Trailers and ads for the three-part documentary series A Path Appears have been popping up on my radar for the past few days.
It’s an exploration of gender-based oppression and civil rights violations around the world, focusing on the United States, Colombia, Haiti, and Kenya. The creators also involved celebrities, recognizing that—as Hollywood-ified and pandering to celebrity worship as it might seem—famous faces and personalities do draw more attention to social issues than the issues might otherwise receive.
A Path Appears doesn’t just focus on the negative. It also shares stories of everyday people who have dedicated themselves to creating change in the world—sometimes on a global scale, and other times in their own neighborhoods. It seeks to create “a roadmap to becoming a conscientious global citizen.”
The film is based on a book of the same title, written by Pulitzer Prize winning journalists and authors Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. Kristof is a New York Times columnist, and WuDunn used to write for the Times, but has moved on to being an executive, author, and lecturer.
A Path Appears isn’t their first book project together. Kristof and WuDunn have already written three best-sellers:
China Wakes: The Struggle for the Soul of a Rising Power
Thunder from the East: Portrait of a Rising Asia
Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide
I was going to share a quote about the book from the New York Times, but that seemed like it might come off a little biased. Just in the circumstances.
“Most people . . . . thought they had little choice but to reach for their checkbook and make a donation to a large established non-profit who spends about half the money on administration and fundraising, and the other half on some well-intentioned project that is rife with unintended consequences . . . .
“This book is about the ways that real help is provided through creative approaches that yield exceptional results efficiently. It is inspirational and practical at the same time. Instead of the classic approach to philanthropy of riding into town to solve a problem, the focus of A Path Appears is more about people and groups who find the opportunities to help people and communities help themselves.”
The film will be shown on PBS in three parts on January 26, February 2, and February 9. You can watch a trailer here.
The A Path Appears website also has resources to help people who want to help by volunteering, either globally or in their community. If you can’t volunteer, they have an extensive list of companies you can purchase products from, who donate profits to good causes.
I’m looking forward to the film, and I’ll post a review of the book when I finish it.
In 2015, when so many of us have access to the internet and resources that generations of humanity never could have imagined, it’s easier than ever to get creative and work a little good in the world. We have the tools to connect with one another in ways we never could have done even 20 years ago. We have the power to influence and affect people with our words, images, and creativity. We have real power to raise awareness, and create real change—if not on a global scale, then in our communities.
There are approximately a bajillion charities, non-profits, and other organizations out there to give your time or money to. What do you care about? The animals in the Sarah McLachlan commercials? The starving children in the Save the Children ads? Providing micro-loans to people in Third-World countries so they can start businesses and make lasting economic and social impact in their communities?
Maybe you don’t know what you care about yet.
A Path Appears will probably give you a few ideas. And then the internet can give you a few more. Watch it!
L. Marrick is an author, ghostwriter, and suitcase entrepreneur—which is a hipster way of saying she travels and works from her laptop. Her memoir, “Working Girl: 132 Somewhat Moral Values I Learned from a Sex Worker,” tells about when she answered a shady classified ad and wound up working as a sex worker’s personal assistant. Her blog, Somewhat Moral Project, is where she writes about trafficking, sex work, and the differences between them. Her professional website, Copy&Sundry, is where she connects with ghostwriting and blogging clients.
© L. Marrick 2015. The content of this article, except for quoted or linked source materials, is protected by copyright. Please contact the author at the above links to request usage.