Last month, we launched our partnership with Rise, donating 15% of our sales to the Justice Lab's Survivor Safe Haven program. We asked Amanda to share a bit more of her story with us. Read our Q/A with Amanda Nguyen below.
WHAT IS YOUR STORY & THE INSPIRATION BEHIND RISE?
After my rape at Harvard, I felt despair. But I also felt fire. So when I met a broken criminal justice system -- like so many survivors who found out their rape kits can be destroyed -- I rewrote the law. I penned my own civil rights into existence and passed the Survivors’ Bill of Rights unanimously through Congress. It’s the 21stbill in modern US history to pass unanimously. Now unfortunately most rape cases are adjudicated in state courts. That’s why we have to pass these rights state by state. And over the past 4 years I’m so proud to say we’ve trained more than 200 organizers around the country to pass 32 laws.
WHAT IS RISE'S MISSON?
Rise empowers everyday people to pen their own civil rights into existence by training organizers using our years of legislative experience. By teaching survivors to turn their story into codified civil rights, we act not as a voice for the voiceless but as a platform to pass the mic.
WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR RISE WITHIN THE NEXT FEW YEARS?
Our vision for Rise is to create a place where anyone can come, with an idea to make their community a better place and have the tools and resources to turn that idea into a reality. We (fingers-crossed) expect to have passed laws in all 50 states within the next 4 years, so we’ve created a new program Rise Justice Labs to train people who want to pass legislation for any type of social issue in their own community.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR PROCESS BUILDING RISE — WHERE DID YOU START AND HOW DID IT GROW?
I created Rise because I needed civil rights. When I was faced with a labyrinth of rights for survivors I reached out to everyone I knew for help. After 7 months of organizing, we unanimously passed the Sexual Assault Survivors Bill of Rights through congress. After its passage we heard from more than 1 million people around the world sharing their stories and asking for help to pass legislation in their own communities. So we set out to teach them our model - Hopeanomics - and pass their own civil rights, and have since codified rights for over 84 million survivors.
WHAT ASPECT OF RISE ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?
I’m so proud of the team we’ve built. Survivors and allies from around the world reached out to us with their own stories wanting to make change in their communities. This grassroots, survivor-driven organizing model has been the key to our success in passing these laws and is the reason we’ve been able to sustain this movement. Anger can certainly fuel a movement but it cannot sustain it - only hope can. I’m so proud of our uncompromising approach to organizing and our ability to show people that you do not have to sacrifice your joy to make change, and I’m so grateful to Orcé for sharing that vision.
New to Rise? Tune into Yu-Chen's Fireside Chat on IGTV with Rise founder, Amanda Nguyen as they both share their stories.