A footnote regarding Brandi Carlile:
I just found out that Brandi is one of the 30 international artists participating in 30 Days/30 Songs, an online awareness event leading up to the 4-hour PBS film presentation of Half the Sky on October 1 and 2. Other people will know more of these vocalists than I do, but I did recognize names of participants like Emmy Lou Harris, Bonnie Raitt, Amy Grant, Lucinda Williams and a few others.
The film is based on the book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, which was written by Pulitzer Prize winners Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, It tells stories of little girls, teens, and women around the world who experience physical abuse, forced prostitution, and slavery. It is painful to read such a book. But it is not without hope and inspiration, to see what these girls and women have overcome, the lives they have built, and the contributions they have made. It is also a call to action for ending these brutal experiences and making a different future possible.
I read Half the Sky a couple years ago and since then have been passing (pushing) copies around to friends. For me it was that compelling. I have three copies here before me now if anyone local wants to borrow one to read before the October airing of the film. The last page of the book offers "steps you can take in the next 10 minutes" to make a difference--so you are not left feeling, Yeah, but what can I DO? In those 10 minutes, my first step was to connect with KIVA, one of many suggestions on that page, to begin my involvement with this issue.
Well, celebrities like Meg Ryan and Eva Mendes and Brandi Carlile are much more involved. Which brings us back to 30 Songs/30 Days. The 30-song series started September 3 and goes through October 2. A different artist is featured singing each day--and on that day you can listen to her song and download it for free if you wish (following the directions by the download icon). We're behind (since I wasn't paying attention)--the McCrary Sisters, Gemma Hayes, Brooke Waggoner, and Ana Tijoux have already performed. Mountain Man is performing today. Check the website for the schedule and check in and listen each day if you want to participate in this awareness program.
Many NGOs (like CARE, World Vision, and Save the Children) have partnered with the Half the Sky Movement. Social media is involved. A Facebook game will be launched November 13. Awareness is what it is all about--awareness and then action. If you feel concern for these women and girls and wonder what to do, read the book, explore the Half the Sky Movement and the PBS Independent Lens site. And spend a moment each September day listening to the voice of a woman who is sharing her song on behalf of this issue. Brandi's day is September 20.
Thanks, Brandi, for lending your name, your voice and your heart.