Girl Be Heard Takes on the Refugee Crisis
GIRL BE HEARD (girlbeheard.org), the New York City-based nonprofit theatre company that empowers young women to become brave, confident, socially conscious leaders, is celebrating World Refugee Day, with the announcement of our new show, Displaced. This show, written and performed by twelve girls in New York City in collaboration with girls living in refugee girls abroad, is based on personal stories of women and girls living in conflict zones in the US and throughout the world.
"Internal conflicts and displacement take place throughout the world, from the US to the the Balkans," says Betsy Perez, Girl Be Heard writer and performer, from the South Bronx. "Working in a shelter for homeless youth here in NYC, and being a homeless youth myself, I know what it's like to be displaced here on American soil and am so moved by the refugee girls we are working with to tell these important stories."
Artistic Director Ashley Marinaccio is spearheading a rigorous educational program for the cast and crew in New York City, connecting with experts, activists, and displaced girls to gain a deeper understanding of human rights issues affecting girls as a result of the international refugee crisis, from trafficking to access to healthcare and education.
Girl Be Heard has a long history of exploring notions of "home" and identity through their work with girls ages 12-21, many of whom have personal experience with homelessness, displacement, and immigration. This project is an important part of Girl Be Heard's mission to enable girls to connect their personal and local experience with those of girls worldwide.
"Girls forced to leave their country are among the most vulnerable populations in the world. This is why Girl Be Heard has created on private Facebook page to connect with displaced girls around the world and are producing this show to bring the story of girl refugees to the global stage," says Jessica Greer Morris, Executive Director of Girl Be Heard.
Beyond the online platform, Girl Be Heard is working with the State Department and the Danish sports-for-peace organization Sensational Football to allow members of the ensemble to also work in refugee camps this summer as part of Girl Be Heard's Across Borders tour this summer.
The issue of homelessness is a very personal one for Girl Be Heard with the dramatic rise (72%) of homeless children in the United States as a result of the recession. The highest number on record was reported in the 2001-2012 at 1,168,354 (Charles Blow, New York Times).
Girl Be Heard provides a safe environment for girls to write, direct and perform theatre productions under the guidance of professional directors, playwrights, actors, activists and intellectuals. Girl Be Heard's performances have received critical acclaim from The White House, The United Nations, the New Yorker, The New York Times, Huffington Post, Ebony Magazine, National Public Radio, and media outlets across the globe. Join the movement at girlbeheard.org.
Girl Be Heard Special Advisors and Friends
"Girl Be Heard gives us hope. They are the future."-- Jane Fonda
"I have seen the Girl Be Heard, and I want to invite you to join in the joy and learning and anger and recognition of listening to truth-telling as told by clear voices of girls before pretense or pressure have quieted them. They will inform, delight, alarm and help you to reawaken that authentic voice that still lives within you."-- Gloria Steinem
"It is incredibly moving to see Girl Be Heard using their creative talents to raise their voices in support of women struggling against gender specific human rights abuses in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo. It reminds us that no voice is too small or weak to make a difference."-- Lynn Nottage, Pulitzer Prize winning playwright
"Listening to the performers of Girl Be Heard wax poetic on the issues that face young women and humanity at large with such clarity and punch is awe inspiring to say the least. They make me want to man up!"--Nigel Barker, America's Next Top Model Host & United Nations Girl Up Champion