fbpx Skip to content

Voices In Solidarity – EP. 68

Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on pinterest
Share on linkedin
Ilana Landsberg-Lewis spent her entire adult life engaged in a struggle for human rights and social justice. Throughout her years working with women’s groups around the world, Ilana learned to harness her true voice and fight for what is right. The Brave Files.

PASSION • PRINCIPLE • VOICES

ILANA LANDSBERG-LEWIS

Top Takeaways From This Episode:

  • There’s so much power in the ‘why’.
  • When it comes to women’s rights, we’re constantly experiencing teachable moments.
  • Teach your children to focus on their intuition instead of looking for praise. It’s a powerful lesson.
  • There is a significant difference between charity and solidarity.
  • It’s important to ask yourself where you fit in the trajectory of social change, social justice, and women’s rights.

Show Notes:

Ilana Landsberg-Lewis has spent her entire adult life engaged in the struggle for human rights and social justice. Throughout her years working with women’s groups around the world, Ilana learned to harness her true voice and fight for what she knows is right.

Growing Up Empowered

As a young person, Ilana was painfully shy. However, being raised in a home dedicated to human rights and social justice, she discovered a burning passion for involvement in social change. Unfortunately, fear of disapproval often silenced her voice.

Ilana’s opinions were strong, and those values didn’t always align with society’s standpoint. Eventually, the desire to make a difference pushed her out of her comfort zone and undoubtedly towards the life's work she was destined for.

Finding Her Own Voice

While Ilana developed her voice for justice at a very early age, she didn't hone the external and public expression of her own belief system until her twenties. Through her work at a legal aid clinic, she began to deeply understand women’s experiences throughout the world. These differences include class, race, socioeconomic status, and varying access to privilege. Additionally, she learned to look at the human experience as a whole.

Making an Impact

Ilana’s drive to create real change led her to work with the United Nations Development Fund for Women (now UN Women). Here she worked with women’s rights groups all over the world. As an out lesbian, she quickly learned there was no gender equality or LGBTQ+ rights for employees of the United Nations.

This was largely due to the fact that the organization’s policies and guidelines were created by the governments which made up the UN. As to be expected, a majority of those governments were not supportive of equal rights for women and members of the LGBTQ+ community. At the time, it was uncommon to stand up for these groups. There was a real threat of losing your job if you chose to speak up.  However, Ilana felt called to step into her bravery and formed UN Globe, the LGBTQ+ rights organization, which still exists today.

International Solidarity

Ilana founded the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign in an effort to continue blazing a trail of international solidarity and impact in the fight for human rights. With firsthand knowledge of the immense challenges grandmothers in Africa faced, she knew this would be an important and impactful path.

Tragically, many women in Africa have lost their adult children to the AIDS pandemic. As such, these older women were now responsible for raising their grandchildren. Oftentimes, grandmothers are taking in and nurturing 10 – 15 children, all while grieving the loss of their own adult children. Sadly, these powerful women are nearly invisible in the narrative around HIV and AIDS, both in their own country and internationally.

Standing in Solidarity

In summary, Ilana lives with passion and commitment. She desires to help other grandmothers around the world connect to the stories from African grandmothers. Ilana believed these struggles would resonate with others who experience the same profound love for their families. In essence, she knew others would also feel called to financially support the grandmothers of Africa.

As it turns out, Ilana was right! The Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign, along with the Stephen Lewis Foundation, raised $30 million over the last decade. There are hundreds of groups all over Canada, and these grandmothers (and grand others!) come together in solidarity with the women of Africa.

Are you looking for more inspiring episodes about social justice work and activism? Here are a few we recommend:

More About Ilana 

GRANDMOTHER'S ON THE MOVE

As if all this wasn’t incredible enough, Ilana also hosts the Grandmothers on the Move Podcast. Each episode highlights personal, intimate conversations with grandmothers from all over the world. They discuss the contributions they're making to their families and to society. Overall, all lived experiences are celebrated in these conversations.

Grandmothers bring us a long history of survival

Ilana also has a book, Powered by Love: A Grandmothers’ Movement to End AIDS in Africa. The book contains hundreds of interviews with African grandmothers. There are also interviews with Canadian women involved in the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign. Ilana focuses on solidarity, the impact of love, and the value of human rights.

Connect with Ilana

Please check out Ilana’s website for more information about her wonderful work. In addition, you can connect with her on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

Giving is Good:

Like us, Ilana deeply believes people should look to and support organizations with the courage to stand up in the face of adversity. In light of this, she supports Grandmothers Against Gun Violence. Organizations like this bravely demand social transformation and challenge values that don’t serve humanity as a whole. Besides access to mental health services, the organization also promotes extra research around the causes and prevention of gun violence.

Ilana Landsberg-Lewis spent her entire adult life engaged in a struggle for human rights and social justice. Throughout her years working with women’s groups around the world, Ilana learned to harness her true voice and fight for what is right. The Brave Files.
A FEW OTHER EPISODES WE THINK YOU'LL ENJOY
The Brave Files is supported by:
libro.fm audiobooks

By choosing Libro.fm over other audiobook services, you support a local bookstore of your choice—and invest in your local community. They offer over 150,000 audiobooks via their premium platform (which was built with love from scratch) and give you bookseller recommendations for great audiobooks.

Proceeds from audiobooks purchased through Libro.fm are shared with your local bookstore. Your community sees 25% more money when you shop locally rather than at a national chain. More of your tax dollars are also reinvested into your community and you help create more local jobs because local businesses, bookstores included, are better at creating higher-paying jobs within the community.

Buying local is also better for the environment because it means less packaging and less transportation. Plus, digital audiobooks have an even smaller carbon footprint.

Purchasing your audiobooks from Libro.fm helps you nurture your community’s uniqueness! Local bookstores curate their selection based on what they know their community members are interested in. When you buy from local booksellers, you are participating in the conversation that shapes your local culture.

Grab your Free Trial and FREE Audio Book Now!

For you, the listeners of The Brave Files podcast, Libro.fm is offering a free audiobook with a free 30-day trial to give you the opportunity to check out their service. Give it a try now!

About Your Host:
Heather Vickery
Heather Vickery
Heather Vickery is an award-winning business owner and global leader with over 20 years as an entrepreneur. She leverages her entrepreneurial skills and expertise to coach individuals towards greater personal and professional fulfillment by helping them leverage their fear into intentional bravery. Heather says “When we choose bravely, on purpose, we choose bigger, have bigger successes and it’s contagious” A celebrated public speaker, Heather inspires audiences and empowers attendees with the tools they need to live bold and successful lives through creating balance, time management, mindfulness, as well as countless systems, strategies, and boundaries. She’s the author of Gratitude Journal: Shift Your Focus and Grow Grateful: A Gratitude Journal for Kids and Families. Heather is also the host and executive producer of The Brave Files Podcast.
Receive the Brave Journey Newsletter?