Shepard Fairey Unveils Icon in Support of Aung San Suu Kyi (click to view PDF)

Purchase your Shepard Fairey Freedom To Lead portrait of Aung San Suu Kyi HERE.

Noted Obama Portrait Artist Aids Human Rights Action Center, US Campaign for Burma in Fight To Free The Rightful Leader of Burma

“Freedom to Lead” Campaign Enlists Ryan Kavanaugh, Relativity Media‘s Rogue and Causecast to Rally International Support

LOS ANGELES, JUNE 24, 2009 – Breakthrough American artist Shepard Fairey has released a striking new image today, in support of the plight of Aung San Suu Kyi and the oppressed nation of Burma. Fairey, who drew international acclaim during the 2008 American presidential election for his stirring red, white, and blue “HOPE” portrait of Barack Obama, has applied his bold style to create an iconic piece in support of Suu Kyi, the rightful leader of Burma, who has been held under house arrest by a military junta for the past 13 years. Fairey’s illustration serves as a public support of the work of the Human Rights Action Center and the U.S. Campaign for Burma to engage the international community in the struggle to free Aung San Suu Kyi, and establish democracy in her nation. “This Human Rights cause is something I believe in strongly,” said Fairey. “I created this portrait of Aung San Suu Kyi to raise awareness of her on-going house arrest and the oppressive nature of the military regime ruling Burma.”

Utilizing the striking color palette of the Campaign, the image depicts Aung San Suu Kyi’s hopeful face, with dove imagery at her heart. With “FREEDOM TO LEAD” as her banner, the portrait incites a bold movement, to ensure that the world’s only imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize recipient will soon be released from prison and usher in an era of human rights and democracy that her people desire.

“Aung San Suu Kyi is the Nelson Mandela of Asia,” said Jack Healey, the head of the Human Rights Action Center. “Shepard’s tribute to her will remind the world she is the rightful leader of Burma in a powerful way. I always felt it was his image that galvanized the Obama movement, God willing, it will do the same for Aung San Suu Kyi and those fighting for human rights in her name.””In a world in which we all too often focus on differences, Aung San Suu Kyi is a unifying figure that people of all political persuasions can work to support. Shepard’s image encapsulates that very point beautifully,” said Jeremy Woodrum, director of the U.S. Campaign for Burma. “The Burmese people have appealed for our help – let’s give it to them.”

The Human Rights Action Center and the U.S. Campaign for Burma are stepping up their efforts to draw attention to human rights abuses being committed by Burma’s dictator Than Shwe, as well as the movement for democratic change in the country. The organizations are looking to stage a concert in Los Angeles in late fall to heighten awareness and support Burma’s movement for democracy. Renowned entertainment producer and financier, Ryan Kavanaugh, along with his companies Relativity Media and Rogue, are actively supporting The U.S. Campaign for Burma and the Human Rights Action Center and their efforts to bridge creative talent and the plight of the Burmese people.

The “Freedom To Lead” campaign has partnered with Causecast, an online global community and social action network; a leader for online cause marketing campaigns, for all social media development and offline grassroots building campaigns. In effort to get more people aware of Aung San Suu Kyi and the situation in Burma and keep people connected, Causecast will be providing easy to read daily updates on and through Twitter (@Causecast) about Aung San Suu Kyi by aggregating all related content. Causecast will be using the @Causecast to communicate the most up to date news feeds from all around the world.

Causecast will build a website dedicated to being the single resource for all things Aung San Suu Kyi, which upon launch can be found at The site will house information and facts, exclusive articles, graphical assets, and ideas for coalition members to show their support on Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Bebo, and personal blogs, empowering anyone with a presence online to make a difference. In addition, Causecast will have guest contributors highlighting user generated blog posts, and releasing original op-ed articles from respected writers and influencers in the human rights space. Causecast is also directing people to to take additional actions including signing the petition to free Aung San Suu Kyi.

Causecast leader and activist Maggie Q who saw the Burmese refugee camps firsthand, will be writing about her travels over to the border of Thailand, had this to say, “The fight for Human Rights in Burma, and the struggle for democracy led by Aung San Suu Kyi, can no longer be ignored. I pray that this incredibly important image will create much needed awareness and inspire a whole generation to raise their voices in support of Burma’s rightful leader.” 

Aung San Suu Kyi, who turned 64 on June 19th, is not just a human rights leader. She led her political party, the National League for Democracy, to win 82% of parliamentary seats in Burma’s last nationwide election. The NLD’s elected members, including Aung San Suu Kyi, were never permitted to take their rightful position as leaders of the country, and 2,100 political prisoners – including members of parliament — remain locked up in prison.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s has been held under house arrest for 13 of the past 19 years, but her detention was set to expire in late May. However, she was removed from her home and placed in Burma’s notorious Insein prison (pronounced: Insane) in advance of that date after an American broke into her home. Even though she did nothing wrong, she was charged with breaking the terms of her house arrest. The charges, which Suu Kyi vehemently denies, have no merit. President Obama publicly condemned the recent arrest of Suu Kyi and has called for her release. Likewise, the Senate Women’s Caucus on Burma – which includes every single female member of the U.S. Senate and is chaired by senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), recently called for Than Shwe’s military junta to immediately release Aung San Suu Kyi, as well as all other political prisoners.

Aung San Suu Kyi has appealed to people throughout the world to support the struggle for human rights in Burma, stating “Please, use your liberty to promote ours.” Suu Kyi and the NLD have also appealed for countries around the world to impose sanctions on Burma until there is a transition to democracy, stating that business only benefits the military regime.

