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.

Cathryn said...

Sorry I missed this! How can we see it now? Is the DVD purchasable? I'd like to offer this prayer for all impoverished women:
Father-Mother God loves all of Her dear daughters so much, that your names are engraved in the palms of Her hands. She blesses you with an infinite abundance of good. This comes to us in the form of new ideas and inspiration. These ideas can then be used practically in our lives, as in a new business or new employment.
Divine Love frees us from fear and limitation. Do you know the Bible story of the woman who had only a small amount of oil and flour left and after she used it, felt she and her son would die of starvation? Elijah told her to pour her oil into the empty vessels and to live off the oil for the rest of her life. The oil never depleted and it would seem that a miracle had occurred.
I love this definition of "oil" : consecration; charity, gentleness; prayer; heavenly inspiration (from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures). And the Bible speaks of the "oil of gladness". Don't you think the story means that we can expect infinite abundance if we keep in our house (or consciousness) the expression of consecration, charity gentleness, prayer, heavenly inspiration and gladness?
So as we trust God/Good and let our lives shine with the oil qualities, we can hear the inspiration, or angel messages, be obedient to them and see the progress they make for us in our lives.
"Progress is the law of God, whose law demands of us only what we can certainly fulfill". (Science and Health). You can find more inspiration regarding employment on www.spirituality.com.