Using Her Voice, Singer Megan Wilde’s Advocacy Work with UNICEF USA

American musician Megan Wilde has been making waves in the social justice community by activating her fans around the biggest issues facing children around the world. From performing for a fashion show to fight bullying to creating art that illustrates the experiences of children who have been trafficked for sex, Megan challenges her audience to speak out and take action in support of the world’s most vulnerable children.

How did you become involved with UNICEF?

About one year ago, I became involved in anti-sex trafficking initiatives, working with several organizations in Nashville, New York, and Chicago. As an artist, I strongly believe in the power of music to raise awareness, spread messages of hope and inspire social change.

Earlier this year, I wrote and began performing “Promise.” The song tells the story of a young girl who is being trafficked for sex, urging listeners to never turn their back on a child who is suffering. It was through this song that I became involved with UNICEF, an organization that works in more than 190 countries and territories to help children survive and protect them from trafficking and all forms of violence, exploitation, and abuse.

In January, I began working with the UNICEF USA Nashville Congressional Action Team (CAT), a motivated group of UNICEF supporters and advocates based in Nashville. I performed my song at a UNICEF USA End Trafficking event to bring attention to the issue of child sex trafficking, a horrific crime that affects over a million children around the world.

In March, you traveled with UNICEF USA to Washington, D.C. to advocate for the world’s most vulnerable children. What was that like?

In mid-March, I traveled to Washington, D.C. with the UNICEF USA Nashville CAT to take part in the UNICEF USA Annual Summit, which brings together advocates for children from across the country. We met with members of Congress on Capitol Hill to cultivate champions for children. We had a highly productive meeting with Representative Jim Cooper and others. In each session of the day, I advocated for continued funding for UNICEF’s lifesaving work for children around the world, and for support of the International Violence Against Women Act and the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA).

‘Representative Cooper’:
Sitting: Selvana Rouman, Krishna Patel, Megan Wilde
Standing: Camilla Hester, Amanuel Afework, Margaret Poore, U.S. Representative Jim Cooper, Kayo Beshir and Mark Hooper.

On March 21, SESTA was approved by the U.S. Senate, with a sister bill approved by the House, and in April, it was signed into law by the President of the United States. The success of this bill means that children are more protected from online sex trafficking and survivors can obtain justice. I was so proud to have been able to contribute to creating a better future for children through my advocacy work with UNICEF USA’s Congressional Action Teams.

What else do you have planned with UNICEF?

I am so honored to be part of such a compassionate, hardworking and diverse community of activists. The Congressional Action Teams bring together incredible people from all walks of life to help build a world where every child has the opportunity to reach their full potential. Phoebe Castelblanco, UNICEF USA’s Community Engagement Fellow in Nashville, has been supportive and nurturing of each member’s unique contribution to the team. The Nashville CAT leader Kayo Beshir, who fled political oppression in Ethiopia, was recently honored with a Human Rights Rising Advocate Award for his humanitarian work. I have met other artists, musicians and creators as well. Jan Edwards, the CEO of an anti-sex trafficking organization called Paving The Way, produced a film called Trapped in the Trade and holds film festivals to promote public awareness and education. I love that we all have our unique talents and stories and that we can all use them to make the world a better place.

‘Group Photo’:
Sitting: Haven Poore & Aubrey
Standing: Azizakhon Mirsaidove, Krishna Patel, Mark Hooper, Elisabeth Foreman, Rachel Ooi, Ashley Davis, Kayo Beshir, Cynthia Yue, Amanuel Afework, Selvana Rouman, Melina Datta, Jeanette Stevens.

I hope to continue fostering enriching relationships with other UNICEF supporters, and I look forward to using my voice and platform to help build a community of changemakers and advocates for children around the world. It means the world to me to be able to use my art to make a difference and to work alongside such a passionate team to create positive change for the children who need it most.