TopOfTheCircle.com

Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

Jan. 29, 2016 — A voice for others

The first time I heard the voice of Milana Vayntrub, I was in the living room, barely paying attention to the TV, until this bit of a conversation aired during a commercial break.

“I’d like to talk to the manager.”

“I am the manager.”

Vayntrub, playing the mythical mobile phone saleswoman Lily Adams in a series of quirky AT&T commercials, was adding gumption and a bit of a take-no-prisoners attitude that got my attention right away.

My late father was the proxy antagonist in the commercial. I could imagine him not believing that Lily was giving out the right price for a phone plan and would, either because of ageism or sexism, ask to speak to someone more senior — usually, a man.

Vayntrub, an actress and a comedienne who has done quirky YouTube videos, Web-only series, and the occasional appearance on Comedy Central, has had a measure of success in her career, and it was only natural for her to take some time off last summer for vacation after completing various projects.

What she and her father found on their trip to Greece was the Syrian refugee crisis. Vayntrub and her family had fled Uzbekistan in the 1980s, and identified with the women and children coming over on rafts.

She is lending her voice to the crisis with not only a non-profit called cantdonothing.org, but with a poignant video of her vacation experience which became a full-fledged volunteer shift with a Dutch non-profit.

As much as politicians have tried to demonize the current Syrian refugee wave as an influx of potential terrorists or a drag on the economy of those European states looking to help out, there is one thing to remember here. These refugees have nothing but the clothes on their backs. This is especially true of those who traversed the Mediterranean Sea on rafts that are overloaded with people, and especially children. Furthermore, they, like generations of European immigrants 100 years ago, were fleeing oppression and seeking freedom.

I invite you to Vayntrub’s website, and please do what you can.

 

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