The young girl seen onstage with Common and Andra Day during their performance of Oscar-nominated song “Stand Up for Something” is 8-year-old Bana Alabed, a Syrian refugee whose tweets describing her family’s personal nightmare as residents of Aleppo brought her international attention and inspired her to write a book, “Dear World,” which was released in Oct. 2017.
Alabed’s family withstood a 2016 siege of the Syrian city, suffering through airstrikes and hunger until they were able to escape to Turkey. “Dear World: A Syrian Girl’s Story of War and Plea for Peace” has been praised by the likes of J.K. Rowling, who described it as “a story of love and courage amid brutality and terror.” Diane Warren, upon meeting Alabed at a pre-Oscar gathering of activists sharing the stage for “Stand Up for Something,” remarked: “You’re going to make me cry.”
Alabed was joined for the performance by Alice Brown Otter (Standing Rock Youth Council); Bryan Stevenson (Equal Justice Initiative); Cecile Richards (Planned Parenthood Action Fund); Dolores Huerta (Dolores Huerta Foundation, United Farm Workers of America); Janet Mock (#GirlsLikeUs), José Andrés (ThinkFoodGroup); Nicole Hockley (Sandy Hook Promise); Patrisse Cullors (Black Lives Matter); and Tarana Burke (Me Too).
Follow Bana on Twitter at @AlabedBana