both women went on thank those on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic, including healthcare professionals, first responders, pharmacists and those delivering food or supplies to people's homes.

“The spirit and courage of the American people is most evident in times of crisis,” Mrs. Bush said. “And during this difficult period of physical separation, we’ve never been closer. Not just in our brave country, but tonight, we stand with the people of the world.”

Laura and George Bush have been social distancing in Texas, while Michelle and Barack Obama have been doing the same at their Washington, D.C., home with daughters Malia and Sasha.

The Call to Unite special begins streaming on Friday at 8 p.m. ET.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.