Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day 2008 - Fighting Poverty as an Artist.

"Poverty is the worst form of violence." - Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) Preeminent leader of Indian nationalism.

Today is Blog Action Day 2008 - Poverty is the topic.

My husband's blog of this Action day is here.

While America & the rest of the world is thrown into Wall Street Woes, a lot of poorer people who only wished they had the opportunity to mortgage a house is saying "welcome to my world." Heaven knows I have struggled month to month to pay bills, but at least I still manage to pay them within the month they're due. And I get to go see shows, movies, have a cell phone, eat out, etc. Thing is, anyone can join the ranks of the poor at any moment due to medical bills, sudden economic downturn and decreased job opportunity, death in the family, etc. We all can't blame others who are under the poverty line for their own laziness. A certain amount of a socialist attitude of understanding and help is extremely necessary.

"If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich." - John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) Thirty-fifth President of the USA

I'm in the business of entertainment - not necessarily a hard-hitting or impacting business on economics, *unless* the craft aids to bringing about awareness, understanding, and a sense of hope for those who are impoverished or close to the poverty line. Certainly art in every form is an extremely important form through which to hold the mirror up to society to closer find where people fall through the cracks. And benefit performances for local, national, or global charities are also important, as is creating a buzz around political work to bring awareness into local government offices. Food drives (asking the audience or gallery attendees to bring in a can of food for a raffle/prize ticket) are also an option. And of course, if there is an event for the cause of eliminating poverty, donating one's talent as an artist (performing for free, decorating for free, creating marketing material for free, etc) is as equal to a monetary donation when professional singers & artists sometimes cost $100/hr.

I was first introduced to the idea of falling into poverty after singing the song "Brother Can You Spare a Dime?" in a 5th grade American History musical. The lyrics talk of a very industrious person, who built towers, railroads, and even slogged through the hell of war, only to find himself on the street asking for a measly dime. It can happen to anyone, no matter how hard-working it is. Hm, maybe I should bring this song back into my repertoire and sing it at open mics around New York...maybe a medley of this and "Money" from "Cabaret" would be cool. Gotta think about this...

"Remember the poor, it costs nothing." - Josh Billings (1815-1885) American humorist and lecturer.

of course, remembering is not enough - ACTION, or in some cases, INACTION on certain activities, can help your fellow man or woman on the street or starving in their own kitchen.

Here are some URL's to organizations and events that might need your help - citizen, artist, or other:

Stand Up 2008 - "a global mobilisation to end poverty and inequality and for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Last year, 43.7 million people joined Stand Up worldwide, setting a new world record. This year, we are asking people to Stand Up and Take Action on October 17-19, to ensure governments worldwide hear our demands to end poverty and inequality."

Mercy Corps - "has partnered with Tina Fey and others to create the Action Center to End World Hunger — a space where people like you can make a difference."

Business Fights Poverty - "the free-to-join, fast-growing, international network for professionals passionate about fighting world poverty through good business."

and from the Blog Action Day 2008 website: 88 Ways to DO Something About Poverty Right Now.

Thanks for reading!

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