Mozzie’s insatiable appetite for all things #ChampionSummit continues to grow, so she went searching for something to quench her thirst. Luckily for us, she managed to sniff out (and pester until she could resist no longer) one of our long-standing Champions who attended our inaugural Champion Summit and is prepared to spill the beans on what went down in 2014.
Rachel Landman will be joining us once again for the February 2016 Champion Summit! What opportunities did last year’s Summit present? What were her highlights? What is bringing her back? Read on to see what Mozzie managed to uncover in her exclusive sit-down with Rachel.
Mozzie: Somehow in your incredibly busy life as a college student, now working as a Legislative Assistant for the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, a Nothing But Nets partner, you’ve managed to find time to support the fight to defeat malaria! Tell us more about your story and why you wanted to get involved as a Champion.
Rachel: I first found out about the Nothing But Nets campaign at the North American Federation for Temple Youth Convention when I was a senior in high school. I thought the campaign was very interesting and definitely important, but did not feel personally connected to the issue of malaria. It was not until I studied for 4 months in Kenya and Tanzania while in college, where many of my local friends and family had suffered from malaria that I realized what a major issue it is.
Mozzie: Wow, what an incredible experience. How did your time in sub-Saharan Africa inspire you to take on the challenge to defeat malaria?
Rachel: It was while I was in Kenya that I found out about the Nothing But Nets fellowship through the Religious Action Center and learned I could help support my friends even after I returned to the United States. I am motivated to do this work because my Jewish traditions teach me that I cannot “stand idly by the blood of my neighbor” (Leviticus 19:16), and people are dying every minute from something that no one should be dying from – a preventable disease!
Mozzie: When you’re not busy helping the Religious Action Center and supporting Nothing But Nets, what do you like to do in your spare time?
Rachel: I also focus on environmental issues and promoting climate justice. The reason I do this work is because I have grown up loving nature and the outdoors. In my spare time I enjoy traveling, which usually includes skiing, hiking, biking, and running outside. I especially love exploring national parks and hope to one day visit every national park in the United States.
Mozzie: We were lucky enough to have you attend our Champion Summit in 2014. Cast your mind back to the event…what did you enjoy most about it?
Rachel: What was most impressive to me was the diversity of supporters that joined together in Washington, D.C. to stand up for the fight to end malaria. What I found to be the most powerful were the discussions I had with other Champions. It was incredibly inspiring to hear what others throughout the country were doing to fight malaria, and I left with some great new ideas!
Mozzie: What are you looking forward to at February’s Champion Summit?
Rachel: Uniting with over a hundred Champions from across the country who are all passionate about working together to end malaria is always inspiring, and I look forward to being motivated by the powerful speakers we are going to hear from.
I also look forward to attending the Champion Summit in my new position at the Religious Action Center, and exploring how we, as a Jewish community, have a moral obligation to join in this fight in whatever ways we can.
Mozzie: If you were a superhero (like me) what superpower would you choose and why?
Rachel: I would chose the power to fly! There are always so many interesting things going on around the world that I would love to be a part of, and having the power to fly would enable me to do that as well as explore new places.