Things have changed quickly in the last week. Since the LetSultanaLearn campaign began to gear up, a lot has happened. Sultana was interviewed by columnists from the New York Times and the Washington Post. There may be an upcoming story in the San Francisco Chronicle as well.
Also, conversations with the U.S. embassy in Kabul have created what we hope will be more favorable conditions for Sultana’s next interview, which has been scheduled for June 13th. With these changes, we’ve decided to call off the Twitter campaign we planned for June 14th. Please keep checking back for updates to this story.
Tough News, But We Have a Plan
We heard some tough news last week: Sultana’s visa application was rejected about two minutes into her interview. But don’t worry, her friends here have a great plan to change the story. Read on to learn more.
Unfortunately, this is often how it goes with U.S. immigration proceedings. According to them, Sultana is nothing special. She’s just one girl from millions of people who would like to come to our country for a better life.
But those of us who who have been touched by the story of this brilliant, unstoppable young woman know that she is something special. She deserves the type of education that will help her reach her fullest potential. She will become a role model inspiring other Afghan girls who dare to believe their life might expand beyond the confines of their parents’ or husbands’ walled compounds.
June 14th, 9-12 CST, Tweet the Hashtag #LetSultanaLearn
We can help change Sultana’s Story, and we want you to be involved. On Tuesday, June 14th from 9:00am to noon, Central Standard Time, we’re asking hundreds of thousands of people to blitz Twitter and other social media with the hashtag #LetSultanaLearn.
This is an intentional play on Michelle Obama’s #LetGirlsLearn. The plan is to piggyback on her call to action and have enough people tweeting about Sultana at the same time for it to trend nationally. We think that will draw the attention of elected officials (and perhaps the First Lady) who can put pressure on the State Department to let Sultana learn here in the U.S.
Timing is critical, so don’t start using the hashtag early!
The idea is for you to prepare your network of friends and followers ahead of time to flood Twitter and other social media on that morning so it creates a large enough event to get national or even international media attention. Which will cause it to trend even more. Then there will there be enough political cover for elected officials to also start advocating on Sultana’s behalf.
This is Totally Accomplishable.
We already have commitments from people like physicist Lawrence M. Krauss, who has spoken to Sultana and has over 200,000 followers on Twitter. Krauss believes in Sultana and is also reaching out to other academics with large social media followings.
The reason we picked June 14th is that there are several education and human rights conferences happening on that day. Right now Emily and other friends of Sultana are reaching out to organizations running these conferences to ask them to promote the campaign to their attendees.
But every single post counts. Even if you have a following of three people, we want your help. That’s how social media works. Each person shares and asks their friends to share, and the growth becomes exponential.
We Have to Be Careful to Keep Sultana and Her Family Safe
Sultana was threatened with acid and other brutal attacks if she kept going to school past the age of eleven. For that reason, as we gear up for major media attention, we will change or remove photos of her on this and other sites to keep them safe.
Corridor Characters is committed to following Sultana’s story for the long haul. If it becomes possible, one of our goals is to create a documentary film about her. But LetSultanaLearn.weebly.com will be the hub of information about the campaign to get her here so she can access the education she and other girls deserve.
In the next couple weeks we’ll release a video with brief instructions that you can share with friends about how to participate in the #LetSultanaLearn campaign.
Until then, thanks for caring. Sultana told me today that this is “another bump on the road, but your incredible support making my spirit high.” If you’re reading this, you’re one of the people who contributes to that support.
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