Purpose Strategy Director and The Syria Campaign Director Anna Nolan joined a panel at Netroots Nation 2015 in Phoenix, AZ to discuss how activists and movements from around the world are more connected than ever before.
She spoke about her experience working with the White Helmets – a group of impartial volunteer rescue workers working in Syria – who risk their lives to save others from aerial attacks. Nolan said, “[the] White Helmets have become the most important civil society organization in Syria. They provide hope to millions.” The Syria Campaign has worked alongside the White Helmets to share their rescuers’ stories through creative content and international media outlets, including The New York Times.
In addition to The Syria Campaign’s effort in support of the White Helmets, she discussed how her team has worked with activists in Syria to help get their voices into the mainstream media. “The media wasn’t paying attention to the millions of non-violent Syrian activists who need our solidarity,” said Nolan.
Nolan was joined by moderator Erin Mazursky (Rhize), panelist Nora Rahimian (#CultureFix), and panelist Trinh Nguyen (Viet Tan). Rahimian, who has worked with activists and movement leaders in Liberia, spoke about her success in identifying cultural leaders and celebrities who can help share messages about social justice. Rahimian said, “the use of art to spread information was one of the main reasons that Ebola was contained so quickly in Liberia.”
Nguyen – who founded Viet Tan, an NGO to support human rights in Vietnam – said that activists in Vietnam draw inspiration from the same organizers and activists who inspired and led the civil rights movement in the United States.
Rahimian, Nguyen, and Nolan agreed that capacity building and training across cultures and continents is a worthwhile investment for international movement building. They said that activists in one country often face challenges that an activist in another country is also working to solve.
Nolan remarked that The Syria Campaign’s team motto is “we’re not free until we’re all free.”
You can donate to the White Helmets Hero Fund and support their live-saving efforts by clicking this link.