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Agent Orange Awareness Campaign


 A Catherine Karnow Project
 
The importance of this project: 

As a National Geographic photographer, I have covered many humanitarian injustices, but my heart is in Vietnam.

Through my photography work with the Ford Foundation I became aware of current humanitarian issues associated with Agent Orange.  We all remember the harmful effects of Agent Orange during the time of the Vietnam War.  Most people are not aware, though, of the ongoing devastation visited on the offspring of those exposed to the chemicals.  

There are two reasons why children born today are afflicted with life-altering deformity and disease.  First: despite the end of the war and the years of friendly relations between the US and Vietnam, there has never been a systematic cleanup of the affected regions.  Neither the chemical companies involved, nor the US government nor the Vietnamese government have remediated the areas so devastated by the US Army.  The chemicals still in place continue to impact individual lives.  Second: though few people are aware of this, Agent Orange, horrifyingly, carries a genetic legacy.  Those affected by Agent Orange pass their genetic injury to their children.  Those children and their grandchildren are born with physical deformity, are born barren and/or are born with devastating cancers.  

Imagine if this were occurring in the U.S.  There would be a call for justice, for compensation, for remediation. 

That the US government is responsible for this devastation, and that US companies are directly involved, creates an imperative for action.  That the victims are far away and out of sight should not translate into inaction on the part of the US government.


 
How you can help:

We would like to ask you to join us in an Agent Orange Awareness Campaign to get the word out about this tragic problem.  We propose to use powerful, emotional and sensitive photography and video content to tell this story in a devastatingly immediate way.  We plan to tell this story to policy makers and thought leaders in the U.S., Europe and at the UN. 

We are calling upon my father's former friends to lend their names and stature to the campaign, and are honored that journalist Peter Arnett is a partner.  We are establishing collaborations with media organizations and influential exhibition spaces in order to get our content to as many people as possible.

The Urgency:

April 2015 will mark the 40 year anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War.  This anniversary will provide an ideal moment to call the world's attention to the lingering effects of the war and of Agent Orange on the families, communities, and the economy of Vietnam.

We have until March 4th to reach our goal of $27K. If we do not raise $27K, all donations are returned, and we get no funding at all.
 
Every contribution helps.  Please donate today at:
May we count on you to visit this link and give what you can spare? More importantly, will you please share this letter with your friends, colleagues, and influential people, so that we can meet our fund raising goals and begin to tackle this devastating legacy of the Vietnam War?
 
Thank you so very much.
 
Warmly,
Catherine
 
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