“Make it we and not I – if it becomes we, it becomes a movement”
Better Angels podcast, Global Youth Ambassadors, Sarah Brown, What is advocacy?
In the latest episode of her Better Angels podcast, Theirworld President Sarah Brown talks about campaigning to David Mixner, Christy Turlington Burns, Kevin Watkins and Shazia Ramzan.
How can we take action to make a difference? How can we speak up to right a wrong?
These are the questions Theirworld President Sarah Brown explores in the latest episode of her Better Angels podcast series by talking to four people who have made a huge impact for their personal causes and passions.
They are David Mixner, civil rights activist, prominent LGBT campaigner and best-selling author; Christy Turlington Burns, supermodel and maternal health campaigner; Kevin Watkins, the CEO of Save The Children UK and leading international development thinker; and Shazia Ramzan, young education campaigner and a Theirworld Global Youth Ambassador.
David talks about his life in advocacy and human rights campaigning.
He says: “I’ve learned that if you can keep your ego out and if you always make it we and not I – because when it becomes I you set yourself up as a target. If it becomes we, it becomes a movement.
“And the purpose of a movement is change – not to punish people who might not come as quickly to the realisation of freedom as others might, but to welcome them, that they have had the wisdom to change their minds on a particular issue.
“That’s the purpose of a movement and we should never forget that.”
He adds: “You can’t be alone. You can’t live in fear.
“Because if you live in fear you will always be that person at the back of the room that no one’s listening to.”
Christy is asked about her shift from “model with a cause” to fully-fledged campaigner. She talks about her Every Mother Counts charity and about how thousands of people have run marathons to support the cause wearing the organisation’s orange colours.
“I started running because of Every Mother Counts actually. I wasn’t really a runner,” she says.
“As soon as I started training for my first marathon it dawned on me that there was such a opportunity there with communicating distance as one of the biggest barriers for so many women to access care.
“It became so built into what we were trying to do and it’s also a great way for people to participate.”
Kevin talks about his experience of travelling and working in developing countries in his various roles with charities and organisations.
“The amazing thing about these people is they do not give up hope,” he says. “You go and talk to anyone in a rural village, in an urban slum, these are people with hope.
“I always find it utterly extraordinary and actually very moving. You go to a refugee camp, you speak to kids who have seen friends killed, who have lost family members, who have been bombed, who will sit there and look you in the eye and tell you they are going to be an engineer.
“That is the human spirit in operation. We need to get behind these people. That is what solidarity is about.”
Shazia was with her friends Malala Yousafzai and Kainat Riaz when they were all shot by the Taliban on their school bus in Pakistan in 2012.
Now 18, she is at school in the United Kingdom and plans to go to university to become a nurse.
Asked about her trips back to Pakistan, Shazia says: “I see quite a few changes and I see girls are more confident. I feel like we have changed something.
“Not just me, Kainat and Malala – there are others who are trying to change these ideas.”
On how individuals can help to bring about change, she says: “If we see something is wrong, if I am speaking and no one wants to listen to me then I speak to my community people and we meet – and then we all as a group come together. It makes us stronger.
“If you see something don’t be silent. You are the one who can do something. If you don’t do something then there will be no one here who will do it.”
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Sarah talks to politicians, entertainers, activists and world leaders about their inspiration, their hopes and their dreams at a time of enormous international upheaval.
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