At the Tribeca Film Festival last night I saw its Audience Award Winner, War Child, a documentary about Emmanuel Jal who grew up a child soldier in Sudan and is now a world-renowned rapper.
I know, funny and amazing. He is, as are the filmmakers who brought him to our attention.
I'd been carefully avoiding Darfur. I guess because I feel helpless about it. How much can I do, except feel bad about it? Well, I had no choice but look the situation there and my fear in the eye last night and it was about time.
What made the film an award-winner, and what makes Jal an excellent spokesperson, is that there are joyful moments amid the despair. He is a survivor and uses his story to educate the world.
His music is his salvation. It's also a vehicle of relief for his people who are still struggling and a vehicle for attracting others to this cause. He's building a school in his hometown in Sudan. Here's how to give.
Watching the documentary, I was reminded of another individual who has turned her greatest challenge into her rallying cry. Wendy Booker was diagnosed with mulitple sclerosis and decided to take up mountain climbing. She's climbing the highest peaks in the world cheered on by a fourth grade class in Boston, and both were featured on CBS Sunday Morning yesterday.
She and Emmanuel's situations are so different, but also profoundly similar. They are much more than how their limitations define them, and so are we. The key is to tell your story. Understand what's uniquely you, live that way and be an example for others to do the same.