BEATS GEEK CHIC: EPISODE 2

Ep. 2: November 19, 2015

Beats Geek Chic seeks to find the genesis of creativity from which the colorful industries of music, technology and design are born!

On this episode, Daryle talks the art of photography, Marc describes his love of music from Mint Condition to Britney Spears, and Kevin tells us why he thinks that Apple isn’t actually a tech company…hmm.

Please do us a solid by taking the quick polls below and dropping a comment or two about what you just heard. Your feedback will help us get better at the podcasting thing!

When The Ambassadors Circle was founded in 2016, we set out to build a collective that would support changemakers and help them do more good. The stakes were high then and they are even higher now.

As we’ve been sheltering in place in response to COVID-19, we've heard from folks around the Circle and no one has been left unscathed. The organizations we’ve been working with had big-impact 2020 plans including several major events. Like the rest of the world, all of these in person events that took hundreds of collective hours to produce were cancelled in the blink of an eye. 

EPISODE DETAILS

An open invitation for artists and performers interested in participating in Survivors Speak 2020 hosted in the State Capitals of Florida, Illinois, Ohio, California, Michigan, and Pennsylvania as well as Houston, Texas

Over the last seven years, Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice (CSSJ) has hosted annual conventions for survivors of crime, system leaders, and influencers from across the country to call for a reallocation of corrections resources, with a primary focus on prevention, rehabilitation and support for crime victims.  Highlighting communities that are typically the most harmed yet the least helped, crime survivors come together each year to advocate for safer communities by sharing their personal stories to bring about change!

This movement has helped increase the number of trauma recovery centers across the country, passed historic laws as well as other smart safety solutions that prioritize the needs of survivors.  And the movement is growing with over 30,000 members across the country!

Each event brings people together from all walks of life who have directly or indirectly experienced violent crime. The conference is designed for survivors to honor themselves and their loved ones as well as bring about policy change that will result in safer communities.

Melanie Fiona and guitarist duo at Survivors Speak California
The Jesus Diaz Band performing at Survivors Speak California 2019

In addition to powerful speakers, the artists and performers that connect to this effort and contribute their talent and energy help to make each of these events memorable and honorable.  

On behalf of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice, The Ambassadors Circle is curating local professionals, especially those that are crime survivors, to participate in the production of Survivors Speak 2020 in the following areas through paid stipends:

  • Cultural performances, choirs and dance troupes (Multilingual welcome!)
  • DJs, musical and spoken word artists, bands and performers

Please share this info with your Circle and encourage interested parties to submit an inquiry by completing the form below.  All submissions will receive a response from a member of our team.

The Ambassadors Circle

 

 


I’ve never really been involved in local politics. It’s just not my jam. Until my best friend decided to go for her big dream and run for an elected position in a major city. Then it became personal.

I’ve never really been involved in local politics. It’s just not my jam. Now best believe I’m all about the Presidential elections. I was all about mobilizing to get the Obamas in the White House – foam fingers and everything. And I will say that as far as local and midterm elections go, I am at least the voter who knows there is an election, fills out my ballot, gets my sticker and then I’m peace out. Civic duty done. That was me. Until my best friend decided to go for her big dream and run for an elected position in a major city. Then it became personal.

I jumped in as a relative first timer into local politics. All the way in. I did it all. For over a year. And I found myself experiencing a flood of firsts that has shifted my view on what civic duty these days actually means.

First, I found the Dept of Elections. In my city, it’s in the basement of City Hall and you can go there. Pretty much anytime. And watch them count ballots. Who knew?

I found out what it’s like to be a political fundraiser. Many of the people who I assumed would jump in immediately and early based on personal relationships ....well let’s just say, phones started to go a little quiet. Ok no big whoop. I’ve raised millions of philanthropic fundraising dollars. I can certainly raise thousands of political fundraising dollars. Well I found out pretty quickly that political fundraising is a different thing altogether. There are different motivations. In philanthropy, there is an underlying assumption of altruism and trust. In political fundraising, there’s a healthy amount of skepticism at jump. And after several rounds of early phone calls, I realized there are more “maybe laters” than I expected.

