At that point in my life I was really sponging up as much of the world as I could and this book was sort of lost in the middle of an awakening I was having. I was starting to understand the interconnectedness of the world's troubles, I was becoming aware that humanity's closet is overflowing with skeletons and that my passion for change might not be enough.
A particularly emotional internship with Greenpeace in the spring of 2010 left me so prepared to work for change, I was educated on issues, I endured activist trainings, I had networks and causes that I believed in, but ultimately I went back to Minnesota feeling incredibly defeated.
When all you do is learn about how fucked up everything is, day in and out reading about climate change, mountaintop removal, fracking, and then clock out of environmental activism at night to read books like 'Half the Sky' - it's a wonder I didn't jump off of something. Overloading with sadness is something I do in an effort to balance the privilege life I've had. It's not the answer. Being educated about social issues is good, spiraling yourself into a deep hole of depression is not good.
I still get a gut reaction every time I see that book on my shelve, it's a reminder to keep working for good, keep fighting for change. Support men who support women, always speak with respect for everyone's circumstances and celebrate progress.
When I learned where the title for the project came from I was so excited! Sheryl WuDunn explains the origin and that a path appears after people walk it, over and over. This title makes the movement more visual and reminds you that the work, the actions people are taking is what makes it a movement and not just a wordy idealistic idea.
The first installation was broken up into four parts. The first was, In The Life. The second, Falling Through The Cracks. Third, Turning The Tables. And lastly, Creating Opportunities. I have a feeling that the following installments will also be set up in the same format so that they four pieces have some continuity.
One specific story that made me feel dumb and shocked, was that a girl working in Tennessee could get up at 6:00am on a Monday and have her best 'shift' of the week. She can turn tricks for men who have been "stuck at home with their wives and families all weekend." It bewilders me and I am ashamed that my idea of prostitution was all Saturday nights, Las Vegas grungy, truck stops or high paid escorts.
At first I was skeptical about Nick and Sheryl inviting celebrities along on this journey but after watching Blake Lively exclaim that she now understands that,"handcuffs don't have to be tangible," I changed my tune. Meaning that she is now aware of the systems that have failed these girls, she sees the pathways that are seemingly inescapable for a lot of people. Ashley Judd was so in touch and so amazing. I fell more in love with Malin Ackerman when she made a point about getting more men involved to make it (sex trafficking, buying sex, etc) a shameful thing. The extra exposure that comes with the celebrity aspect is undeniably positive and I look forward to watching more women learn and live through this project.
I haven't read the book YET but I am stoked to do so. :)