Thursday, September 12, 2013

Do Something

On Tuesday night I went to a screening of the documentary War Child. This is a documentary about the Sudanese refugee Emmanuel Jal. Emmanuel was involved in the Sudanese civil war as a child solider and he was rescued by a British aid worker. This aid worker helped give him a better life and he moved to the UK and has become a successful rapper. That is like the briefest summary ever. He has lived through some seriously horrific things and he still has hope that they world can become a better place. 

I was really excited to see this documentary because I have been interning for the Utah Refugee Coalition and we working on an event to bring Emmanuel Jal to Salt Lake in March 2014. This event should be really amazing and inspiring. I could go into way more detail than is necessary but I won't. I will just tell you that you can visit this website to find out more.

And you can watch this awesome Emmanual Jal video

Yesterday I got to go to a lecture by John Prendergast. He is a human rights activist that has done so much to help so many people. He has even worked with George Clooney so I think that makes him pretty cool. 

Anyways, his talk was really interesting and informative. He spoke about how Africa is always portrayed as this horrible and hopeless place, and in some places it really is horrific, but in reality a lot of the countries are doing fairly well. He spoke about movies like "Blood Diamond", "The Last King of Scotland" and "Hotel Rwanda" that show the horrors of Africa but do nothing to show the progress that has been made. And there has been a lot. 

Another interesting point he made was that Africa may seem hopeless but most of these countries only recieved their indepence 50 or 60 years ago. Think about where America was 50 years after gaining its independence. We were not much better off than Africa and we had our own civil war. The only reason we think Africa is so hopeless is because we are comparing it to our current situation and we are also seeing it on the news 24/7. Lukily there were not really any news sources when America was developing itself because we were in just as bad of a state. 

Don't get me wrong, Africa still has a long way to go and Prendergast gave a list of 5 things that everyone can do to make a difference in the world.

1. Join something - get involved in an organization that you are passionate about.
2. Invite others to join - he said that the main reason most people joined charitable efforts were because their friends invited them.
3. Sponsor a sister school - education is one of the most vital resources to making these communities better and by sponsoring a school you could be impacting generations.
4. Establish a conflict-free campus - this means that you work on your college campus to help people realize where the things they are buying are coming from and learn how to stop supporting these corrupt companies.
5. Share what you know on social media. 

So here I am sharing. Both Emmanuel Jal and John Prendergast believe that we can all make a difference if we work together and I totally agree. Personally I am really passionate about helping Africa and especially some of the health crises they are facing there.  But you can get involved with any organization that makes you excited. 

So do something! And I would love to hear what kind of things you are involved with.

Oh, and if you are really wanting to do something today the Utah Refugee Coalition is sponsoring a Global Community Dialogue Series tonight where we will be discussing the Mining Conflicts in the Congo. It should be really great and informative! And I will be there so could it really be bad??

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