social activism : page 1........ .Talent Development Resources --..home page...site map


“The reason we call our organization CODEPINK was Bush was terrorizing American people by saying Code Red, Code Orange, Code Yellow.

"Every other day there was another alert. Be in danger, we’re gonna go to war, death, terrorism. CODEPINK was, ‘No, we need passion, we need understanding, we need compassion, we need love, we need peace.’

"So as women we gathered saying that it is time for world’s women to stand up and create the world we want to live in.”

Jodie Evans, a founder of CODEPINK [quotes from World Tribunal on Iraq Chronicle, June 24 2005].

She is also an editor of the book Stop the Next War Now: Effective Responses to Violence and Terrorism

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Nicole Kidman is new U.N. goodwill ambassador for women

After a call from her mother about a BBC program on UNIFEM, Kidman contacted the executive director, Noeleen Heyzer, PhD [right], and offered to help.

They plan to travel to Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Afghanistan and Cambodia this year. "I have a lot of friends who say to me: 'That's so bleak, why would you take that?' ... I do believe there is enormous possibility to change this world," Kidman said.  
"You have to be careful what you choose, [and make sure your] "heart and your passion" are in it. She said it had taken many years to find an issue she was prepared to give such a commitment.

"That's my personality. It takes me a long time to make a decision. Once I've done it, I don't move off it," she said.

[from “Goodwill, good childhood prepare Kidman for UN role” - By Mark Coultan, theage.com.au January 28, 2006]

    > related page:
social activism

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Diane Wilson [left] used to be just a regular old shrimper and mother of five kids, until she accidentally became an activist.

Then, all hell broke loose. The results are described in An Unreasonable Woman: A True Story of Shrimpers, Politicos, Polluters and the Fight for Seadrift, Texas.

I believe the book will become a classic, not just of the environmental movement, but of American lit, as well. 

It is the rare, clear, moving voice of a working-class woman goaded into action against the greatest massed forces in the world today: globalized corporate greed backed by government power.

Going up against all that can make you feel slightly outmanned and outgunned. But Diane Wilson has discovered a weapon I believe is the greatest strength of many women: pure, cussed stubbornness. She is an unreasonable woman. God bless her. Unreasonable women may yet save the world.

Molly Ivins - author of Bushwhacked :
Life in George W. Bush's America

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My body had given me a great life, and now it was time for my mind and my spirit to return the favor by sharing my feelings with others.

But it was more than that. For all my life I'd loved being onstage, and it was about more than being the center of attention.

I wanted to perform, to do what I did best, to use my voice and body to tell a story, and, in doing so, to engage the people who watched me. The skills I had learned as an actor came in handy in my new career.

Teri Garr has multiple sclerosis (MS) and is an Ambassador for
MS LifeLines

> her bio: Speedbumps: Flooring it Through Hollywood -
by Teri Garr with Henriette Mantel

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As the war approaches year three, a new volley of war-themed plays is landing on the stages of the United States and Britain... 

Most express strong opposition to U.S. and British policies. 

Many of these scripts will surely have a short shelf life. But most of the playwrights say that the theater offers ways of thinking and feeling about the war that go deeper than the images on TV..

— and that the communal experience of theatergoing is likelier to change attitudes than the solitary experience of looking at a screen.

> photo (by Tristram Kenton) from London play “The Madness of George Dubya” by Justin Butcher

from article Lest the country look away - Playwrights launch a fusillade of dramas about the war in Iraq - by Don Shirley, LA Times Oct 9 2005

> related page:  ..screenwriting / playwriting

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Einstein was a troublemaker... The public image of the greatest scientist of the twentieth century has been carefully manicured, but behind the teddy bear was a determined activist on many fronts, who fell afoul of not only the Nazis, but of the FBI. 
Einstein's valiant stands on social justice, racism, antisemitism, war, peace, and the Bomb barely enter public consciousness through the layers of the myth.

> from John Landon review of book
The Einstein File

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Amazon.com Nonprofit Innovation Award

Selected from almost 1,000 qualified entries, these nonprofits represent a range of causes, both local and global. What they share is innovation -- they've come up with unique approaches and breakthrough solutions that most effectively improve their communities or the world at large.

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Time has taught me to worry less about myself and be more compassionate about other's anxieties. I am more focused on trying to save the planet and other living creatures than on my career at the moment.

I won't be doing anything for a while because I'm focused on environmental issues. I live in a solar-powered house built with eco-friendly materials and things salvaged from a 19th century barn. I also drive a 100 per cent bio-diesel car. I try to follow this ideal through all aspects of my life.

Daryl Hannah .. [Irish Examiner 19 Jul 2005]

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We are communicators. Communicators of stories, of ideas and of images. And our bottom line, our strongest tool is language... We must not allow our words or images to be distorted in order to pacify us.

