Artist & Activist, The Strongheart Group
With a poet's soul and activist's passion, Sonita Alizadeh uses her rap lyrics and powerful voice to fight child marriage. At the age of 16, Sonita was a refugee in Iran and distraught over her own impending forced marriage, set to happen in her native Afghanistan. In an effort to express her pain and share the experience of so many of her friends, she wrote “Daughters for Sale” and created a homemade music video. With a posting on YouTube, the song instantly caught fire and was shared around the world. Through the Strongheart Group, Sonita came to the U.S. where she is now a high school student at Wasatch Academy. With the support of Strongheart, Sonita is now an international spokesperson for the rights of girls to choose their own destiny. She believes that together we can end forced marriage in one generation and is working to make that a reality. Her story is told in the award winning documentary “Sonita,” which premiered in the US at Sundance 2016. Sonita was named one of Foreign Policy Magazine’s Global Thinkers of 2015, one of BBC's 100 Women of 2015, and has been featured by CNN, NPR, BBC, Buzzfeed News, and over 150 publications in 20 countries. You can learn more about her campaign to end child marriage at www.sonita.org.