Peter Gabriel and WITNESS Invite You to NYC on October 16, 2014

WITNESS’ 10th Annual Focus for Change Benefit takes place October 16th in New York City.

For the past decade, WITNESS has brought together human rights activists, world-renown musicians, and a community of supporters from the arts, media, philanthropy and tech worlds to share stories of the brave human rights defenders who use video to expose abuse, while garnering new support to reach the next generation of activists. The Benefit has become one the most celebratory nonprofit events in the city; all in support of human rights change.

This year’s theme is “Stories of Courage” and you can join us October 16 in New York City as we celebrate brave citizen witnesses everywhere who put themselves at risk to share stories of abuse.

Special Guest

Our special guest is Rami Jarrah, a Syrian-British political activist from Damascus and co-director of The Activist News Association (ANA), a media collective of citizen journalists who publish video and radio reports of life on the front lines, providing critical information both inside Syria and internationally.

Rami was arrested in 2011 while filming a protest in the Umayyad Mosque and was tortured for three days in a Syrian security branch and then released upon signing a document admitting he was a terrorist sent from abroad. After his release, he began providing information and video to international media under the pseudonym “Alexander Page.” He was “outed” by Syrian intelligence in the fall of 2011 and fled to Egypt.

Video examples of The ANA’s work can be seen here. Their Facebook page is here.

Musical Guest

Hassan Hakmoun, one of the most notable figures in contemporary Moroccan music, will be playing live at this year’s benefit. Hassan fuses traditional Gnawa music steeped in Islamic mysticism and West African rhythms with jazz, rock, blues and neo-classical contemporary Western music. The result is a diverse, award-winning and critically acclaimed body of work.

More Info & Ticket Purchases

To learn more about this year’s annual benefit, visit or contact us directly.

Tickets to the benefit can be purchased here.

Not going to be in New York City but would like to donate to be there in spirit? You can do that here.

And a Little History

Past Focus for Change Benefit Hosts and Performers include Gael García Bernal, Angelina Jolie, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Christiane Amanpour, Susan Sarandon, Angélique Kidjo, Feist, Paul Simon, Cyndi Lauper, Jimmy Cliff, Crosby & Nash, Emmylou Harris, Jackson Browne, The Roots, Sheryl Crow, Rodrigo y Gabriela, K’Naan, and Citizen Cope, among many others.

Here’s some of what last year’s Focus for Change Benefit looked like. Select images to enlarge.


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