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Sonja Sohn - ReWired for Change

March 30, 2012

Sonja Sohn was born and raised in the south, primarily in Newport News, VA, to an African American father and Korean mother. After a youth filled with love, struggle, sexual and emotional abuse, drug addiction and small triumphs, Sohn set her sights on New York City where she briefly attended various colleges, married and raised two daughters.

Eventually, Sohn found herself pursuing a career in the arts. After dabbling in fine arts as a painter, she became one of the pioneers in the spoken word scene in New York in the nineties, which eventually led to a Warner Bros/Coalition/Arthrob recording contract in London where she launched an album, under the name, ďFini Dolo,Ē a collaboration between her and British music producer, Noel Watson.

After 5 years of studying acting under the tutelage of renowned acting coach, Susan Batson, Sohn landed the lead female role in SLAM, directed by Marc Levin and co-written by her and the principle cast of the film. SLAM became a festival darling in 1998 when it won the Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize and the Camera Díor at the Cannes Film Festival in France. That same year, she and co-star, Saul Williams, won the IFP Gotham Award for Best Breakthrough Performance for their roles in SLAM. Thus, began Sohnís official acting career and the road that led to her eventual calling: intertwining her career in the arts with her passion for social justice and activism.

Sohn was inspired to start ReWired for Change in 2008 by her own lifeís journey and her work on the ground during the course of the 2008 presidential election. That year, she and her colleagues from HBOís critically acclaimed series The Wire, devoted their efforts to working with National Urban League President, Marc Morial, to empower and educate voters on the importance of their vote across Virginia, North Carolina and in Philadelphia. It was during this time that she witnessed the impact The Wire cast had on community members who were living in impoverished neighborhoods. Sohn saw, firsthand, how celebrity can be used responsibly to influence the lives of people who are often left out of the social equation. She was particularly moved by how often the act of one inspired another and continued to ripple throughout these communities.

Something had to be done to continue to nurture the seed of change planted by Sohn and her colleagues; immediately following the campaign trail, she began to galvanize the support of the rest of The Wire cast and crew and devise ways in which they could use their creative resources and media access as a force for change in the lives of high risk youth, adults and families living in disadvantaged areas. Sohn envisioned an effort to take high risk young people on a journey towards self awareness and becoming productive citizens who contribute to the well being of their communities. During the early years of her work on the ground, she quickly began to realize that youth cannot heal without the support of a healthy family and community to come home to and began to focus her efforts on creating a holistic, all inclusive approach to sustainable individual and community healing and empowerment.

As illustrated by Sonja Sohnís work on SLAM and The Wire, her leadership of ReWired for Change and as a two time NAACP Image Award nominee and recipient of the Harvard Black Menís Forum 2011 Woman of the Year Award, she has demonstrated her ability to fuse together her entertainment expertise with a passion for redirecting the lives of our nationís most endangered populations. With ReWired for Change, Sohn continues to develop the ultimate vehicle for what she believes to be her lifeís purpose: to educate, uplift, empower and unite the marginalized and underserved populations of the world.

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