Monday, December 12, 2011

CNN Heroes: Soap, Water, Land, Shelter, are all Feminist Issues

Diane Latiker Nonprofit: Kids Off the Block What it does: Gives young people in Chicago a place to hang out and learn valuable life skills so they can stay off the streets and away from rampant gang violence
Diane says: "What I want people to know is that the work that I and so many others do can literally be the difference between life and death for a generation that seems to have lost all hope. ... If I can make a change in a generation, then my community's going to get better -- because they're going to be the ones that take it over."
Exploring the issue: In several cities around the world, streetwise "interrupters" are trying to stop teen violence before it starts.
Donate to Kids Off the Block

Robin Lim Nonprofit: Yayasan Bumi Sehat What it does: Offers free prenatal care, birthing services and medical aid to low-income women in Indonesia
Robin says: "Because the cost of childbirth often exhausts the family's income, the poor and even the middle-income people of the world find themselves in a downward spiral of suffering and loss, just when they should be celebrating the births of their babies."
Exploring the issue: Many women in the developing world do not have access to contraception or maternal care.
Donate to Yayasan Bumi Sehat

Derreck Kayongo
Nonprofit: Global Soap Project What it does: Collects partially used hotel soap in the United States, reprocesses it and then sends it abroad to save lives in impoverished countries
Derreck says: "Because of our work, this world is going to be a better place than we found it -- with no soap being thrown away and with no child or woman ... or any vulnerable populous left without a bar of soap to fend off disease."
Exploring the issue: In developing countries around the world, millions of children lack access to soap and clean water.
Donate to Global Soap Project

What appears above is from *here*.

Watching CNN's annual presentation of honors to various activists around the world, called CNN Heroes, reminds me, once again, of how many issues there are facing women and girls around the world. Far more issues than face those of us who are relatively wealthy, sheltered, and regionally advantaged.

Soap is needed to cleanse the skin of lethal bacteria. Clean, safe, accessible, free water is needed to live and be well. Unpoisoned and unoccupied land is a requirement for self-determination, community, spiritual health, and overall well-being. If one's land and water is occupied and possessed, or ravaged and poisoned by corporate power, by men, or by White-World settlers and invaders, it is difficult to sustain one's own life and the life of one's people. Safe, sturdy shelter is an increasingly rare thing. For women and girls to be physically safe, walls must offer protection from harmful forces both outside and inside.

What CNN Heroes does is to highlight (for two hours each year) activism by individuals, not collective activism designed to overthrow tyrannical and oppressive regimes, including regimes of men warring against women and girls. You will not hear the terms "white supremacy" or "male supremacy" or "the savage blood-thirst of the Western World" named as such in programs produced for CNN. It will honor amazing individuals only as long as those individuals do not publicly call for massive systemic change that disadvantages US corporate, raced, and patriarchal power.

What would the effect on the world be if all Western news media reported 24 hours a day/365 days a year on the necessity and value of anti-oppression activism? When will activists be given more than a few minutes to express thanks to CNN and instead detail how US corporate and military (patriarchal, imperialist) power murders millions of people, mostly poor, of color, and female?

When will Anderson Cooper speak to this in ways that educate his audience to the systemic, institutionalised dimensions of the harms spoken of in this annual special? I wonder. Because as long as the masses of media consumers are led to think that globalised atrocities and injustices are caused by unorganised or merely unfortunate events, we are left ignorant about how to properly support those activists who are working for radical social-political-economic change. And how to be those activists too.