Nobel Peace Prize Nominee, Amanda Nguyen.
"... I needed to fight for my own civil rights and founded a nonprofit to help guarantee civil rights protections for other survivors as well. Justice is a civil right, not a privilege. "
You in a word -
On you –
I grew up in Southern California, but home today is Washington D.C.
On purpose and motivation –
I’m a civil rights astronaut. I founded Rise in 2014 after encountering a broken criminal justice system following my own sexual assault. I needed to fight for my own civil rights and founded a nonprofit to help guarantee civil rights protections for other survivors as well. Justice is a civil right, not a privilege.
On a moment of transformation –
During my time as an undergraduate at Harvard, I became a rape survivor. Clear and accurate information about my legal rights as a survivor was hard to find. My rape kit, along with many other survivors like me, was set to be destroyed much earlier than the statute of limitations. I remember walking in to the area rape counseling center, and found that the waiting room was completely full. At that moment, I realized I could accept the injustice or rewrite the law. One of these things is better than the other. From that experience, I fought to pass the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights through Congress. It became the 21st bill in US history to pass through congress unanimously. I founded Rise to teach other people how to pen their own rights into existence.
" No one is powerless when we come together. No one is invisible when we demand to be seen."
On your mantra-
No one is powerless when we come together. No one is invisible when we demand to be seen. Never give up hope that change is possible. Despite what you may see, hear, or feel, it’s important to know that you do have the power to make change. I repeat this to myself and to others each day.
What are you most excited about in the next 12 months?
There’s too many exciting things in the works to choose just one! For one, Rise is hard at work on our campaign to introduce a Worldwide Survivors’ Bill of Rights for more than 1.3 billion survivors of sexual assault. This means our team is traveling more than ever and meeting survivors across the world. The Rise family is growing and so are the number of people we’re protecting across the globe. This is just the beginning.
On life -
I’m a hugger. Violence is a painful topic for so many of us, and oftentimes the best way to wrap up a tense meeting or testimony is to embrace one another. Survivors are strongest in the arms of those in their communities. I really believe that.
On your favorite funny thing-
I love that ARTICLE22 transforms darkness into light through creative processes. We strive to do the same every day at Rise. love the "TELL THE STORY ONLY YOU CAN TELL" bangle by Kulap Vilaysack. As a survivor, telling your story is one of the scariest things you will ever do. I have found, however, that on the other side of incredible vulnerability is incredible freedom. My story goes on. My story is my power.