Take A Stand

03.08.14

10-Year-Old Vivienne Harr’s Poem for International Women’s Day

If you do one thing to celebrate International Women’s Day, read this poem and call to action written by 10-year-old Vivienne Harr, who is fighting child slavery with a lemonade stand.

Hiya. My name is Vivienne. I am 10.

When I was 8, I saw a photo by Lisa Kristine of two boys my age in Nepal living in slavery. I thought slavery ended with Abraham Lincoln. Boy was I wrong about that.

Today millions and millions of women and girls just like me are enslaved—actually enslaved! Can you believe that? It means they are forced to work, they don’t get paid, they are hurt and they cannot leave. Kids!

So this International Women’s Day, I’m a voice for them, because they don’t have one.

When I saw that photo, I thought of my little brother Turner in slavery. I said “compassion is not compassion without action. We have to do something.”

So we did. I decided to go with the only business experience I had: a lemonade stand. I wanted to help a lot of kids, so I started selling lemonade every day, rain or shine.

People said: “You’re just one little girl. How can someone so small beat something so big?”

I said: “Gandhi was one person; Mother Teresa was one person; Martin Luther King was one person; I am one person, too.” I didn’t think of all the reasons why I couldn’t. I thought of all the reasons why I must. That’s how kids think!

“You’re just one little girl. How can someone so small beat something so big?”

The stand was small at first. But day after day, it started to grow and grow and grow. Like a beautiful flower. Big things have small beginnings.

On day #173, the mayor of New York invited me to Times Square and I reached my goal of $100,000, enough to free a lot of kids from slavery.

I could have stopped, but how can I stop when kids are still in slavery? I kept going and we bottled the hope. My mom and dad helped me start a lemonade company that gives money to groups like Free the Slaves  and Nepal Youth Foundation  and International Justice Mission  to help the 18 million kids in slavery get free and stay safe. (They can’t just be free, they have to stay safe.)

We are really fair trade! That means the people who get our ingredients are treated fair. Seems fair to me! Did you know there are sugar farmers in Paraguay who can send their kids to school because we chose fair trade sugar! When we sell our lemonade, it gets kids out of slavery. When we make our lemonade, it keeps them out!

I wrote a book with my mom called Make a Stand: When life gives you lemons, change the world to help kids learn how they can make a stand for what matters to them.

They made a movie about my stand called #Standwithme that is going around America right now. You can watch it here and see a premiere, or even host one in your town! That’s a fun way to make a stand!

We went from our street corner to stores across America! If we can do that, just think how far we can go if all us women stick together—and stand together!

Here is my poem for you on International Women’s Day.

i look at her.

to me, she is a girl.

but to her, she is a slave.

there are 18 million like her.

that is 18 million too many.

it should be zero.

it will be zero.

you see,

when you set her free,

she unlocks hope with her key.

and she lights up like a light.

and others see.

then they want freedom.

so, she makes a stand for them.

and stands up.

up, up, up,

and has the power of many.

and sets the whole village free.

then cities,

then countries,

then the world!

and it started with a girl.

that one girl 

is a force of good,

And a source of power.  

i am just one.

but I am a force of good

and a source of power.

you are a force of good

and a source of power.

we are a force of good

and a source of power.

i won’t ever ever stop,

until they are all free.

because i am a girl.

and i know how to get things done!

make a stand with me.

and help that girl know.

that freedom will flow.

together, we can set them free.

make a stand with me.
 

— Vivienne, age 10, Fairfax, California, Chief Inspiration Officer, Make a Stand

Vivienne Harr was voted by Town & County as “one of America’s top 50 most influential philanthropists.” Of their 230 million users, Twitter chose her to ring the bell at their IPO on The New York Stock Exchange. Her company Make a Stand, Inc. is one of the first B Corps (“benefit corporations”) in the world. She will speak at the United Nations in May. You can order her famous lemon-aid online.