The Burmese military regime is among the world’s most brutal, destroying over 3,300 ethnic minority villages, forcing at least 1.5 million people to flee their homes as refugees and internally displaced, recruiting tens of thousands of child soldiers, and employing modern-day slave labor. The country burst into international headlines in September 2007 when tens of thousands of Buddhist monks marched in the streets calling for an end to military dictatorship. Than Shwe’s regime crushed the uprising, killing scores of monks and civilians.


Shepard Fairey is the man behind OBEY GIANT, the graphics that have changed the way people see art and the urban landscape. What started with an absurd sticker he created in 1989 while a student at the Rhode Island School of Design has since evolved into a worldwide street art campaign, as well as an acclaimed body of fine art. In 2003, Shepard founded Studio Number One, a creative design firm dedicated to applying his ethos at the intersection of art and enterprise. Shepard’s art reached a new height of prominence in 2008, when his “HOPE” portrait of Barack Obama became the iconic image of the presidential campaign and helped inspire an unprecedented political movement. Shepard is currently the subject of a 20-year career survey at the ICA Boston. The show’s next stop is the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, PA and will continue to tour museums across the U.S. in 2010. For more information, visit


The five primary goals of Human Rights Action Center are campaigning to include the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in citizen’s passports, supporting growing human rights groups all over the world, creating innovative, forceful, effective solutions to assist victims in protecting themselves, to rightfully restore Aung San Suu Kyi to power in Burma, and to create a fund to get people out of harm’s way in exceptional human rights abuse cases. Jack Healey heads the Human Rights Action Center in Washington, DC. Jack has been called “Mr. Human Rights” by U.S. News & World Report. He was named Person of the Week at ABC by Peter Jennings and his music tours of 1986 and 1988 both won ‘tour of the year honors’ by MTV. Jack marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the March on Washington in 1963, pioneered the World Hunger Run with Dick Gregory, and was Director of the Peace Corps Lesotho in Africa for four years. Becoming the executive director of Amnesty International USA in 1981, he made Amnesty International a household name with his pioneering of four successful musical tours including the Conspiracy of Hope and Human Rights Now! Tours.


Citizens who want to get involved with the campaign for Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma can sign up at The United States Campaign for Burma is a U.S.-based membership organization dedicated to empowering grassroots activists around the world to bring about an end to the military dictatorship in Burma. USCB works with people in all 50 U.S. states on human rights in Burma, as well as in the U.S. Congress and at the United Nations. USCB staff have testified at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and House Committee on Foreign Affairs, as well as at governmental bodies throughout the world. USCB’s work has been covered in over 50,000 news articles, and USCB directors have spoken about Burma on NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, BBC, etc. USCB co-founder Jeremy Woodrum was nominated for the Reebok Human Rights Award and has spoken on Burma in 25 U.S. States. USCB co-founder Aung Din
served as a political prisoner in Burma for over four years after participating in his country’s 1988 uprising that nearly toppled decades of military rule. Both have written extensively about the situation in Burma.



Relativity Media, LLC (“RML”) is a media and entertainment company which focuses on creating, financing and distributing first class, studio quality entertainment content and intellectual property across multiple platforms, as well as making strategic partnerships with, and opportunistic investments in media and entertainment related companies and assets. Relativity also owns and operates Rogue, a company that specializes in the production and distribution of lower-budget genre films, as well as the label’s entire library of films. Under Relativity’s new ownership, Rogue has had particular success within the horror genre including The Unborn and The Last House On the Left.

To date, Relativity has financed and/or produced over 60 films that have seen wide release and have accumulated $7.4 billion in worldwide box office revenue. Fifty of those films are “Top 10!” box office releases from the past two years. Relativity’s recent films include Fast and Furious, Step Brothers, Hancock, Wanted, Burn After Reading, Death Race, The House Bunny, Mamma Mia!, You Don’t Mess With the Zohan, Pineapple Express, The Mummy: Tomb Of the Dragon Emperor, and Hellboy Ii: The Golden Army.

Relativity’s 2008 slate included five of the top twelve highest-grossing films of the year; eighteen of the company’s films have opened at #1 at the box office, and eighteen of RML’s nineteen summer releases landed in the top three highest earners in their respective opening weekends. Their films have earned 29 Oscar® nominations, including nods for Frost/Nixon, Atonement, American Gangster, and 3:10 To Yuma. Twenty-nine of RML’s films have each generated over $100 million in worldwide box office receipts. This past summer, Relativity Media, LLC announced an extensive international distribution program, which included thirteen output deals covering 100+ territories.


Dubbed “a one stop philanthropy shop” by TechCrunch, Causecast is an online global community and social action network that connects, promotes and empowers individuals, celebrities, activists, businesses and nonprofits with media and tools that transform interest into action and directly influence positive change. Based on the understanding that all causes are inherently connected, Causecast believes that in order to change the course of history we must not only act as individuals but through collaboration. People want to do good, want to be inspired, and want to inspire others to join them in giving back. Causecast makes this easy by providing users with means to CONNECT with people, local and world leaders, charities, nonprofit organizations, and brands that inspire them. Causecast has already partnered with Google in the All For Good Campaign, Global Green, Kiva, and the Human Rights Action Center as well as celebrity activists such as Jennifer Lopez, Maggie Q, and Jenny McCarthy. This summer, Causecast will be launching the public BETAversion 2.0 of its website with even more capabilities to empower its users.