International Rescue Committee has teamed up with jazz saxophonist and composer Joshua Redman. The two time-time grammy nominee, joins IRC Voices including Rashida Jones, John Legend, and Morena Baccarin to use his voice to raise awareness for the needs of refugees and others who have been impacted by war and disaster.
Today, we spoke with the organization’s Director of Entertainment Relations, Sandee Borgman. Read what she had to say.
Can you please touch on what the IRC does for those unfamiliar with the organization?
The IRC is an 80 year old humanitarian relief and development organization started by Albert Einstein that works in 30 + countries around the world helping people forced from their homes by conflict or natural disaster. The IRC also resettles refugees in the U.S.
Can you please touch on why the IRC chose to work with saxophonist Joshua Redman as an IRC Voice?
The IRC looks for prominent young artists to partner with who are globally minded and interested in using their voices on behalf of those in need. Josh fit us from the very beginning. He is thoughtful about his place in the world and believes that everyone should have equal opportunities to live, dream and thrive.
What has it been like having him on board so far and what will his role be?
Having Josh as an IRC Voice is a dream. When he visited our resettlement work in Oakland CA a few months ago he met with some refugee youth mentors at Oakland International High School and those kids are still lit up. I don’t think Josh realizes what an inspiration he is to people and us at the IRC. Last November, he performed at the IRC’s annual gala dinner to a room full of dignatories including former president, Bill Clinton and former secretary of state, Madeleine Albright. He brought down the house.
As a testament to Josh’s commitment, when he’s on tour he arranges for our staff and supporters to come backstage after his performances to say hello. This is a great opportunity for our development colleagues.
Josh plans to visit IRC programs in Africa once he gets off the road and our country offices, who met him at our annual dinner, are fighting over who will get to host him.
Professionally, it is an honor to have Josh’s support – personally, it is a joy working with him because of his humor, humility, sensitivity, intelligence and compassion. Albert Einstein would approve!
How does the “Voices” program benefit the organization?
Hugely. We are very lucky. We have some vibrant, dedicated, thoughtful people like Josh, Rashida Jones, and Morena Baccarin who are all committed to raising their voices on behalf of the world’s most vulnerable people. We have often been referred to as the thinking-person’s organization, and in building out our IRC Voices program we wanted artists who were willing to spend personal time and resources to learn about our work and help raise awareness with the public. In addition to the Voices mentioned above, John Legend, Sarah Wayne Callies, Jencarlos Canela, Piper Perabo, Romola Garai and opera singer, Danielle de Niese, are also Voices for the IRC.
Josh will join fellow Voice, Rashida Jones, what has it been like working with her to create awareness.
Rashida is brilliant in every way. She travelled to Thailand to visit with refugees from Burma as well as San Diego and New York to meet with staff and resettled refugees participating in our New Roots program which offers individuals the opportunity to grow culturally appropriate and affordable food for themselves, their families and possibly their communities. She is a committed IRC Voice who includes us in her media interviews and fundraising opportunities. We are so fortunate.
What’s the most important message behind the International Rescue Committee?
To be there to help all who are forced to leave behind the security of home and community, and to stay long after the media cameras have left to help rebuild.
For more information visit here: http://www.rescue.org/