Susan Sarandon - on The Creative Coalition site

Throughout American history, artists, writers, and entertainers have addressed political issues through their work. In our free society, novels, movies, music, and all the arts have often had a profound impact on political discourse. But today, many within the creative world speak out, directly and forcefully not just through their work, but also as citizens and individuals. The Creative Coalition exists to educate, organize, and mobilize the arts and entertainment communities to ensure that those voices are strong, clear, focused, and knowledgeable.

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author Bebe Moore Campbell on being a mental health activist

I have both gay and mentally ill loved ones. I don’t think either group deserves to live marginal lives.

Both groups are greatly stigmatized, particularly black people with mental illnesses.

I feel that it’s my job as a writer to create a community dialogue when silence is killing us. ... So often, mentally ill black men wind up in prison.

In fact, the prisons are the largest mental health facilities in the nation. I’m hoping that my book [72 Hour Hold] will give all people permission to bring homosexuality and mental illness out of the closet and to become activist “stigma busters.” ///

I learned about NAMI [National Alliance for the Mentally Ill] after my family member became ill. ... Some friends and I had formed our own support group for relatives of the mentally ill. Later, we all took NAMI’s 12-week Family-to-Family course.

We decided to open our own NAMI affiliate in the African American community. In publicizing our work, we began to host mental health seminars at black churches.

I wrote a children’s book called Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry, about a little girl being reared by a mother with untreated bi-polar disorder. ...

Being a mental health activist means that I’m committed to helping people find recovery... I think that activism has infused my writing. I want my work to change lives.

> from primapublishing.com interview

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screenwriter Richard Curtis
and the G8

I decided about eighteen months ago that I'd stop writing and sort of dedicate my time to a bit of almost activist politics.

Because there was this G8 Conference happening in the U.K. in July of this year, when it seemed there was a genuine opportunity of a historic breakthrough for the poor.

And I thought, well maybe instead of fundraising I should do some consciousness-raising. ... So what I decided to do, twenty years after "Live Aid" ... was to just see whether or not one could have an effect on these men at the G8.

So.. I would love to feel that people who see the film might think, I'm just an ordinary person like the girl in the film. Is there anything I can do?

And just at this particular moment, there is something that people can do.

You go on our website at ONE.org and send a message to politicians in America that this is a subject of concern.

Richard Curtis - about writing the HBO film The Girl in the Cafe
with Bill Nighy with Kelly Macdonald, above

> he also wrote Bridget Jones's Diary; Love Actually & others

site : The ONE Campaign - "a new effort to rally Americans to fight the emergency of global AIDS and extreme poverty."

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It's very important for me to do projects that make a statement in some way. What draws me to a project is its ability to remind people of their humanity whether that's through tears or through laughter.. and I try to gravitate towards political work. ...

It's really important to me to use my voice in ways that are constructive for the world.

Kerry Washington - blackfilm.com interview / photo : as Della Bea Robinson in "Ray"

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cohenAn Ecstatic Compulsion
to Transform the World

In my own development, what has replaced the excitement of experiencing new insights and ideas is the powerful urge to actually create a new context -- a new cultural context, an enlightened culture.

It's the creative component in relationship to awakening itself that is so compelling, so interesting, and so fascinating.

Most significantly, it's the nondifference between the enlightened perspective, directly seen, known, and felt, and the arising of a spontaneous compulsion to create, to make manifest that which is being seen.

Ultimately one becomes more compelled by what actually happens as a result of awakening than by the awakening itself.

The ecstatic compulsion to transform the world becomes the focus of one's attention instead of merely one's own personal development or personal liberation.

Andrew Cohen - What Is Enlightenment? magazine -
quoted in W-ISDOM list [see newsletters]

book: Living Enlightenment : A Call for Evolution Beyond Ego -
by Andrew Cohen, Ken Wilber

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I don't think anything in this day and age, even a love song, can be apolitical. It's all political. 

I believe that the world is created in human relationships. We create the world when we speak to the person next to us, when we're polite or kind or generous and also when we're mean. ... 

So I really believe that the love song has a part to play in creating a potential world we could realize if we accept the power we have as individuals. 

Sting- Hollywood Reporter, Feb 6-8 2004 - photo from his memoir Broken Music

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This is the time for every artist in every genre to do what he or she does loudly and consistently. It doesn't matter to me what your position is. You've got to keep asserting the complexity and the originality of life, and the multiplicity of it, and the facets of it. 

This is about being a complex human being in the world, not about finding a villain. This is no time for anything else than the best that you've got.

