Filmmaker Anita Sinha shares on her latest project (audio chat)

Posted: August 28th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Video interviews | No Comments »

citizengulf dc documentary screening

(photo by Jill Foster: recent screening of Anita’s film at a Gulf fundraiser)

Download now or listen on posterous

Memo.m4a (1627 KB)

It was fantastic meeting Anita last week at CitizenEffect’s National Day of Action and screening her recent film called “Out of Sight, Out of Mind.” It wasn’t easy learning about some of her Gulf field research for the film yet I’m grateful she took time to talk here in this 3 minute audio cast.

Posted via email from jillfoster’s posterous

Great crowd at the ‘Fabulous Women’s Business Owners’ meetup. The focus: power of improv public speech

Posted: August 19th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Practice, Women entrepreneurs | No Comments »

Would you join us 8/25th to make a difference for the Gulf?

Posted: August 18th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

It’s a tremendous show of partnership for Social Media Club to be supporting CitizenEffect’s National Day of Action next week on Wednesday, August 25th. It’s fantastic.

Are you in the Washington, DC area? If so, please join the local SMC-DC chapter at a meetup 8/25th, as apart of a National Day of Action and fundraising effort for Gulf children’s education.
Are you outside DC or in a different region all together? Perfect! Other cities are participating too next week, complete with jazz, friends, Hurricanes, and great conversation on helping the Gulf recover.

Some reasons why we’re inviting you to participate:

Last month I joined a nonprofit called CitizenEffect for their fact-finding mission trip to the Gulf – or called #CitizenGulf on Twitter. The goal was to learn directly from fishing families about how they’d been impacted by the BP oil spill (and also learn from local nonprofits supporting the Gulf region).

We saw a lot that was both humbling and difficult to observe.

After meeting fishing families in Louisiana’s St. Bernard Parish one day, we stopped by a 9th Ward neighborhood. Many homes had been leveled or abandoned since Hurricane Katrina (of which the 5th year anniversary occurs next week). Either way, several vacant homes still stood as reminders of Katrina’s ruination.

Katrina house1

We then continued on to Pensacola, Florida to discuss the oil spill’s impact with locals there and inspect beachfronts. Our team scoped out Casino Beach in particular, pictured below, and its tar balls rolling up on the sand (…my foot in comparison to a tar ball).

beach tar ball sneaker

Fishing families had just started to rebound from Katrina, then the oil spill emerged…

Would you join DC’s Social Media Club chapter and CitizenEffect to create next steps for Gulf fishing families? It’s all happening on an awesome National Day of Action, Wednesday, August 25th.

If you’re in DC, please RSVP and we look forward to seeing you.

If you want to host a meetup or join your local SMC chapter, please check to see what may already be organized on the National Day of Action in your city.

How your efforts benefit children of Gulf fishing families (plus more ways to help)

In addition to planning meetups with friends and Social Media Club per above, you’re welcome to donate anytime or vote for a PepsiRefresh project to benefit Gulf communities. All funds raised through the CitizenGulf National Day of Action will be donated to Catholic Charities of New Orleans (less processing fees) for their After School Assembly program.

Thanks again Social Media Club for your great help in creating more possibilities for this region and these families.

Blogging from the Gulf: 3 stories on fishing families and the oil spill

Posted: August 16th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Gulf fisherman Willie

Since joining CitizenEffect’s Gulf fact-finding mission trip last month (called #CitizenGulf on Twitter), there are memories of certain stories, small clips of conversations, that keep coming to mind. A few in particular clarify the vulnerable ways many fishing families and Gulf residents find themselves since the oil spill. I haven’t shared them much beyond the fellow bloggers that experienced these stories too during the mission trip. There’s something tender about these specific memories that I think have caused me to shy away from talking more about them. It seems time to be more direct and open now, especially as CitizenEffect’s National Day of Action on August 25th draws near.

Story #1
A local Louisiana resident shared a conversation she had with a priest in St. Bernard’s parish. The priest had been supporting a local community center that distributed meals to fishing families. He realized the confidence and pride many of his parish shared, including one woman in particular. He hadn’t seen this woman for a while and grew concerned on her well being. Recently he saw her approach the food line for a meal. He realized then the level of need she must be facing in light of her pride and resourcefulness he’d observed in her before the oil spill.

