10 March 2009

Americans Unite in 450 Theatres, Support Women in Fight against Global Poverty

We are so thankful and humbled by the tens of thousands who attended A POWERFUL NOISE Live last Thursday night and continue to send messages about it. It was a magical night!

People across America, linked by a satellite feed and a desire to end global poverty, flocked to their local cinemas Thursday, and connected with a movement to empower the world’s poorest women and girls.

The evening featured a one-time showing of our documentary A Powerful Noise, followed by a town hall discussion simulcast live from New York City into 450 participating theatres. A POWERFUL NOISE Live was presented by philanthropist Sheila C. Johnson with the international poverty-fighting organization CARE and National CineMedia’s (NCM) Fathom, in partnership with ONE and the UN Commission on the Status of Women. The event was among the largest ever staged in America to honor International Women’s Day. Our goal: expose how women and girls can turn the tide against global poverty.

Ms. Johnson, the film’s executive producer, set the stage from New York’s Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College, expressing her hope that, in the glow of big screens, the world would grow smaller. “It’s so easy to set the problem of poverty aside,” said Ms. Johnson, an entrepreneur and CARE global ambassador. “We can tell ourselves that the problem is too big or that one person cannot make a difference. But after watching ‘A Powerful Noise,’ these excuses don’t work. Because you see what one person can do.”

Moviegoers were then transported into the lives of a girls’ education crusader from Mali, an HIV-positive widow from Vietnam and a peacemaking survivor of the war in Bosnia. After the credits rolled, big screens from Savannah to Seattle came to life with an inspiring discussion – moderated by Today show anchor Ann Curry -- on how to unleash the potential in women all over the developing world. The panelists were former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright; author and CARE maternal health advocate Christy Turlington Burns; Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, author and New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof; actress and activist Natalie Portman; and CARE president and CEO Dr. Helene Gayle.

Dr. Gayle told audiences around the country that while we can’t wipe out global poverty overnight, women and girls offer hope for long-term solutions. She urged those watching to join CARE and other humanitarian organizations working to empower women both economically and politically. “The countries that have the highest percentage of women in their legislatures,” she said, “have the greatest social advancement.”

Mr. Kristof said investing in women is critical during the economic crisis because they tend to pump what they have back into their families. “At desperate times,” he said, “it becomes particularly important to use your resources effectively.”

Ms. Portman marveled at the success of microloan projects that allow women to start small business around the world. And she lauded innovative aid programs that don’t give families fuel rations, for instance, unless they send their daughters to school. Dr. Gayle cited CARE’s use of a similar strategy in Guatemala, where mothers who send their daughters to school qualify for loans.

Dr. Albright stressed the important role the U.S. government plays, calling America the world’s “indispensible nation.” And Ms. Turlington Burns urged Americans to write lawmakers or knock on their legislator’s door during CARE’s national conference May 5-6 in Washington, D.C. Do it for the world’s poor, she said, who often face discrimination and oppression in their own countries. “They don’t have the access we do.”

Our hope is that the conversation ignited by A POWERFUL NOISE Live gains momentum within community associations and university clubs, faith groups and families.

That’s why Ms. Johnson ended the night with a challenge. Don’t let poverty just happen, she said. Engage in the movement to help women and girls strike at its roots. “Our leaders are only half the equation,” she said. “We need you!”

Join our movement by visiting www.apowerfulnoise.org or www.care.org.

03 March 2009

Women Unite To Make A Powerful Noise

What if for one night you could make a difference by going to the movie theater? Now you can by seeing the break out film, “A Powerful Noise" this Thursday, March 5. Just by purchasing a ticket, you can galvanize a movement to eradicate global poverty and reverse centuries of injustice for women everywhere.

Join Natalie Portman, Madeleine Albright, Nicholas Kristof, Christy Turlington-Burns, and Dr. Helene Gayle of CARE this Thursday, March 5th, for A POWERFUL NOISE Live, an unprecedented ONE-NIGHT ONLY EVENT. In 450 movie theaters nationwide, these experts and advocates for empowering women will participate in a live town hall simulcast following the screening of the film.

“A Powerful Noise" takes a provocative look at three women from different countries who overcome seemingly insurmountable odds to bring great change to their society. If our sold out festival screenings are any indication, you will leave the theater inspired and determined to join forces with these women to make a lasting difference.

Filming with these women for three months truly changed my life and taught me the real meaning of courage, strength, and perseverance. Now I want them to change your life forever. Please support these women this Thursday night!

A POWERFUL NOISE Live begins at 7:30pmET/6:30pmCT/5:30pmMT/8:00pmPT (tape delayed). Come support this important film and the incredible movement it’s igniting - the movement to empower women and girls to fight global poverty! Click here to find a theater near you and buy tickets now.