Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Bloggers Unite for Haiti
I wish I could call myself an activist, striving for social justice and reform... but I can't, it wouldn't be true. I'm so weary of the political landscape, the Republican barbs and Democratic mixed messages, that I don't even keep up with current affairs the way I should. I mean, isn't that what we are supposed to do as citizens with voting rights that are enviable in many parts of the world? I am guilty, one of those who feel like one small, solo voice that, no matter how loudly I cry would not reach beyond these four walls.
But when I saw the Bloggers Unite for Haiti campaign, a graphic that I could post along with this message and links to various ways to help, I signed on. What prompted me was a photograph on the front page of our newspaper, of a young girl sitting at her brother's feet, the rest of his body crushed by the school they had been attending. Her expression wrenched my heart... the grief on her face so vivid I might have reached out and touched the tears on her cheek.
I also read an AP article that covered the social media aspect of creating awareness on a larger scale, about celebrities leveraging their 'brands' to encourage donations. Haitian American singer/producer Wyclef Jean put the word out on Twitter and raised more than $1 million in one day." Wow. I wish I could do that, though I'm not certain that I'd do well living in the fishbowl with the celebrities and politicians and powerful people whose lives are scrutinized to the point of absurdity.
According to the article - "Some activists have criticized this use of online resources.... 'slacktivism,' a way for overly connected couch potatoes to shift the money they might spend on a Starbucks latte to a charitable cause with no sweat required. But in the case of Haiti relief, such efforts allowed charities to raise much-needed funds quickly."
So I guess in this case it's OK. I shook my head when I read that, I mean, could that be a case of fund-envy? Should Wyclef Jean instead be putting together a crew and heading down to volunteer in Haiti instead of sending massive amounts of aid? If I sold every piece of art I ever made it obviously wouldn't approach the celebrity level. Mission is an enormous priority at our church (Maxwell Street Presbyterian). Several groups went to New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina; I haven't heard any news about a trip to Haiti but if they go I won't be with them. I offer what I can - financial support and my time/talents for photography, writing and strategic planning. So I guess I fall into the category of 'slactivist.'
Today is the day that those of us who signed on are to post about Bloggers supporting those devastated by the earthquake in Haiti. How many people will read this... ten? twenty? But I am an activist in my heart and I believe that love is a verb; I do what I am able to and I'll have to be content with that for now.