Will Ferrell, Anjelica Huston, Jennifer Aniston, Ellen Page, Judd Apatow, Mana, Sylvester Stallone, Eric Szmanda, Sarah Silverman part of 30-day call-to-action to free imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize recipientÂ By Jeffrey Jolson for Hollywood Today
HOLLYWOOD, CA (RUSHPRNEWS) 5/03/2008 â€“ Hollywood stars are coming to the defense of the people of Burma, now called Myanmar. Governed by an exceptionally oppressive military regime, Burma policies have drawn attacks from everyone from a now famous YouTube video by Jim Carrey to, surprisingly, President George Bush â€“ to no avail.
The once balmy tourist destination is now a center for heroin trafficking, child labor and even slavery accusations.
But now more star power lights will shine. The Human Rights Action Center and the U.S. Campaign for Burma have joined together to create â€œBurma It Canâ€™t Wait,â€ a first-of-its-kind, 30-day campaign using influential celebrity voices to help build a million-person movement to free Nobel Peace Prize recipient Aung San Suu Kyi and the people of Burma.
â€œWeâ€™re witnessing a new age of activism,â€ said Jack Healey, founder of the Human Rights Action Center and former director of the Peace Corps in Lesotho and Amnesty International USA. â€œNow more than ever, people have access to, and participate in, a multitude of online options to learn and communicate about causes and charitable giving. With this campaign, weâ€™ve created 30 unique and creative video appeals, designed for the Web, with the goal of inspiring people to take action, once they learn what is happening in Burma. For me, that spark came in 1999, when I had the opportunity to meet Aung San Suu Kyi in Rangoon. I believe this campaign can be the spark that motivates millions of other people to join her cause.â€
The government of Burma has been responsible for recruiting more child soldiers than any other country in the world, has coordinated programs of ethnic cleansing that rely on rape as a weapon of terror, and practiced policies of forced labor, censorship, and imprisonment of political activists. Another such atrocity committed by this government was the imprisonment of Aung San Suu Kyi, currently the worldâ€™s only imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize recipient. After her political party won more than 82 percent of the seats in parliament in Burmaâ€™s last election, Burmaâ€™s military junta placed her under house arrest, where she has remained for 12 of the past 18 years. Because of her peaceful fight for human rights and democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi has been forced from her children and family. The military regime wonâ€™t allow her family to see her â€“ even preventing her husband from visiting her in the final days of his life. On April 24, the U.S. Senate awarded Aung San Suu Kyi with the Congressional Gold Medal, Congressâ€™ highest civilian honor. Suu Kyi is the first person in history to be awarded with this medal while under arrest. Past winners include George Washington, Martin Luther King Jr., and Nelson Mandela.
â€œJust as the world came together twenty years ago to free Nelson Mandela and South Africa, we can do so again for Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma,â€ said Jeremy Woodrum, co-founder of U.S. Campaign for Burma. â€œOur goal is to mobilize one million people to join the U.S. Campaign for Burma and become agents for change in Burma.â€
â€œEvery now and again, a single person or event captures the imagination and inspiration of the world,â€ said Will Ferrell in his video, which kicks off the campaign today. â€œThis moment belongs to Burma, and to Aung San Suu Kyi. Please, honor her courage, honor your compassion and let this be the month you join an effort to change the world.â€
Each day during the month of May, a different vignette will be released from celebrities who are raising their voices to spread awareness about Aung San Suu Kyi. The vignettes will be available through as many video websites as possible and the full campaign will live within Fanista at burmaitcantwait.org. Will Ferrell, Ellen Page, Anjelica Huston, Judd Apatow, Jennifer Aniston, Julie Benz, Rosanna Arquette and many others will help educate and inspire viewers to sign an online petition, virally spread the site to their friends, and take action against these atrocities.
The partnership with Fanista came about through a twenty-year friendship between Healey and Dan Adler, Fanistaâ€™s founder and CEO. As Healey said, â€œI was heading back to D.C. after a second attempt to get this project off the ground. I stopped by to see Dan, whoâ€™s been a supporter of the Human Rights Action Center since the day I started the organization. When I told him the problems we were having, he volunteered to step up and underwrite the entire campaign.â€
â€œIâ€™ve been inspired by Jack and his work from the first time I met him, when he was running Amnesty USA. He and Jeremy made me aware of the plight of Aung San Suu Kyi and the people of Burma several years ago,â€ said Adler. â€œI was moved by the universality of her story and by her embodiment of what happens when someone truly stands up for what they believe and sacrifices so much to fight for the democratic rights of her nation and the human rights of its people.â€ As for the fit with Fanista, he continued, â€œWe got behind this campaign because of our belief that the unassailable ideals of Aung San Suu Kyi and the people of Burma could benefit from the voices of celebrities talking about the horrific situation there. We also saw it as a perfect way to use the unique structure of our business model to turn entertainment purchases into pro-social contributions, without costing consumers any extra money,â€ said Adler. â€œI am humbled by the opportunity to be a small part of a movement that literally could change the course of a country. â€œ
The vignettes will be available through as many video websites as possible, though the full campaign will live within social shopping site Fanista at burmaitcantwait.org.
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