And it takes calls. Lots of calls. And texts. Lots of texts. And emails. So many emails. I soon came up with a hashtag #youaintmaxedoutyet and used it to jokingly shame people into maxing out their donation. Which I learned in a local race like this one, was raising three quarters of a million dollars, in $500 increments. $500?! Do you have any idea how many $500 donations you need to get to $750k? A helluva lot. So I called a lot of people. It was a rare and humbling experience. But I learned that you can really reconnect with people who you thought you already knew in unexpected ways. You can uncover their concerns and passions in ways you may not have before. And it was abundantly clear that we all care about and love our community. So that was a win.

I found out that canvassing (a.k.a. door knocking) isn’t all that bad. Many people open their doors in this town (which blows my mind cause lawd knows we don’t open doors for nobody we’re not expecting). I had some lovely conversations with really caring folks and saw more firsthand about how people live. And I found out there is an entire generation of 20 and 30 somethings living in their grandparent’s paid off homes making six figures at Twitter. The transfer of wealth is happening. Right now. But that’s for another conversation.

I found out the terrifying power of the media narrative and what it feels like to be on the receiving end of judgment, criticism and gossip – whether accurate or not. I saw the coalitions being developed. I saw the ugly political machine at work. I cyber argued with moms on Facebook about why my best friend was the best candidate. It was unreal. Again, this was not me. This was not my jam. But my best friend was in the ring and my job was to be in her corner. To encourage her I would send throwback 90s videos like Mariah Carey and 2Pac at 5:30am to get her ready for whatever the day would bring. And anytime you can rock to 90s music, well that’s just a win.

I also found out what it feels like to lose. Yup. She lost. The race was incredibly close. At one point, there was a 26 vote difference between the candidates. I don’t think I had ever seen a situation where literally every. vote. counted. We ended up having to wait several days to confirm the winner due to our city’s ranked choice voting system. This was an excruciating week of local politics in action. No one could breathe. My phone was blowing up by the hour from people all over the country asking for updates (we had now reached national headlines). We hovered anxiously for the 4pm update each day. We gave it our all until the very end. And it was a gut punch. It felt like grief and it still hurts. That was not a win.

I love my best friend and I’m so so sorry she lost. But I know she’ll be ok. I know we will be ok. I know we’ll continue to dance to 90s jams and reminisce about college life – before there were husbands, kids and big political races. Because we know the power of the win is the journey not the destination. And I could not be more proud of her. The resolve, courage and tenacity that this mother of three brought to the table should make every person proud. She WENT FOR IT. All of it. And that is the biggest win in my book.

Because of her I also now better understand the incredibly passionate people who we depend on every year to facilitate our voting democracy. I understand these people a little better now. I understand the late nights and early mornings. I understand the tears. I get the deep belief. I have a clearer view into the work it takes to get the candidate you believe in with all your heart and soul elected for office.

I think now that I’ve been taking them for granted. Because ultimately, our voting democracy (when implemented fairly and justly) is elegantly and beautifully designed. By the grace of God, this year it happened to be designed for a black woman like me who is just one generation removed from the passing of the Voting Rights Act. I became a part of that implementation. In my own city. In my own way. And that makes me proud.

In 2020, I hope we can appreciate these folks a little more. I hope that we can all jump in like our best friend is running. There’s too much to do to expect the small few to carry it all. They need our help. They need us to say yes. Champion the issues you care about. Stand with the candidates you believe in.

Just say yes. Over and over. Until the yeses lead to the wins - at the ballot box or along the way.

Then continue to say yes. Say yes until your city, county and state makes you the proudest you’ve ever been. It’s time.

See you on the streets,
LT

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LT Hilton is a Founding Ambassador with The Ambassadors Circle, a collective on a mission to inspire and equip our tribes to Do More Good. In her role as Ambassador, she focuses her efforts across nine passion areas like the environmental crisis and criminal justice reform. She also works to #producemoregood by offering full-service fundraising, marketing, and production services to help amplify the efforts of do-gooders who are leading some of the most important social movements of our time.


Over the next few weeks, we’ll share our insights, observations and learnings in a multi-part blog series on the importance of the role of DA.

