When Eric Harr was a kid, he made $9 one day from selling lemonade. He thought that was totally cool.
Thirty years later, his daughter Vivienne set up a lemonade stand in Fairfax and did considerably better. Over 173 consecutive days, she took in $101,320.
Vivienne, a 10-year-old with a penchant for bouncy princess dresses and the color pink, had a motive. Alarmed by photos she’d seen of Nepalese children hauling enormous rocks down a mountain, she decided in May 2012 to raise money to stop child slavery.
When people stopped at her lemonade stand to ask how much she was charging, Vivienne said, “Whatever’s in your heart.” She donated the $101,320 to Not for Sale, a nonprofit that works to eradicate human trafficking around the world. But she wasn’t finished.
During the last year and a half, her campaign morphed into a corporation. Make a Stand Lemon-Aid, which her father oversees, sells fair-trade, organic lemonade at 137 stores and is expected to gross $2 million this year.
Along the way, Vivienne became a bit of a celebrity. In November, she joined “Star Trek” actor Patrick Stewart to ring the opening bell for Twitter’s IPO at the New York Stock Exchange – a distinction bestowed because she and her dad, a social-media professional, had made extensive use of the microblogging service.
In a new documentary, “#Standwithme,” Portland, Ore., filmmakers Patrick Moreau and Grant Peelle show how Vivienne and her parents were drawn to their cause and set their story in a larger context of global efforts to halt human trafficking. The 66-minute film premieres Saturday at the Balboa Theatre and repeats Feb. 4 at the AMC Van Ness, Feb. 5 at the AMC Metreon and Feb. 6 at the Century Centre 9.
“This has really swept up our family,” Harr said at his home in Fairfax. Slavery is “just so incomprehensible and so inexcusable, and we can’t take another breath or live another day until we do something about this issue.”
Thirty million people around the world are enslaved in a $32 billion-per-year industry. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “after drug dealing, trafficking of humans is tied with arms dealing as the second-largest criminal industry in the world.”
The large, airy home that Vivienne shares with her family couldn’t be more removed from the brutal lives of child slaves. A wide, private front yard with two tree houses. A warm, roomy interior that reflects mom Alexandra’s skills as an artist and designer.
Conversely, the documentary illustrates, a child slave works sunup to sundown for no pay, is fed rotten food and gets beaten if his or her work performance falters.
What drives an affluent Marin family to make a dramatic shift and devote themselves to ending child slavery? It started May 5, 2012, when Eric and Alexandra were in Sonoma. Strolling into an art gallery, they saw the work of Mill Valley photographer Lisa Kristine, including a heartbreaking image of two boys with large granite slabs strapped to their heads. The boys, roughly Vivienne’s age, hold hands to comfort and balance each other.
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