From challenging racism and sexism in the Civil Rights&–era Mississippi to exposing modern-day female circumcision throughout Africa and the Middle East, feminist hero Alice Walker has fought her battles far and wide. A household name since winning the Pulitzer Prize in 1983 for The Color Purple, Walker has addressed human rights issues through her writing in a dozen light-shedding books of both fiction and nonfiction. Now in her mid-60s, Walker’s unwavering dedication to social justice focuses on AIDS orphans in Kenya.
According to UNICEF, there are currently over 1 million children orphaned from parental AIDS deaths in Kenya each year. This astounding number feels even larger when considering the limited resources developing countries like Kenya have to address such crises. As with many issues around the globe, the task of tackling the effects of AIDS lie in the hands of grassroots and human-interest organizations. One of such groups is the Margaret Okari Children’s Foundation in remote Kisii, Kenya.
For over 13 years and with only $60 per month for each child, the Margaret Okari Children’s Foundation has provided shelter, education and healthcare for children who have been orphaned by AIDS. In addition to the orphanage, the foundation has recently built a boarding school for older children that opened its doors earlier this year.
Walker raises funds and a joyful noise for the foundation with a reading from her newest collection of poetry, Hard Times Require Furious Dancing on Sunday, Oct 25, at the Raven Theater. 115 North St., Healdsburg. Doors open at 1:30pm. $45&–$50; includes chocolate, tea and an art exhibit. 707.433.3365.
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