Lisa Stone is introducing her close, personal friend Soledad O’Brien for this afternoon keynote panel on Women Influencers as Change Agents. We’re watching a video about the Soledad O’Brien & Brad Raymond Foundation.
Soledad spent most of her work life telling stories about other people as a reporter. After Hurricane Katrina, she discovered young women who were in need of wrap-around help for tuition, mentoring, and guidance to graduate college and reach their goals. Women are so well positioned to make change.
Christy is a maternal health advocate with Every Mother Counts. Her foundation strives to keep mothers of kids alive to thrive past the age of five. Her own pregnancy could have turned tragic when she had complications during labor and delivery – her type of complications turned out to be the leading cause of maternal death in the world. She was in a birthing center in a New York City Hospital – the right place at the right time – and she wants every mother to have the same chance.
Malaak encourages people to live a life of service. She started the Angel Rock Foundation. “Service is the rent we pay for living.” Her Journey for Change has taken kids from the U.S. to Africa to show them how lucky they are to have the things they have here. The kids were also given DNA tests to help them discover their roots, tracing many of them back to Africa and to slaves in the pre-Civil War South. This gives them cultural perspective for their lives and who they are.
The biggest challenge in getting the message out, for Christy, is that the solutions are complex and require a functioning healthcare system, which isn’t available everywhere around the world. We need to start in a place where we all understand and build awareness from there. For Malaak, she is always asked why she cares about women and children on the other side of the world, and she says it’s because she cares about all women, and all children, regardless of where they live. “Why do you care?” is the same as “Why should I care?” And sometimes, as Soledad says, the people you are trying to help are resistant to the help you are offering.
Use your voice and share the stats you learned today with your community. Write a blog and share your story. Put an end to the Mommy Wars, please, in order to effect change.
There are over 7,000 child slaves as young as 2 years old working 18 hour days for the fishing industry in Ghana. Malaak literally bought two child slaves in order to free them.
What do you advise people to do? Use your voice as a powerful tool. It doesn’t cost anything. And stop politicizing our bodies.