Katrina + BP = Need: You Can Make a Difference

Vietnamese Fisher Family Gets Aid

Vietnamese fishing family gets aid in St. Bernard’s Parish from Catholic Charities of New Orleans

Reading Kari Saratovsky’s blog about social media and empathy, I knew that in reality social media enhances empathy, particular given the amount of volunteering we see. We’ve seen it time in and time out, too, from Obama’s election to Iran to Haiti and then most recently, with the public outrage towards the oil spill.

I know people are empathetic first hand. Ever since we started on the citizengulf journey together just seven weeks ago, and before that when we commiserated over the oil spill, literally hundreds of people have reach out to me to discuss this issue privately.

A vast majority don’t believe a word of BP’s promises to right the Gulf ship, nor the Obama administration’s commitments to hold BP accountable. They know the region has been hurt badly, and that given the first opportunity, BP will assume business as usual (see USA Today story).

A Brad Pitt Make It Right project house

The above photo shows one of Brad Pitt’s homes in New Orleans’ devastated 9th ward. For every one of his homes, there are still hundreds abandoned standing in a ghost town. We forge this region just five years ago on August 28th was completely ravaged by Hurricane Katrina.

Now you add BP’s oilspill to the mix and the Gulf is reeling on its heels again. No community has been hit harder than the fishing families of the affected Gulf region. They will be left to fend for their own once BP moves on (at the first opportunity), creating what will likely be our modern Dust Bowl.

Make A Difference

Empathy may be a result of feeling like your actions won’t mean anything. But with #citizengulf, the smallest action, attending a meet-up, a small donation or even voting in a Pepsi Refresh contest impacts the families affected by the oil spill. The whole purpose of opening up citizengulf is to provide anyone who cares easy actions to take small steps towards actionable change. If people feel so inclined, they can even build their own grassroots effort.

On August 25th, I really hope you’ll take the two hours to have fun with friends and help these fishing families. No one is THAT busy. If you are in New York City, I fully expect you to attend the East Village event with me and Richard Laermer. In addition to a free Lemonade DVD, the next 25 registrants will get autographed copies of Now Is Gone and Punk Marketing.

The primary Citizen Effect beneficiary is Catholic Charities of New Orleans. They have created a means for you to help the children of fishing families with better education resources via the After School Assembly program. This is so they can find a new way of life if they choose to do so. All money sans credit card transactions goes directly to this program.