Robin Williams: Remembering The Activist
by Angela Smith, HEAL Coordinator
Robin Williams was many things including a great entertainer and activist. Williams performed benefit concerts and supported human rights efforts with and for the American Civil Liberties Union (www.aclu.org), Comic Relief (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0250306/), UNICEF (http://www.unicefusa.org/stories/unicef-usa-mourns-actor-robin-williams-1951-2014/18557) and Amnesty International (http://youtu.be/9ZUudkpUCJc). (Additional Sources: http://activistresource.org/calendar/cal_event.php?id=1598, http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-robin-williams-charity-work-20140811-story.html.)
The ACLU works as a guardian and defender of civil liberties in the US. Their work includes children's rights and youth rights. HEAL supports the work of the ACLU. To learn more, visit: https://www.aclu.org/human-rights/childrens-rights.
The Comic Relief benefit concert ran periodically from 1986 through 2010. Comic Relief appears to still be organizing. Comic Relief is an entertainment-based charity working to provide resources to those who are financially challenged. HEAL members have donated to Comic Relief and supported its efforts. For more information, visit: http://comicrelief.org/?page_id=2.
UNICEF is the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund. UNICEF both advocates for global children's rights as well as reports on and intervenes on serious human rights crises involving children and child exploitation. HEAL supports UNICEF. For more information, visit: www.unicef.org.
Amnesty International addresses international human rights violations, including some criticism of human rights abuses in US institutions. Amnesty International also works on children's rights around the world. HEAL supports Amnesty International (Sources: http://www.amnestyusa.org/pdf/custodyissues.pdf and http://www.amnesty.org/en/children)
Beyond the charitable and activist work Robin Williams engaged in, he also chose roles that impacted audiences emotionally, politically, and philosophically. "Dead Poets Society" (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097165/) addressed issues related to the oppression of youth and progressive educators by fascistic school authorities. "Man of the Year" (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0483726/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_23) addressed issues related to corruption of public elections. In "Law and Order: SVU", in 2008, Robin Williams played a man pushed over his rational limits who tried exposing fascism in the US through unethical acts. (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0203259/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_18)
We have lost a friend and ally this week. May his life and work continue to inspire others to use their celebrity for good and their voice for progress.
In loving memory of Robin Williams, 1951-2014.
Update: Robin Williams committed suicide while in "rehab" at Hazelden. Hazelden recommends multiple fraudulent and abusive programs through their network. (Source: http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2014/08/12/robin-williams-had-recently-visited-hazelden/)