Photo Credit: Brett Sayles
[The District Attorney is] "supposed to make sure the guilty don’t go free and the innocent don’t suffer.” - Interim San Francisco District Attorney, Suzy Loftus

If you’re anything like me, you were completely devastated when the CBS hit series ‘The Good Wife' ended. The show not only consumed my Sunday nights but it also seemed to be one of the few shows that shed some light on the ambiguous role of “district attorney” – a role that seems to shape so much of how justice goes down in our own backyards.  I’m lightweight ashamed to admit that until watching this show, I was unaware that district attorneys are voted for, not appointed. However because of the show, I was able to witness a perspective of the district attorney and learn a bit more about why the role of DA is so important.

A couple weeks ago I tuned into Ava Duvernay’s Netflix show, ‘When They See Us’, the 4-part series that has been the most watched series in the US since it’s premier on May 31. The series details the behind the scenes story of the famed Central Park 5 and features victims, perpetrators,  prosecutors and jurors who were involved in their conviction and exoneration. The series demonstrates the level of influence a district attorney can hold and between that and the Good Wife, I was inspired to want to know more.

So we called on Ambassadors Hillary Blout, Jill Habig and Suzy Loftus to help us enlighten the circle on the role of the modern prosecutor, a term growing in use to describe a prosecutor that takes into consideration the intersectionality of the role as it relates to mass incarceration and the ripple effects on communities. As part of our homework we reviewed several articles (see list below) and the 21 Principles for the 21st Century Prosecutor, published by the Brennan Center for Justice  - a guide to help prosecutors “transform their offices and their profession.”

Over the next few weeks, we’ll share our insights, observations and learnings in a multi-part blog series on the importance of the role of DA.  We’ll take you behind the scenes (IRL) to share some inspiration and learn more about this elected position. Today we start with Suzy Loftus, who’s running for San Francisco District Attorney. As a first-time candidate, Suzy is motivated by “the responsibility to create safety in a way that is different and maybe hasn’t been done before.”

So, what does a district attorney actually do? Let’s talk about it. According to Suzy, [the District Attorney is] “supposed to make sure the guilty don’t go free and the innocent don’t suffer.” She emphasizes, “You don't get to choose a side when you're the prosecutor. You represent the people. And the people are the defendant. The defendant is one of the people too. The survivor is one of the people. And the witnesses are one of the people.” 

Now as we know, this doesn’t always ring true for all people, particularly low-income people of color. The relationship between the District Attorney and many communities of color can be characterized as strained at best. However, District Attorneys play an important role in some of the most important topics that impact us all no matter where you live, work and play. Here in my hometown of San Francisco, the issue of this city’s handling of assault cases and how to help sexual assault survivors, the closing of juvenile hall (by 2021), and the issue of cash bail (on the California 2020 ballot) are all relevant topics that the district attorney must address. So it’s #TimeforAction, Circle:

#TimeforAction -  search for the name of the District Attorney in your ‘hood and  setup a google alert so you can have news headlines sent to your inbox. There just might be a district attorney election coming up in your community!

Our goal with this conversation is to INSPIRE you to pay attention, CONNECT you with others around the Circle who care deeply about this topic and EQUIP you with simple steps you can take to increase your advocacy wherever you live.   In the next part of our series, we’ll dive deeper with Ambassador Jill Habig into the little known scope of authority District Attorney offices hold. For example, did you know District Attorneys can also proactively help protect residents from corporate abuse and environmental pollution?  Yea. Us either. 

Stay tuned with this ongoing series and be sure to stay/get connected with us on social as we share more about what we learn over the months ahead!

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https://sfist.com/2019/06/18/district-attorney-candidates-talk-crime-punishment-and-replacing-gascon-in-debate/

https://www.sfexaminer.com/the-city/da-candidates-offer-competing-proposals-to-help-sexual-assault-survivors/

Ambassador Jade-Olivia is a native Detroiter and storyteller who lives for chai tea lattes and tear-inducing laughter. She spends most of her time doing improv, being an IG comedian, and in search of the next best breakfast burrito.

The writing’s been on the wall for a while now: we’ve gotta reduce our plastic use, Circle!

The writing’s been on the wall for a while now: we’ve gotta reduce our plastic use, Circle!

Out of the 9 passion areas The Ambassadors Circle focuses on, we’re zeroing in on Environmental Sustainability this July. The stakes around are environment have never been higher for present and future generations to urgently pivot towards more eco-friendly ways, which is why we’ve been focused on engaging Ambassadors around practical ways we can use our personal influence to protect the planet - as in things you can do right now, today.

