Editor’s Note: This post was written by Conflict-Free Campus Initiative Campus Organizer and University of North Florida student Corey Jones.
Robin Wright is an accomplished actor who has starred in House of Cards, Forrest Gump, and The Princess Bride. She is also a tireless advocate for peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Often, her activism is overshadowed by her acting. However, to me, her advocacy is what deserves the awards and accolades.
As a Campus Organizer for the Conflict-Free Campus Initiative (CFCI), it is inspiring to know the passion that I have is shared by such a high-profile person. Perhaps the best way to qualify how big of an impact someone like Robin can have is with a story about when I met her.
In April 2015 I traveled to the University of Florida with some of my fellow student activists to hear Robin speak. As soon as she took the stage, the applause was thunderous. After the moderator listed each of her accomplishments, there was another round of applause. Except when her role as an activist for Congo was mentioned. Then there were only a few scattered claps and some silence. This is a common problem that people in positions like mine or people that are passionate about causes like Congo run into: apathy for what we do or what we are trying to accomplish. This problem is not unique to me or other student activists, even Robin Wright has to deal with it.
After fielding a plethora of questions about her movies and her acting career, the moderator asked Robin a few short questions about Congo and her advocacy. She answered them in what might have been the most genuine moment of the night – you could tell how passionate she is about her work supporting peace in Congo.
After the event we headed to the reception to meet Robin and hopefully have a conversation with her. She was only at the reception briefly, and I caught her on her way out of the room. After I told her who I was, she was visibly excited to talk to me about the Enough Project and some of the work CFCI has been doing recently. We took a quick picture after and then she went on her way. As we left the room, a student that had heard our conversation asked me about “that Congo thing” and I told him about Enough and how to get involved.
This is why advocates like Robin Wright are so important: they can reach such an incredible number of people with their activism. Robin reached more people and introduced them to the issues we care about in an hour than I will in months. Hundreds of people in that room left with at least a little more understanding of the situation in Congo and how they can get involved with the kind of work that we do at Enough. I don’t know if I will ever find out how many people came away from that speech wanting to get involved – maybe I’ll even meet some of them in the days to come – but I do know that Robin’s passion compelled at least a handful to look further into Congo. We will not reach everyone, but with people like Robin Wright advocating alongside us we will continue to broadcast the importance of working towards peace in Congo.
Photo: Corey (far right) with Robin Wright and student activists (Corey Jones).