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.

Pensacola sunrise: heading out to tar ball beachfronts #citizengulf

Posted: July 1st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Photo Essay: Gulf fishing families and their community

Posted: June 30th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

From Mississippi, on the road now:
Pardon this really quick photo essay with limited clarification (more on that coming with links soon…).

Just wanted to share some memories in photos thus far from CitizenEffect’s Gulf Mission and fact finding effort. It’s been one of the most enriched yet toiling journeys.

Fyi — All photos are by myself except ‘Humvee driving on beach‘ per Geoff Livingston, Creative Commons.

BP sign mother nature

Grand Isle escorting Dan pier
Katrina house

fishermen boots painted

Grand Isle humvee GL

Grand Isle Exxon Humble Road

St. Bernard crew cheering

St. Bernard military assistance

En route to Grand Isle

Geoff photography Grand Isle

How feed out kids signage

Touring Second Harvest Leslie

Citizen Effect team at night

From the Gulf: learning to see the invisible

Posted: June 30th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Grand Isle humvee GL

I traveled to the Grand Isle for the first time this week, expecting to see a community of locals. The goal, along with fellow Washington, DC bloggers on CitizenEffect’s Gulf Mission blogging trip, was to meet and learn from fishing families about the oil disaster – hoping to find ways to help out. Despite beaches being inaccessible due to disaster response, I assumed neighborhoods and eateries would still be active hubs for local folks we could talk to.

But it was all quiet.

Those visions I had of neighborly conversations on porches or in the popular diner or beachfront restaurants were nowhere.

Other things became apparent there though and elsewhere in the state, making me uneasy for the environment here:

  • Grand Isle beaches are roadways now traveled by huge humvees transporting supplies and staff to cleanup sites. As logical as this scenario may be for response efforts, it brought home this point: containing oil in the Gulf has consequence to not only water life but species from shore environs too;
  • As for the Grand Isle’s perceived emptiness, that’s the telling factor: according to many I’ve met, that area is a big family vacation spot. The fact the cleanup effort restricts access creates an inevitable drain on the local economy;
  • teams of local deckhands and fishermen are now working on oil containment in the inner marshes. Our CitizenEffect bloggers and myself enjoyed meeting many of them in St. Bernard’s parish. They showed fantastic pride in their efforts, managing vast amounts of orange booms hoping intensely to protect the inner marshes and surrounding marina. Yet a few entered into side conversations on how vulnerable they see the inner marsh area. They know if efforts don’t succeed, their life as fishing families will evaporate.

What I’ve come to consider is how much the unseen maintains heavy impact here — shore life unseen by beach based rescue vehicles; unseen local populations that normally fuel local summer economies; and Deep Horizon oil absent from inner marshes (but angst of its arrival pervades generational fishing communities).

So far from blogging experience this week, invisible and evident factors both stimulate concern and dread on what comes next.

Photo Grand Isle Humvee by Geoff Livingston, Creative Commons

*Guest posted and published to LiveEarth’s blog 7/1/10

CitizenEffect’s blogger team in Gulf: Grand Isle sheriff asks to stop taking photos

Posted: June 29th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Video interviews | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Posting from the road in Louisiana.

-below was first published via CNN’s iReport.

It was educational, uncomfortable.

1 minute cut: