Olivia Wilde, Ben Stiller, Danny Glover Pressure UN to Support RYOT's UNDENY Campaign
Pressure on the United Nations to take action to fight cholera in Haiti reached a tipping point today thanks to a grassroots activism campaign lead by the U.S.-based organization RYOT and the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti. The #UNDENY campaign shed light, gathered momentum and gained celebrity support pushing the United Nations to take responsibility for an epidemic raging out of control. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced today an anti-cholera initiative aimed at raising money to eliminate the disease in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Initially, $215 million in existing funds from bilateral and multilateral donors will be used to support the initiative.
Celebrities and high-profile individuals who viewed the film, such as Olivia Wilde and Elon Musk (producers of the film Baseball in the Time of Cholera), Ben Stiller, Maria Bello, Patricia Arquette, Oliver Stone, Rainn Wilson, Danny Glover and Incubus lead singer Brandon Boyd along with dozens of others, helped create a social media maelstrom that launched #UNDENY to the Top 5 Twitter trending hashtags in July and garnered the film nearly 300,000 views online.
Cholera arrived in Haiti just a few months after the earthquake in 2010, and strong evidence shows that U.N. peacekeepers brought the disease to the island. President Bill Clinton acknowledged that U.N. soldiers were the "proximate cause" of the cholera, major publications such as The Economist, New York Times, BBC News, USA Today, Huffington Post and dozens of celebrities and cause experts have laid the blame on the U.N., however, U.N. officials have yet to take any blame or issue an apology.
The World Premiere of the RYOT film Baseball in the Time of Cholera at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival in July, 2012 was the first major step in the grassroots advocacy campaign "UNDENY" that exposed the U.N.'s role in the cholera epidemic and led to the announcement today. The film follows the cholera outbreak through the lives of Haiti's first Little League baseball team, portraying the disaster as a major U.N. scandal. Baseball in the Time of Cholera and UNDENY gained further traction after screenings on Capitol Hill and in London at the Olympic games: 104 members of Congress signed an official letter to Ambassador Susan Rice, urging the U.N. to take responsibility and take action to prevent further damage, and Esquire Magazine featured the film and RYOT co-founders Bryn Mooser and David Darg as 2012 Americans of the Year.
"It is great to see the power of the people at work, with the power of social media the world is watching much closer and speaking louder" Said Bryn Mooser, one of RYOT's co-founders. "The UNDENY project of RYOT's is a true indicator of the power of a grassroots, social media movement to drive change and force the writers of history to address — if not take full responsibility for — their actions."
"This is the reason we founded RYOT," added co-founder David Darg. "Martin Luther King said, 'A riot is the language of the unheard,' and it is our goal through RYOT to give a voice to the voiceless."
Although there is no explicit mention of the cause of the cholera outbreak in the U.N. press announcement, by launching this cholera initiative, they are implicitly noting their responsibility in the epidemic. RYOT's Baseball in the Time of Cholera and UNDENY campaign palyed a vital role in forcing the U.N.'s hand.
Everyday we turn to news outlets to get reports of recent events or learn previously unknown information. Up until now, news has been all about "What's going on in the world?" RYOT lets you know "What's going on in the world and how YOU can be a part of it." RYOT is the only news outlet bringing you updates as they happen and letting you become part of the story. With RYOT, you Become the News. The RYOT Foundation also exists to elevate at risk children to a place of safety in the developing world. Through innovative projects and strategic partnerships, RYOT foundation focuses on sustainable ways to foster hope in the midst of despair. We believe children everywhere should not only have access to basic needs such as food, water and shelter but that they also have the right to joy and fun. The RYOT Foundation not only focuses on essential relief but also funds programs that allow kids to be kids, no matter what their surroundings dictate. The key to a better world isn't just keeping the next generation alive, it's about allowing the next generation to be creative, to love and appreciate life and ultimately, to dream. Visit RYOT.org
BASEBALL IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA
As a Cholera epidemic rages in Haiti, the United Nations denies it is responsible for introducing the disease despite glaring evidence suggesting Nepalese peacekeepers are to blame. Baseball in the Time of Cholera is the story of a young Haitian boy who plays in Haiti's first little league baseball team and the Haitian Lawyer seeking justice against the UN. As the epidemic spreads, the two stories intersect in the struggle for survival and justice. The film Baseball In The Time of Cholera has over 250,000 views on Youtube, watch it here
W O R K H O U S E
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