Today, for the opening session of the 60th annual PRSA conference, we heard from actor and activist Mia Farrow.
I’ll admit, I didn’t give the fact she was scheduled as the opening keynote speaker much thought in advance. Now, however, after hearing her speak about the genocide in Darfur for an hour, I feel humbled, outraged and impressed that the conference schedulers had the courage to ask her to speak to us.
You see, at this conference are 3,200 of the most dedicated, experienced and eager professional public relations practitioners in the country. Mia Farrow suggested we use our communications skills to help tell the story of what’s happening there.
I can’t really describe how her remarks made me feel. When she showed the photos from her trips there it was heart wrenching. I thought of how I’d feel if Eliana were cut up with a sword, molested, starved or shot. It just sounded and looked so horrific. No one’s daughter should have to endure that, and no parents should have to live with that.
I thought of the movie Hotel Rwanda. From what Mia Farrow said, the same type of thing is happening in Darfur and Chad.
She commented on how insane it is that American media reports nearly non-stop on 20-something celebrities going in and out of court and rehab and hardly give 10 seconds to coverage of what’s happening in Darfur.
Here’s a recap from the PRSA conference blog.
She was asked what we can do besides tell others about what’s happening. She said China’s hosting of the 2008 Olympics provides an opportunity to exert pressure on them to stop providing weapons and funds for the group that’s doing the killing. She also said contacting elected officials as well as companies that sponsor the Olympics are things we can do.
Here’s a link to her blog on 10 things you can do right now.
Witnessing her passion for the situation was certainly motivating. In fact, she shared with the group that once her youngest is a couple years older, she plans to move to the Sudan area and live there full time to render assistance and aid until the killing and displacement stops. She may be a bit extreme, but her commitment to supporting life and preventing genocide and suffering in unarguable.