My mother lives in the middle of Kansas. In the middle of Marion, KS. She was always what I would refer to as "a do-gooder." She marched and protested injustices in her youth, created a stateside charity to help the Lutheran orphanages in Russia, and runs a food bank in the heart of the Reddest State of them all.
Two years ago, my mother traveled, by train, to Chicago to attend the Global Activism Expo. She brought a friend from Kansas with her and they spent the afternoon talking to activists, attending presentations and, in general, absorbing the energy and information that permeates UIC Forum for these six hours. And I'm excited to say: she's coming again next week.
I've told her she definitely needs to be there by noon - right as the doors open to the public - because we are presenting a Transcontinental Game of Simon Says with school-age children from Tamil Nadu, India via live video conference on the big screen in the front of the hall. This will be moving and extraordinary. My mom cannot miss it. (And we have to host it right at Noon, because in India it will already be 10pm and the children will have been staying up just to play with us.)
I'm also proud to say she is packing a bag, that she's toting 900 miles, to be able add to the donated items that have been requested this year:
- gently used book bags
- school shoes
- soccer balls
- air pumps
- fleece blankets
- blood pressure cuffs/monitors and stethoscopes
- children's books (Spanish preferred)
- hand towels
- wash cloths
- fingernail clippers
- bath bar soap
- bicycles and wheelchairs
And, just like two years ago, she's bringing a friend. This time her friend is an organizer whose purpose is to find ways to raise funds for exactly these kinds of organizations. Given that my mom has been inspired since her first Expo to run in several 5K runs to raise money and awareness for Run for Congo Women, and set the world's record for the largest marshmallow roast which raised money for her local food bank, my guess is that she will find more ways to give back to the world this year, too.
As proud as I am to be on producer Breeze Richardson's staff as she hosts the largest exposition of Global Activists in the world, I'm equally as proud that my mother is inspired by it. And I love that she takes the message and spreads it around her neck of the woods.
So, I encourage you to be like my mom. Get there at noon to play Simon Says, bring some items to donate, and, by all means, bring a friend.
Global Activism Expo 2012
Saturday, April 28, 2012 @ 12:00pm – 6:00pm
UIC Forum (725 W Roosevelt Rd.)
For complete info, go to wbez.org/expo.