In the past we’ve encouraged the Circle to think mindfully about our wardrobes and begin making a transition to ethical and sustainable fashion.  Now, The Ambassadors Circle invites you to join us in taking the #PlasticFreeJuly challenge to help us jump start new habits to eventually alleviate single use plastics in our lives.

Why go plastic-free, you ask? The facts speak for themselves…

  • Over 8 million tons of plastic are dumped in our oceans each year
  • 1 in 3 species of marine mammals are found entangled in plastic litter
  • Over 90% of all seabirds have plastic pieces in their stomachs
  • Approximately 50% of plastic products are used only once before being thrown away
  • In the past 10 years, we’ve produced (and thrown away) more plastic than in the entire past century
    (Source: Plastic Oceans Foundation)

And in case that’s not enough to get your attention….

If we keep up our current rate of producing plastic waste each year, scientists estimate that pound for pound, there’ll be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans by the year 2050

#PlasticFreeJuly is an opportunity for us all to break free from our dependency on single-use plastics, and start working towards a more sustainable world. It all began in 2011 when Australian government worker Rebecca Prince-Ruiz toured her local recycling facility and, shocked by the mountain of plastic waste that just one suburb had produced, started a campaign with the goal of encouraging her local community to change their plastic-reliant behaviors. Since then, #PlasticFreeJuly has mobilized over 120 million people in 177 countries around the globe to take steps towards reducing their daily plastic use, and the movement’s only getting stronger each year!

If the prospect of going totally cold (plastic) turkey is a little daunting, you’re certainly not alone. In signing up for the challenge, you can commit to something as manageable as bringing your own bags to the grocery store for just one day or week -- and, as you increase your plastic-free finesse, you always have the option to go back and step it up. 

By committing to a #PlasticFreeJuly, you’re not only doing more good for our oceans, but for yourself as well - the Earth is everyone’s home, and it’s the only one we’ve got! And by changing your consumer habits and bumping up your advocacy, you’re helping to push industries and companies to change their ways and reduce their dependence on single-use, waste-creating plastics. 

Ambassador J did the challenge two years ago and said this about his experience, “This challenge helped open my eyes to just how much plastic I was using for a few moments but every single day of my life.  While I never imagined I’d be this dude, today I’ve rid myself of the habit of using straws, use a bamboo toothbrush and utensils and carry a water bottle with me everywhere I go. And can’t stop sharing what I learned with peeps around me!”

Over the past few years, consumer advocacy has made a huge impact on global business practices, with companies like Evian and McDonald’s committing to going completely plastic-free in the next decade. The change is spreading to the political arena, too - peep this list of cities and countries who’ve led the way in banning single-use plastics around the globe! 

So now, it’s time for us to turn up the heat and go all-in on the #PlasticFreeJuly challenge as a first step to changing habits for the first time or going even deeper if you’ve already started the change! 

The Ambassadors Circle is looking for 20 folks around the Circle to join us in this challenge. and then share what you learn with your circle as a way to inspire and equip them to do more good.  Down to join us? DM or shoot us a reply on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, then join the challenge at https://www.plasticfreejuly.org/take-the-challenge/

Here’s a few ways to get started:

  • When out and ordering a beverage begin asking your server NOT to bring you a straw if plastic. This action tends to be an easy first step to developing mental toughness around this new habit.
  • Use a reusable bottle and try to rid yourself of using single use plastic water bottles and then purchase a bamboo cutlery set to keep in your backpack or purse to avoid one time use of spoons, forks and knives..  reusable produce/grocery bags in multiple places (ie car, backpack, stroller, etc)
  • Instead of single use plastic baggies and wraps pack your lunch and small food items in reusable containers and bags.
  • Opt for fresh fruits and veggies and bulk items instead of products that come in single serving cups

(Source: Green Education Foundation)

Ambassador Sophia Cross is a Bay native who loves modern dance and dollar book bins. You can find her beachside, trailside, or anywhere that serves a killer breakfast sandwich.

