Worldwide women live too close to their bones and too far from their dreams, the victims of criminal traditions. Criminal Traditions are ongoing, centuries old rituals that kill or maim millions each year yet often aren't considered crimes. They include honor killing, human trafficking, acid attacks, bride burning, forced and childhood marriage, female genital mutilation and other violence that is not illegal because there is no applicable or enforced rule of law. In addition, the perpetrators are usually relatives doing "what's best" for the victim or "defending" their family's honor.
In addition, these patterns of injustice are ancient and the violence is growing today. Not only are criminal traditions increasing in their original cultures, they have rapidly spread to immigrant and extended communities worldwide including in the United States. And females aren't the only victims. Many men don't want to honor kill their sisters; many mothers don't want to choose between female genital mutilation and starvation for their daughters; and many grooms don't want to marry a child bride yet social and economic peer pressure forces them to do so. In addition new versions of criminal traditions are erupting, such as recent honor killings of gay men. Bottom line, everyone suffers.
How do we help these endangered people and reach both the willing and unwilling relatives forced to harm them? We begin by raising consciousness, the first step toward change. That is the mission of The Art of Influence: Breaking Criminal Traditions.
Featuring some of the country's most accomplished artists working with noted curator/painter Chuck Gniech, author/TED speaker/BCT founder Cheryl Jefferson, and award winning painter Richard Laurent, The Art of Influence: Breaking Criminal Traditions is an exploration of human rights and criminal traditions in an effort to build awareness among legal influencers, policy makers, seated politicians, and the local to global community.
BCT exhibits and events are supported by extensive community education and outreach including lectures; panel discussions with activists and topic experts; artists workshops; dialogues with international experts, legal authorities, diplomats and politicians; screenings; and more in an effort to support change that can only come from within each culture including that of the United States.