San Francisco Freedom Forum

“To remain silent and indifferent is the greatest sin of all.”- Elie Wiesel

Last week a few of us from Manhattan Portage were lucky enough to attend the freedom forum supported by the Human Rights Foundation in San Francisco. This truly was an amazing event. We originally were involved with this event by working with the directors to supply our customized DJ bags to the forum, but we wanted to be more involved so we decided instead of just sending the bags to the staff and attendees we were going to actually fly from New York to San Francisco and attend this event. We’re definitely glad we did.

When we entered the doors of the forum in the Bently Reserve Building we were right away greeted with friendly faces and given a name tag and our collaboration MP bags loaded with goodies. The staff was kind enough to give everyone a handful of books written by the speakers, a notepad, pen, granola bars, chocolates and even tic tacs! We were happy to see our bags put to good use. Everyone was very appreciative of not just the bags- but the kind gifts that were inside them as well.

Above is the entrance to the Bently Reserve- where the forum was held

There were three sessions of speeches- all which were amazing. The speaker’s included: Manal al Sharif, Justine Hardy, Marina Nemat, William Dobson, Ethan Nadelmann, Naomi Natale, Mona Eltahawy, Marcel Granier, George Ayittey, Pyoty Verzilov, and Aung San Suu Kyi. All of these speakers/activists were truly inspirational and it was a pleasure to hear them speak about their lives, concerns, wants and dreams.

Although all of the speeches were amazing, one really stood out to us the most. Naomi Natale is an artist and the founder of “One Million Bones.” Naomi uses art to raise awareness of horrible actions that are going on in the world in hopes for people to realize and spread the word and then to take a stand and make a change. During her speech she showed us a video that sums up what she does,  please watch the video below:

As you can see from the video Naomi does an amazing job with using art to create awareness  We were so very touched by her speech and this above video and hope you are too.

We also took many photos at the events and of course wanted to share those with you too. So here you are..

Arriving to San Franciso we saw this trolley, this is a very typical thing to see in San Fran and it was a nice welcome for us as well.


An attendee, Marlon with our Collaboration bag

Another attendee, Fereed-  with our collaboration bag

Lining up for lunch. We had a wonderful lunch at Le Meridien Hotel.

Aung San Suu Kyi giving her amazing speech.

Aung San Suu Kyi receiving the “Vaclav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent.”

Please view Aung San Suu Kyi’s motivational speech here:



Thank you everyone for reading this post and we hope that you are now inspired to stand up for what you believe in and to always have a voice.

Best wishes,

Manhattan Portage