Their mission is to protect the rights of vulnerable communities

Jill Habig and Affirmative Litigation Fellows | Credit: Lisa Vortman Photography

Jill Habig and Affirmative Litigation Fellows | All Photos: Lisa Vortman Photography

Have you ever hosted a party and only anticipated a few people would show up, only to be pleasantly surprised when you had a full house? Well, that’s essentially what Ambassador Jill Habig experienced when she launched her newest fellowship, Affirmative Leaders Fellowship, at her org, Public Rights Project. Jill and her team anticipated an inaugural cohort of 10 and ended up with a cohort almost 3x that, capping off at 29 fellows. Talk about a party! It gets better -- 41% are P.O.C., 55% are women, and they’re spread across 23 offices.

So by now you’re probably wondering what this fellowship is all about and why so many folks wanted to be a part of it. Before we dive into that, let’s take a look at the founder of Public Rights Project, Jill Habig, and her background to get a better sense of why this work is important.

Jill’s first career was not law. It was ballet. Yes, you read that right. Jill Habig was 14 years old when she left home (a small town in Indiana) to attend an elite performing arts boarding school where she trained 5 hours a day, everyday. After high school she moved to NYC to pursue classical ballet as a career. Much to her dismay, after being in NYC for over a year she wasn’t considered thin enough for professional ballet, despite attempting to starve herself to achieve the ideal weight industry professionals were looking for. Realizing the long-term effects that an eating disorder would have on her life had she decided to pursue a career in professional ballet, she chose to pivot and relocated across the country to California to discover how she could make a lasting impact.

Here was Jill, a 20 something just out of law school determined to leave a legacy. A small town girl with tremendous courage and unwavering tenacity, Jill knew the power of legal strategy and the importance of doing good for historically marginalized and vulnerable communities. She knew she had to create something and after working for California Attorney General Kamala Harris’s office, she did. In 2017 she launched her nonprofit, Public Rights Project, and immediately got to work helping state and local government offices close the gap between the values expressed in our laws and the lived reality of our most vulnerable communities.

Of course that wasn’t the end of it. The cases Public Rights Project was encountering were focused around the three pillars of the organization: Civil Rights, Economic Justice, and Environmental Justice. Creating a talent pipeline for lawyers focused on this line of work was one thing but what about the other folks who’d been working in state and local government offices interested in the same thing? How could Public Rights Project equip those mid-career professionals to develop the skills necessary to do more good, proactively, for their communities? Public Rights Project created Affirmative Leaders Fellowship as the answer. The Fellowship provides one year of training and professional development, plus access to a national network of impact litigators within government, to current state and local government attorneys. This support enables fellows to initiate, expand, or deepen the impact of their office’s equitable enforcement work by addressing the urgency of racial and gender equity, federal housing and urban development, and overall protection of basic human rights.

Recognizing that the federal government that was once trusted is now failing us, in addition to the current political climate, Affirmative Leaders Fellowship has been introduced at just the right time. Guest panelist Jesse Newmark of Centro Legal de la Raza, describes the fellowship as highly unique, explaining, “As far as I know, something like this -- bringing together government attorneys from across the country to really focus on proactive enforcement for communities -- I haven’t heard of that happening before.” Last year, Jesse, along with his colleagues at Centro Legal de la Raza, and Oakland City Attorney Barbara J. Parker, secured a settlement with the owners of an East Oakland hotel that systematically violated state and local labor laws, including Oakland’s recently passed Minimum Wage and Sick Leave Ordinance. The housekeepers in that case had been denied overtime pay, sick leave, and rest breaks, in addition to being subjected to other illegal conduct. It’s because of organizations like Centro Legal de la Raza and Public Rights Project that the rights of vulnerable communities are protected. The Affirmative Leaders Fellowship was made to build capacity to do just that.

So the next time you consider hosting a party, think about Jill and her team, then add a few more place settings, because if you do it right (and you will!) more peeps will be sure to come!

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Want more updates on other projects in the Public Service & Government passion area? Stay tuned with The Ambassador’s Circle @theacircle and be sure to follow Public Rights Project on Facebook @PublicRights Project and Twitter @public_rights

Interested in using your influence to do more good?  Join the Circle today and get connected!

Ambassador Jade-Olivia is a native Detroiter and storyteller who lives for chai tea lattes and tear-inducing laughter. She spends most of her time doing improv, being an IG comedian, and in search of the next best breakfast burrito.