Toni Morrison  - quoted n Living the Creative Life newsletter, issue 63, 01 Feb 2004

....Toni Morrison books

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It was motherhood that persuaded Emma Thompson to take a sabbatical in 2001 and it is in part the inspiration of her daughter [Gaia], whose name means "spirit of the earth", that persuaded her to "come out" as a political activist by becoming an ambassador for ActionAid and use her voice to raise awareness about AIDS in Africa.

"She opened up my mind and my world suddenly seemed very circumscribed. I wanted her to see Africa, to grow up knowing that there are other ways of life and that they are equally important," says Thompson. 

Since then she has travelled to Mozambique and Uganda, and is planning to visit ten more countries to write a book about AIDS and poverty. 

She is clearly deeply inspired: "The women are on the frontline in their communities, fighting this battle with virtually no resources. I have witnessed tremendous heroism." ///

She sees no difficulty in juggling all her different roles. "It all feels connected. I don't go to Africa to highlight AIDS as some kind of antidote to the red carpet and neither do I want to give up film-making, which some might consider a frivolous waste of time. They both inspire each other."

from article Avenging angel in high heels - 
by Nicola Graydon, The Scotsman, February 3rd 2004

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Global view - respect for all human beings 

A greater capacity for empathy (concern for others, especially children; sensitivity and warmth) 

Intense moral commitment (seeing injustice and doing something about it; willingness to 
stand up for one's beliefs)

from "Synthesis on Giftedness in Women" by Linda Kreger Silverman, Ph.D.

> from page giftedness: characteristics

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I am deeply honored to serve as National Honorary Chair for the "Race to Stop Global Warming." 

This event presents all of us with a golden opportunity to focus our attention on our most dire environmental problem today. We know that only if we make a concerted effort to do all we can to reduce energy consumption and accelerate our use of alternative energy will there be a chance to leave the world a better place for our children and grandchildren. ....

We're off and running to take the message not only to Americans all across the country, but to the White House which especially needs to hear our message loud and clear.

Blythe Danner  - from racetostopglobalwarming.org page

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Charlize Theron wants to use her planned South African charity organisation to establish a more-effective laboratory system where DNA tests can be conducted to bolster cases in the prosecution of rapists. 

More should also be done through counselling to help rape victims, Charlize told Cameron Hume, American ambassador to South Africa, reporters and government officials in Pretoria.

"Any form of violence is unacceptable. We need to get together and address this problem. It does not help if people are reluctant to talk about this. 

"I will always speak out about this. We have a beautiful country, the most beautiful I have seen. 

"Let's respect that and treat each other with respect, compassion and love without judging," she pleaded. 

Charlize said she wanted to help to establish DNA technology in South Africa to strengthen prosecution cases against rapists -"so that people can get the message that they will not get away with it". 

This type of technology, which analyse body fluids and tissue among other things, can link a rapist to a crime scene. 

"We also need improved counselling services in this country, like in the USA where people can be helped immediately and virtually anywhere to work through the trauma."

from article : Charlize aiming at a DNA lab, news24.com10/03/2004

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The "Daily Show" [site] host Jon Stewart is promoting a two-CD compilation [the Parkinsong CD] by singer-songwriters to benefit the Parkinsong Foundation. It was set up by the children of Selma Litowitz, Stewart's former English teacher who is afflicted with Parkinson's disease, a degenerative nerve condition.
Stewart was a self-confessed smart aleck while in high school in Lawrence, N.J., and most of his teachers were constantly telling him to pipe down. 

Not Mrs. Litowitz. 

"She was very patient, she was very understanding," Stewart recalled in an interview with The Associated Press on Monday. "She was the only one who made me feel that there was some kind of useful skill behind what I was doing." 

And how did she do that?

"She laughed," he said.    [Assoc Press May 11 2004]

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"I'm doing very well now. I have had MS for 11 years, and I am very, very lucky because when I was first diagnosed I didn't get such a good prognosis about my future," says Nancy Davis, founder of the Center Without Walls, a consortium of scientists who collaborate on MS research [multiple sclerosis]. 

"We're all working as hard as we possibly can to find a cure for MS. Our event is called the Race To Erase MS, because we are in a hurry to cross that finish line and find a cure for MS in the very near future."

"My sister has MS," says fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger, "and ten years ago Nancy asked me to get involved in fundraising, so I have been bringing fashion and music together to raise money to find a cure."
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In 1993 she founded The Nancy Davis Foundation for Multiple Sclerosis... and started the RACE to Erase MS - now a celebrity gala benefit held annually. 

