In June, one of my business partners from Zoetica and also a dear friend, Geoff Livingston, went on a fact finding mission as a citizen journalist to the Gulf of Mexico to see how the oil spill there had affected the community. He was deeply moved by the experience, as you can read here in his post upon his return. He went with Citizen Effect, and they documented the trip on its blog.
I was particularly moved by the picture of this Vietnamese girl, which was taken by Geoff at an aid station. She was there with her family to receive aid since they had lost their entire manner of survival in just a matter of days.
Geoff, being who he is, didn’t just want to go and report, he also wanted to do something about it. So a national day of action, which came to be known as #CitizenGulf, was launched.
This day of action was held last night in 20 cities across the United States on August 25, 2010, which also happens to be the fifth anniversary of the day that Katrina rolled into New Orleans.
Here in Houston, where I live, we held a party downtown that we called the Houston Tar Ball. We had some great local bands, including Clory Martin, Runaway Sun with Andrew Karnavas; and The Umbrella Man.
Over $1,000 was raised here in Houston and approximately $10,000 nationwide for the Catholic Charities of New Orleans After School Program that will provide assistance to fisher families in the form of school supplies and uniforms, as well as after school programming that includes tutoring and homework assistance, enrichment classes, recreational activities, and healthy snacks.
The good news is that if you missed the events last night, you can still be involved. Citizen Effect, which backed #CitizenGulf, is an organization that works with Citizen Philanthropists, like Geoff and the others that helped organize CtitizenGulf, to leverage their social networks for a common cause and promoting civic engagement.
CitizenGulf lives on. You can still DONATE HERE to the cause.
Finally, I want to thank the MANY people that made The Houston Tar Ball a success. To Grace Rodriguez for putting together the event. To Jonathan Cohen and Support Local, Grow Together, for sponsoring the event. For Jennifer Texada, my partner in crime with the Social Media Club of Houston and the Houston Social Media Breakfast.
Also, want to thank the music underwriters Jim Connor, Emily Connor, and AYN Brand and the many individual sponsors including Imelda Bettinger, Ed Schipul, Jennifer Evans and Tracy Besser. Finally, thanks to everyone who came (about 50 of you), donated, or otherwise spread the word about #CitizenGulf.
Welcome to the age of citizen philanthropy!