For those of us who believe the world can be saved, Debra Winger is an inspiration.
“I was raised by my parents to believe that you had a moral obligation to try and help save the world.”……….Anne Lamott
When the girl next door is uniquely beautiful and commands attention the only proper response is to see that her every wish is your command.
The challenge for this writer in being among Debra Winger’s legion of fans, when watching her mesmerize us, especially in her early brilliant film career, one of the questions and puzzlement I had was what does Debra want from us?
With her feminine charm, down to earth demeanor and porcelain beauty she certainly could have traveled and stayed on the road of the ravishing red carpet riser but that didn’t seem to be a major draw for her. In trying to determine what her motivation might be with little real information to go on, what should you do?
Follow your intuition.
Albert Einstein, a man of great intelligence and wisdom was quoted as saying, “The only real valuable thing is intuition.”
For those of us who have been willing to stick our necks out and stand up for those who cannot speak for themselves, a common experience is that when you travel that road, at least initially, you dodge well financed and organized land mines alone.
One of our associates had the honor of coaching and working with a female high school varsity tennis player who previously accumulated won, loss records of 3-11 and 4-10 her sophomore and junior varsity years. After working with her and applying certain proven methodologies her senior campaign saw her boast a won, loss record of 13-1, all victories won 2 sets to love, out of 48 players she made it to the championship final four, led her high school to the playoffs for the first time in school history and was named team MVP.
After the season was over, in brief, he knew he had heard of and viewed some troubling issues.
The girls were sent around to knock on neighborhood doors to fundraise money for a ball machine only to find out later the school was actually giving the money raised to boy’s football. Of the number of All-League certificates being distributed, a private school was receiving virtually all of them which would enable them to negotiate for better scholarships while all the girls in the public school system received only one that year. When it came time for the championship match, under the color of authority, the leadership led by the private school would not tell the public school system player the time of her match and tried to default her. The winners from the public school system did not receive all league recognition while the loser from the private school did.
It’s an old story from long ago and the names are not important but with the help of Senator Dianne Feinstein, Congressman Mike Machado, Congresswoman Maxine Waters and the Japanese American Citizens league, reasonable change was effected.
It takes one to know one and early on this writer felt that Ms. Winger was someone who was willing to stick her neck out to help others, spend money, expect nothing in return and through important causes wanted to change our world and make it a better place.
It appears my intuition was correct.
“With our love, we could save the world.”……………..George Harrison
Blueflowerarts.com shares by her own definition, Debra Winger is first, a mother, second, a human rights advocate and environmental activist, and thirdly, an actor. These three facets are all carried off with intensity, fierceness, grace, and good humor. As an actor, her credits include more than twenty films and three Academy Award nominations (An Officer and a Gentleman, Terms of Endearment, and Shadowlands). In 2008 she published her debut book “Undiscovered”.
I have my own personal favorites.
I loved her in Rachel Getting Married. For years Debra played beautiful young girls full of uncertainty in conflict with authority figures. It was a refreshing slice of karma to see her as a shaken authority figure, an imperfect mother in flux struggling to forge a new beginning with a troubled daughter determined to implode and ruin everything and everyone close to her.
Too, I loved her playing an actress she hoped she never would become in the series In Treatment sparring with her therapist played with a steady hand by the masterful and broad ranging Gabriel Byrne.
AN IMPORTANT CAUSE
In addition to speaking about her life in film, Ms. Winger is also involved with several non-profit humanitarian and social justice organizations, and speaks to the issues they present. Tahirih Justice Center works to protect immigrant women and girls from gender-based violence, such as forced marriage, female genital mutilation, domestic and intimate partner violence, trafficking, torture, and rape. Tahirih works primarily through providing legal services, advocacy, and public education programs. Hand in Hand Center for Jewish-Arab Education in Israel was founded to build peace between Jews and Arabs in Israel through development of bilingual and multi-cultural schools.
Ms. Winger is also an ambassador for Sightsavers International, a non-profit organization that works to combat blindness in developing countries, by providing specialist treatment and eye care. Sightsavers works to cure people who have reversible eye conditions and prevent people from becoming needlessly blind, and to provide people who are irreversibly blind with the skills to live a more independent life through education, counselling, and training.
Ms. Winger was the creative consultant for the film GASLAND, which won the Special Jury Prize at Sundance, about the Natural Gas drilling boom in the United States and its terrifying influence on the environment and the health of humans and animals. An activist for other environmental causes, Ms. Winger has also attended the EPA hearings in Washington DC.
Here at Female Competition International, though she is involved in many great causes, in the interest of time and space, we would like to focus on her important and compelling work with Sightsavers International.
Wikipedia provides a comprehensive brief description of this wonderful organization. Sightsavers is a large international charity that works to combat blindness in developing countries. It is based in the United Kingdom, with branches in Italy, Republic of Ireland, the United Arab Emirates and the USA.
THE IMPORTANCE OF SIGHTSAVERS
Sightsavers operates around the world to restore sight to the blind, to provide medical care for the prevention of blindness, and to promote equal opportunities for disabled people.
The charity was founded in 1950 by Sir John Wilson (1919–1999), a blind lawyer.
A tour of Sightsavers website further explains their mission.
Sightsavers believes that no one should be blind from avoidable causes, and that people whose sight can’t be saved should live with dignity and independence.
• There are 39 million blind people in the world
• 80% of blindness can be prevented or cured
• Around 90% of visually impaired people live in the world’s poorest countries
All of their work can be divided into the areas of health, social inclusion, education and community development. They tackle the main causes of avoidable blindness including cataract, and a group of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) such as river blindness and trachoma. Social inclusion means making sure everyone in society is included and treated equally. People with disabilities, such as blindness, are often isolated and excluded.[adToAppearHere]
Sightsavers works to make sure children who are blind or have low vision get the chance to go to school. Communities are not always aware of their own health needs, and visually impaired people are often not included in discussions and decisions that affect the development of their communities.
More than 90% of visually impaired people live in developing countries. Poverty and blindness are inextricably linked, depriving many people in the developing world of basic human rights. Sightsavers is one of the world’s leading non-government organizations dedicated to combating avoidable blindness and promoting equal opportunities for people with disabilities in developing countries.[adToAppearHere]
They have been working with local partners in over 30 countries in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean for 60 years.
There are so many questionable to terrible things happening in the world that it would be easy to give up, build an impenetrable fence in a gated community and just live a nice quiet life, but what about those in need? Female Competition International is appreciative that extraordinary talents like Ms. Winger who could be single focused on fame, money and self-promotion are willing to make career sacrifices, take risks and as the expression goes, “put themselves out there” to make a difference, one cause at a time.
The world is truly in need of unswerving help; in need of saving. What we do in life actually does make a difference and can have a positive effect on others.
Debra Winger is proof of that.
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Sources: sightsavers.org, trachoma.org, brainyquote.com, Wikipedia, imdb.com, nymag.com/nymetro, blueflowerarts.com, looktothestars.org, nytimes.com, theguardian.com, fciwomenswrestling.com, photos Wikimedia Commons.