Story #2
Another conversation involves a neighborhood where many Vietnamese fishing families live. Many stand in line at a particular community center weekly, supported by Catholic Charities of New Orleans, to collect food vouchers. There were a range of parents and children. And some local center counselors described the impact on family dynamics: children acting out from family tension and fathers, often the head of the fishing businesses, refusing to stand in food stipend lines due to hurt pride about lost means to provide family income.

Story #3
A waitress that we met in Pensacola, Florida, who raised her sons near a neighborhood beach there, said she didn’t know what to tell them (her sons) about how their cherished beach had been affected by the oil spill. She and her sons want to go back to the water but, as the waitress/mom admitted, it’s too toxic. She knows their way of life will change for her family and in her words, she: “…doesn’t want to burden her sons’ spirit by telling them the truth.”

Would you join us August 25th?
These stories are just some of the many reasons that make CitizenEffect’s National Day of Action on August 25th such a compelling event and cause.

Would you join us?
The goal on the 25th is to raise funds for children of Gulf fishing families (and their education) — with CitizenGulf funds going to Catholic Charities of New Orleans who will administer the education program. Do you know of events going on in your area? Do you want to host an event with friends or even join your local Social Media Club chapter for a community meetup – with jazz, Hurricanes, and more — all to help the future of Gulf fishing families?

Photo, Gulf fisherman-Willie, by Geoff Livingston, Creative Commons.

Taking the #crisiscamp stage at Red Cross: emcee @wharman @scobleizer @jocelynharmon

Posted: August 12th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »
It was a pleasure sponsoring this event and coaching a few of those on the speaker slate.

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Reflections: CitizenEffect’s National Day of Action on 8/25th

Posted: August 6th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »


After completing CitizenEffect’s Gulf Mission last month, called #CitizenGulf on Twitter, I returned home to Washington, DC grateful for the chance to have learned about the oil spill first-hand. Yet feelings of overwhelm and strain overshadowed appreciation for that newly gained insight. Processing the spill’s environmental, financial complexity had left my emotions bewildered.

The upside was CitizenEffect’s response to the trip: a National Day of Action on August 25th. People across the country will meetup in their communities and host events to raise funds for children of Gulf fishing families.

Please join us for this Day of Action later this month (…with music, friends, more).

Some context:

Our fact-finding blogger team had spent 4.5 days meeting Gulf fishing families and learning the oil spill’s impact from their viewpoint. Nonprofits including Catholic Charities of New Orleans spent a lot of time introducing us to local areas in need – the fishing families standing in line at community centers awaiting grocery money and the out-of-work deck hands helping to keep oil from entering the inner marshes.

I have not encountered such vulnerability and strength all at once as seen in these communities. The fishing industry in Louisiana parishes is precarious at best. Fishermen that we met would express relief their children were not planning to work on Gulf fishing boats, saying:

“There’s nothing for our kids in this business; it’s gone.”

The thought of one’s profession evaporating overnight finally began to take hold in my mind, launching those feelings of overwhelm. I began to consider what it would be like to have one’s livelihood abruptly not exist (not just the job itself but the entire profession that created it).

What would that look like? What alternatives would exist?

I work online a lot, so the hypothetical equivalent (…as hard as this hypothetical is to imagine) would be to wake up one day to a world without the Internet. My ego would like to think my husband and I would carve out a way and be ok, but we both work heavily on the web. So relocating, re-thinking skill sets, or creating new marketable skills would immediately be required. But how? We shop online. We order food online. We work online. We commune online. What would be sustaining options with immediate, long term income?

It would be a huge paradigm shift that would scare the daylights out of my family.

And many Gulf fishermen and their families are confronting this type of metaphorical severity. But instead of the Internet, it’s the Gulf habitat at stake.

Can we join together and help Gulf families and their children? Yes.

For Citizen Gulf’s National Day of Action on August 25th there are a few ways to help children of Gulf fishing families: you can host a meetup in your city on 8/25th or donate directly anytime that will go to CitizenEffect’s partner charity for CitizenGulf — Catholic Charities in New Orleans. Another way to help is to vote for a Pepsi Refresh project benefiting Gulf communities.

Photo, St. Bernard Fisherman-Kerry, by Geoff Livingston, Creative Commons