I have the right of education,” Malala said in a CNN interview last year. “I have the right to play. I have the right to sing. I have the right to talk. I have the right to go to market. I have the right to speak up.

Malala Yousafzai, 14 years old, has recently survived an assassination attack.  Read her story and process of recovery here.  She’s also been awarded Pakistan’s first peace prize last year.

Washington D.C.

A few weeks ago, I traveled to Washington D.C. to support and help my organization‘s “Keep the Promise” March event prior to the opening of the International AIDS Conference.  I’ve participated in other protests and advocacy events, but this was an experience that I hope to not forget.  Walking side by side with thousands of other supporters, we marched on Pennsylvania and Constitution Ave., towards the Capitol to remind world leaders and policy makers that the war on AIDS is not over and that AIDS continues to be a threat to public health.



Global Forum on Human Trafficking

I want to attend the Global Forum on Human Trafficking, hosted by Not For Sale, an amazing organization “creating tools that engage business, government, and grassroots in order to incubate and grow social enterprises to benefit enslaved and vulnerable communities” to end slavery in our generation.

Right now, they have a limited pre-registration discount rate here.

If a two-day conference in Northern California is not feasible, there’s a benefit concert happening at the Avalon in Hollywood featuring artists such as Jayess Lee and Clara Chung.  You can buy tickets here.

Check out Mira Sorvino’s own captivating testimony and speech from the 2011 Global Forum:

Mira Sorvino; “Using Your Gifts to End Slavery” from Not For Sale on Vimeo.

Mira Sorvino (Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion, Replacement Killers, Mimic, Mighty Aphrodite), was appointed as Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to combat Human Trafficking.  She’s also been recognized for her work and advocacy against modern-day slavery.

Lastly, this is the promotional video:

Not For Sale’s Global Forum 2011 Recap from Not For Sale on Vimeo.

Invisible Children [Update]

I followed Invisible Children and their work in the past, off and on, and have completely forgot about them until their video went viral.  I watched the Kony 2012 video last night and I was shocked to see that this was still happening, because 1) I forgot about them 2) I had heard of them back in 2005-2006. But after reading a few articles on the internet (done by people who research), there have been newer developments and misguided information circulating.

My own questions arise from the video: so what if we capture him, how do we rehabilitate hundreds of children; how do we “reunite” them with their families, as suggested; where can we find credible educators/doctors; and what about their government?  Their goals, to bring awareness, to make him famous, and then to capture him is a good start and their video is immensely captivating and heartbreaking.  But we’re limited in what we can do and there are local nonprofits working hard so we should empower the locals to maintain a model of sustainability and effectiveness.

If you’re curious to read more opinions, visit: Visible Children, Chris Blattman, Council on Foreign Relations, and Vice.

My conclusion is this:  its understandable for people to be against the campaign, but at least people are talking about humanitarianism and even pointing ways on how to further be effective by highlighting local nonprofit organizations in respective countries, which didn’t have the medium or resources to megaphone their work. If you feel compelled to do more and donate to Invisible Children, that’s fine.  For me, I did very little (which is post the video to the people who have already been bombarded with the videos via facebook, twitter, and internet communities) and that’s okay.  My heart goes out for all children everywhere who are subjected to the atrocities listed, but it’s not only in Uganda.  People don’t know/forget human trafficking, rape, murder, etc happens everywhere and even in the United States.

{photo taken in 2006 when Invisible Children initiated Global Night Commute.  We walked and slept at Balboa Park, San Diego.  I love that Sharon’s holding Cheez-Its… not to take away from the seriousness of this photo, but the Cheez-Its totally makes the picture.}