WHAT BETTER LOOKS LIKE: An Introduction
by Liz Graydon
In 1992, while teaching an 8th Grade Social Studies class, I offered my students the following challenge: “You are the future-it is up to you to make the world a better place.”
An extraordinary young woman named Jessica challenged back, “What would better look like?”[EXPAND Read more…]”What do you mean?” I asked, unprepared for the question.
She responded, “This is how the world is. If you want me to make it better, what would that look like?”
For the last twenty years, Jessica’s question has become my North Star—the guiding light that has shaped my choices as I move through life. As I have come closer to answering the question in my own life, I have felt the need to open the discussion to a wider audience. In response, my husband, Rob Graydon, filmmaker, and I created What BETTER Looks Like. What BETTER Looks Like, through films, Public Service Announcements, Education Programs, and other creative projects opens a dialogue into the question “What would better look like?” We invite people, through us and with each other, to dialogue about the question and seek positive answers.
When it came time for us to incorporate, I wanted to find Jessica to let her know how her question had affected me. After a quick Google search, I found her, giving us the opportunity to reconnect. Twenty years after she asked her unforgettable question, I had the honor of attending her wedding.[/EXPAND]
AMAHORO (PEACE) WOMEN: An Introduction
by Liz Graydon
In September of 2007, six of our founding members attended a conference on Women, Power and Peace at the Omega Institute in New York. Among the attendees was Christine Schuler Deschryver who works with women who have been victims of extreme violence in The Democratic Republic of Congo. Her stories left us shaken, disturbed and moved. On the last day of the conference, Robin Deluca-Acconi, said to the rest of us, “Tomorrow these women are getting on planes and heading back to face these same conditions. Are we okay with that?” Our answer to that question led us to create Amahoro Women, a very special aspect of the What BETTER Looks Like Campaign. Amahoro means “peace” in Kinyarwandan, the language of Rwanda.[EXPAND Read more…]One of our founding members, Marie Goretti Ukeye, who is from Rwanda, inspired us with the following thought: “After witnessing how well the genocide was planned, I came to a realization that the same way we use our energy to plan a war, or genocide, or violence, we can use the same energy to plan peace and nonviolence.” With that as our inspiration, we planned a trip to the countries of Rwanda and D.R. Congo in October/November 2010 to connect with those in need. While there, we visited the Heal Africa Hospital in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo. Touched by the women we spoke to and held hands with who were recovering from surgery–including surgery resulting from significant gender-based violence–WBLL helped to fund 9 of Heal Africa’s safe houses. WBLL also donated for repairs for the Imbabazi Orphanage in Rwanda, and began to support residents of a small village comprised of people who are “the poorest of the poor” and survivors of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Our intention for this first What BETTER Looks Like humanitarian mission was to determine how we could best serve the unique needs of various Rwandan and Congolese communities. Our focus is healing, economic support, educational assistance, and other help requested by these communities. [/EXPAND]
AMAHORO WOMEN IN RWANDA/CONGO