For the event May 14, 2004, Nancy Davis and designer John Hardy collaborated on making a sterling silver and enamel choker, an addition to her Peace & Love jewelry collection.

information and quotes from Erase MS site

"It's like having a baby," says Davis of the process of organizing an event that is both star-studded and as meaningful as the Race to Erase MS.

quote, photo from Beverly Hills [213] article by John Irwin, 4/14/04

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Media activist Ann Simonton, once a top fashion model, now travels internationally to present her compelling expose on the disturbing consequences of corporate owned media.

Simonton appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated and Seventeen, and on the pages of Glamour, Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Women's Day, Bride and many other national magazines. She also appeared on dozens of national television commercials before turning her back on this lucrative career to dedicate her life to exposing commercial media's bias.

Ann Simonton site: Media Watch  : Media Literacy Through Education & Action
"Our goal is to challenge abusive stereotypes and other biased images 
commonly found in the media."

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Mariska Hargitay became interested in helping organizations responding to sexual assault crimes through her series "Law and Order: SVU"

"You hear people that had their story told on our show and now they can talk about it, and.. the healing begins and the shame goes away," she said on tv show The View.

Hargitay co-founded The Joyful Heart Foundation, an organization devoted to healing and recovery of survivors of rape and sexual assault through the use of dolphin-human therapy. 

She is also on the board of advisors for SAVI, the Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention Program, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and she works with the Santa Monica Rape Foundation.

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Jolie's wild, sexy and a humanitarian
Liz Smith column, October 22 2003

New York -- "A journalist asked me the other day if I was still a sexual person. As if you can't be a humanitarian and sexual! 

"Well, I want you to know, I am exactly the same person I was before I became a goodwill ambassador for the U.N. I'm still a person of extreme emotion. I'm still wild and sexy!"

That's what Angelina Jolie told me last week as we chatted about her role for the United Nations, her latest film, "Beyond Borders," which in many ways mirrors her real-life concerns, and her just-published journal, "Notes From My Travels."

Jolie's heightened consciousness began about five years ago, when the script for "Beyond Borders" first came to her attention. 

"At that time, Oliver Stone was involved, but the project fell through," she said. "But the subject matter -- the crisis situation worldwide -- stayed with me. 

"I knew nothing about Cambodia or Pakistan or Ecuador, but I felt compelled to learn, to pay attention to the news, to read books. 

"I felt alive and committed in a way I never had before. I know it sounds corny to say this. Fame and money and recognition as an artist are all good things. But they do not fulfill you. I am not just an actor. I am a human being and a woman." 

Tonight at the U.N., the actress receives an award for her work.

[Reuters photo by Jeff Christensen]

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In 1994 Kelly Preston's then-two-year-old son, Jett, was hospitalized with an illness that Preston has since linked to a carpet cleaner used in the home she shares with her husband, John Travolta. The episode launched her on a mission to protect children from toxic chemicals... She now serves as the spokesperson for the Children's Health Environmental Coalition. ...

"There's so much alarming information out there, people can shut down and say, 'What am I supposed to do? Never leave the house?' My goal is to arm people with knowledge so they can pick and choose what is important to them. 

"You can't do it all. Start with a few simple things. Open the windows and let in fresh air. Leave your shoes at the door so you don't track in lead from fuel emissions. Get rid of chemical cleansers. I am a bit annoying, like I refuse to have diet drinks in my house for other people. 

"Ever had fresh-squeezed carrot juice that's not organic? If one glass is four carrots, imagine the amount of chemicals you're getting. It's like raisins: If you eat nonorganic raisins, each one was a grape that was coated with chemicals. Raisins are pesticide pellets. See, now I'm getting annoying."... [Organic Style organicstyle.com May/June 2003]

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The artists are on the opposite side of whatever may lead to destruction, 
and once they set themselves steadily to fulfill their mission, all systems 
of politics and social order are in some degree of jeopardy.

Harold Taylor, in Art and the Future -

quoted in Jan Phillips' Museletter  janphillips.com

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We are the ones who have the most profound task in human history - the task of deciding whether we grow or die. 

This will involve helping cultures and organizations to move from dominance by one economic culture or group to circular investedness, sharing and partnership.

It will involve putting economics back as a satellite to the soul of culture rather than having the soul of culture as satellite to economics. 

It will involve deep listening past the arias and the habits of cruelty of crushed and humiliated people.

It will involve a stride of soul that will challenge the very canons of our human condition. It will require that we become evolutionary partners with each other.

Jean Houston - from her site

*books by Jean Houston:

Jump Time: Shaping Your Future In A World of Radical Change

Manual for the Peacemaker : An Iroquois Legend to Heal Self & Society


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"The people in the trenches [working to solve social problems] are original and creative. There is a wealth of creativity there -- and if we really pay attention to the different models being developed, we will develop programs far more effectively than the federal government can."

Arianna Huffington  [Tikkun, May, 2000] 

....author of : How to Overthrow the Government

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