It has been almost two weeks since I spoke at the beautiful Baylor University campus for the Alpha Delta Pi’s 4th annual Girls Fight Back. In the two weeks since, I have been struggling to come up with the one primary lesson that I learned from this event. It was an overwhelmingly wonderful event to be a part of. A couple hundred fired up sorority girls in a beautiful ballroom. The hostesses provided delicious treats (Dr Pepper floats! Seriously, you haven’t lived…stop reading this post, go get one and come back when you are done!) and graciously donated door prizes. It was the largest crowd I have ever spoken to and after the event, I took picture after picture with girls who were obviously excited about self-defense.
I drove back to my hotel thinking, man, they have got it going on! How can I help others host events that are equally as successful? I thought about it and thought about it. Besides the floats and prizes, what was it that had made this event a hit for four years? Finally the answer hit me this past weekend at an event that had absolutely nothing to do with Girls Fight Back.
You see, this is my third year walking with a group of friends called Team Supersnack. We started walking in the AIDSWalk NYC four years ago and have since grown to being a non-profit organization that regularly raises over $50,000 per year for HIV/AIDS research and treatment. This year, we tackled AIDSWalk DC and finished up the second highest fundraising team overall! As I was walking and chatting with some longtime friends (Shawn Decker and Gwenn Barringer – awesome speaker friends!), I realized that Team Supersnack is successful in the same way that Baylor’s Girls Fight Back is successful. They are successful because of the passion of individuals!
See, Girls Fight Back at Baylor isn’t paid for by the school and Team Supersnack doesn’t have some big corporate sponsor handing us a $30,000 check. In both cases, a small group of committed individuals see a problem (campus violence, HIV) and find small attainable ways to help. The Alpha Delta Pis at Baylor work their tails off to make this a great event. They don’t count on an advisor or school official to address the problem, they tackle it themselves. I began to wonder, what if all of us did this. When we see a problem instead of sitting back and waiting for someone else to address it, what if we all stood up and put in 110% to work towards a solution.
This weekend, I am doing just that. Like Jaime, I am saddened and frankly, outraged at the overwhelming Hollywood and media support for convicted sexual predator Roman Polanski and this weekend, I am doing something about it. For those of you who have somehow missed the story, in 1977 a 43-year-old man took a 13-year-old girl to a friend’s home where he proceeded to get her drunk, drug her, and then rape and sodomize her in various ways. After this girl gave her testimony in court, the man decided to take a plea bargain instead of being found guilty by a jury of his peers. He pled guilty to having sexual intercourse with a minor, posted bail, fled the country, and has lived a happy and free life in France ever since. Now he has been arrested and will hopefully return to the USA for sentencing and his friends are trying to get him off the hook. Why? Because he makes movies. Not because he is innocent (guilt has already been established), but because of what he does for a living. I personally believe this is wrong and I am coordinating a rally in my hometown of Winston-Salem, NC to stand in solidarity with the victims of sexual violence. The rally is a part of a national campaign by PAVE called Rape IS Rape. And you are welcome to join us! If you feel passionately, you can visit the Rape IS Rape website and find a rally near you. Don’t see one listed? It isn’t too late to start one! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for an Action Kit or go to www.rapeisrape.com for more info (while you are there, sign our online petition!).
If you are an individual reading this blog and wondering, “what can I do to make a difference?” Fight Back Productions wants to help you. Over the next couple of weeks, I am going to post tips about how YOU can combat violence on your campus or in your community. I promise they will be simple and even fun! So, come back and check us out and until then, get involved!