Hollywood’s young stars turned out last night to speak out to their generation against a war raging a world away but one that we as conscientious consumers have the power to help stop. As the guests at a Hollywood event hosted by actor Ken Baumann learned, the victims of Congo’s conflict are women and girls, who face the highest prevalence of sexual violence in the world.
The event featured Enough’s RAISE Hope for Congo, a campaign working to raise awareness about the crisis in eastern Congo and the use of rape as a weapon of war. RAISE Hope is building a movement of activists to advocate for effective change, and last night’s event seemed to find a receptive audience of new recruits.
The program featured host Ken Baumann, star of ABC Family’s “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” Enough’s John Prendergast, and spoken word artist Omékongo. The presenters described what compelled them to each get involved with Congo advocacy and called on guests to find creative ways to raise awareness. Guests lined up to record public service announcements about Congo’s deadly conflict, specifically focusing on the links between horrifying prevalence of sexual violence and the conflict minerals trade that produces essential minerals for our cell phones. A kiosk was set up so that guests could sign the Conflict Minerals Pledge right on the spot. The pledge calls on electronics companies to ensure that their mineral supply chain does not fund militias that are responsible for mass atrocities in Congo.
From L.A., Enough’s Director of Special Media Projects Robert Padavick was enthusiastic about the response:
It was a great event for the campaign in that it really brought together a young Hollywood crowd that is influential among their peers. We had the cell phone generation there en masse last night, and by all accounts they were riveted by the issue.
Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be rolling out the public service announcements from the Hollywood celebrities in attendance last night, so watch this space. More shots from the red carpet coming soon.