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A Thousand Sisters: My Journey Into the Worst Place on Earth to Be a Womanby Lisa Shannon
Synopses & Reviews
Lisa J. Shannon had a good life — a successful business, a fiancé, a home, and security. Then, one day in 2005, an episode of Oprah changed all that.
The show focused on women in Congo, the worst place on earth to be a woman. She was awakened to the atrocities there — millions dead, women raped and tortured daily, and children dying in shocking numbers. Shannon felt called to do something. And she did.
A Thousand Sisters is her inspiring memoir. She raised money to sponsor Congolese women, beginning with one solo 30-mile run, and then founded a national organization, Run for Congo Women. The book chronicles her journey to the Congo to meet the women her run sponsored, and shares their incredible stories. What begins as grassroots activism forces Shannon to confront herself and her life, and learn lessons of survival, fear, gratitude, and immense love from the women of Africa.
"The subject of a recent New York Times column by Nicholas Kristof, Shannon details how she left her comfortable life in Portland, Ore., to aid women in the Democratic Republic of Congo suffering abuse and death in what has been termed 'Africa's First World War.' Running a successful business with her fiance (who would leave her), Shannon is still 'hungry for something all [her] own' and after seeing a show on Oprah about Congolese women, she establishes the Run for Congo Women to raise money to help those suffering. From meeting Congolese women she's sponsored to learning that 90% of the women in one village have been raped, Shannon is exposed to a world remote from her own affluent life. Her painful firsthand accounts of the violence inflicted upon Congolese women by Hutu militants will most interest readers, but the book lacks a detailed overview of the political circumstances surrounding this long war. Shannon provides a much-needed view of how one inspired American can act with hope, drive, and courage to aid women in a part of the world too often overlooked." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"This is a profoundly moving account of a woman who tried to make a difference and struggled with the painful limits of what she could do." Booklist (starred review)
"A worthwhile read for those with a nagging feeling that there is something more that they can do for those in need." Library Journal
"I can't imagine a more perfect book for arousing the power of American women (or women and men everywhere) to rush to the defense of our Congolese sisters. Lisa Shannon, runner extraordinaire, has with this forthright and readable book, crossed the finish line into the way of life the remainder of our time on this planet demands: she has entered the land of courage, compassion, and a fierce determination to stand by those who need us, where everyone understands they must be — our lives depend on it — a citizen of the world." Alice Walker
"While reporting for the Oprah Show, I called the Democratic Republic of the Congo the 'worst place on earth.' When Lisa Shannon saw my report, rather than turn her back, she took it on. Her commitment to the victims of one of the world's greatest tragedies exemplifies the best in humanity. Her powerful story is an inspiration to all of those who think their voice is too small to change lives." Lisa Ling, journalist
"As global consumers we all share some responsibility for the tragedy in the Congo. Lisa Shannon's riveting, personal narrative lays bare the human cost of that relationship, through a personal journey like no other into the heart of the Congo." Robin Wright, actress and activist
"I wish that every woman and man in America were as stirred to outrage and action as Lisa Shannon by what is happening in today's Congo. In her heartfelt and very personal way, she shines some light on a place of great suffering that the world has too long ignored." Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold’s Ghost and Bury the Chains
"Congo is usually portrayed as hopeless and its women as victims. Lisa Shannon shines a spotlight on the hope that emanates so stubbornly from this complex country, primarily through her loving portrayal of her Congolese sisters. Instead of victims, these women are determined survivors, three-dimensional human beings who deserve our respect and solidarity." John Prendergast, co-founder of The Enough Project, and co-author of Not On Our Watch with Don Cheadle
Lisa Shannon awakens her readers to the atrocities in Congo — and inspires them to reach out and help.
Lisa Shannon had what some would call a good life—her own business, a successful fiancé, a secure home. Then one day in 2005, shortly after her fathers death, an episode of Oprah changed everything. The show about women in the Congo depicted atrocities too horrible to comprehend: millions dead, women gang-raped and tortured, children starving and dying in shocking numbers. That day Lisa woke up to her dissatisfaction with the good” life and to her role as an activist and a sister.
She created a foundation called Run for Congo Women, with the goal to raise money to sponsor 30 Congolese women. What started as a solo 30-mile run has now grown into a national organization in connection with Women for Women International. Run for Congo Women holds fundraising runs in four countries and ten states, and continues to raise money and awareness. In A Thousand Sisters, Lisa shares firsthand accounts of her experiences visiting the Congo, the women shes helped, and the relationships shes formed. With compelling stories of why she remains committed to this cause, Lisa inspires her audience to reach out and help as well, forming a sisterhood that transcends geographic boundaries.
About the Author
Lisa Shannon is a professional photographer and founder of Run for Congo Women, a global effort to raise awareness and support the women of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
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