Alisha Speaks on Caring for Her Mom After She Completed Her Sentence

“After her time was done and her sentence was fully completed, I asked myself when was her sentence done?” - Alisha speaking on her Mom after she was released from incarceration.

The Ambassadors Circle (with Red Earth LA) was fortunate to sit down with folks who have been negatively impacted by the over 40,000 legal barriers faced by 70 million Americans with a record or conviction even after serving their time and paying their debts.

We heard brave stories about the shame that sometimes covers them and their families, challenges getting suitable housing or employment and feeling the effects of a criminal justice system gone awry.

#TimeDone is an effort to remove legal barriers that don't make sense and don't provide opportunities for individuals to successfully integrate back into our communities.

Learn More

https://timedone.org/


Liz Talks About the Collateral Damage Done to Families

"My dad’s conviction, tore our family apart. And I saw that play out first hand with my sister. Who at 21 received her own felony conviction.” - Liz

The Ambassadors Circle (with Red Earth LA) was fortunate to sit down with folks who have been negatively impacted by the over 40,000 legal barriers faced by 70 million Americans with a record or conviction even after serving their time and paying their debts.

We heard brave stories about the shame that sometimes covers them and their families, challenges getting suitable housing or employment and feeling the effects of a criminal justice system gone awry.

#TimeDone is an effort to remove legal barriers that don't make sense and don't provide opportunities for individuals to successfully integrate back into our communities.

Learn More
https://timedone.org/


Minister Baker Shares How an Old Conviction Can Follow You Later in Life

"I found out later, that the charge was still on my record. Matter of fact, it’s still on my record today.” - Minister Baker

The Ambassadors Circle (with Red Earth LA) was fortunate to sit down with folks who have been negatively impacted by the over 40,000 legal barriers faced by 70 million Americans with a record or conviction even after serving their time and paying their debts.

We heard brave stories about the shame that sometimes covers them and their families, challenges getting suitable housing or employment and feeling the effects of a criminal justice system gone awry.

#TimeDone is an effort to remove legal barriers that don't make sense and don't provide opportunities for individuals to successfully integrate back into our communities.

Learn More
https://timedone.org/


Nipsey Hussle and the #TimeDone Movement

As Ambassadors of Criminal Justice Reform, we're honored to support change makers like Jay JordanCalifornians for Safety and Justice and Nipsey Hussle who helped launch the Time Done movement before he passed.  As many of us continue to mourn the loss of this prolific artist, entrepreneur and activist, we also continue to amplify this important campaign to change policies that negatively impact 70 million Americans who face a lifetime of barriers due to a past conviction or record.

On a chilly October night at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, several of us watched Nipsey Hussle, Goapele, Ty Dolla $ign launch the #TimeDone campaign. In between their performances, we stood with pride as concert goers watched feature videos that we produced with Red Earth LA, sharing the stories of Jay and several others impacted by the 48,000 legal restrictions on people living with past convictions.

Fast forward from that night and we were with our fam from Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice at #SurvivorsSpeak Florida when we got the news that Nipsey Hussle had been shot and pronounced dead.  We stood in front of a team of people ready to welcome crime survivors from all over the state of Florida just as close-to-home violence stole our enthusiasm and weighed on our hearts in a tragically familiar way.

Those of us old enough to experience the tragic deaths of Tupac, Biggie Smalls, Mac Dre and many others were familiar with this feeling.  Just as an early generation knew the sting of violence with giants like Marvin Gaye and Sam Cooke, we knew once again that we'd lost a hero, a role model and a young man with influence who was trying to do more good in his community.

In the work of doing good, we are often in close contact with tragic topics, negativity and the realities of the darkness that our human society is capable of.  So it was especially gratifying to watch the internet embrace and widely share this recent video that paid tribute to Nipsey and reminded viewers that the work of #TimeDone is just getting started.

Criminal Justice Reform is one of the Ambassadors Circle's 9 passion areas, and we are humbled to be able to support and amplify this important work. We are thankful to the creatives we work who help us produce digital media with meaning that can influence and carry a positive message around the world.

We invite and encourage you to watch and share the suite of videos and text Time Done to 72345 to join the movement. 

Just like the marathon, the work to do more good continues. We thank all of you around the Circle for your support and dedication to make change happen in our lifetime!

 

Ambassadors LT & j-