Cornerstone Event


Last night, the Cornerstone Open Mic & Artist Showcase in Seattle allowed Holly and I to be featured for Haiti fundraising. It was a phenomenal event. The talented spoken word and hip hop artists (especially my friend Rockwell Powers) blew me away, but it was the spirit of community and the beautiful people that made the experience even more amazing.

I finished up the spoken word segment with a talk I prepared about my experience in Haiti, but I wanted to tailor it to the event, so it ended up being a mix of a poem and a speech. I'm pretty sure people liked it given the amount of tears in the audience. I'm proud to say I made some grown men cry.

But I'm even more proud of the Cornerstone community for rallying and donating $727 to Haiti relief. That's complete cholera treatment to save 33 children who are dying. That's pretty phenomenal.

One of the attendees suggested I write up my speech here to inspire readers to donate, and I think that's a great idea. Just click on the Donate Now link above to link directly to Friends of the Orphans!


I'm here tonight
because I was with my best friend Molly in Haiti last winter
because I survived an earthquake
because I was on the 7th story of a building, and not the 5th
because when that 7-story building collapsed and turned into a stack of pancakes, I ended up near the top

I'm here because the beam that knocked me unconscious, broke my arm, but open my skull, pinned me down, and trapped me- did not kill me.

I'm here because of a stroke of luck.

I'm here
because Haitian men that I had never met- and will never see again- pulled me from the wreckage
because three complete strangers drove me to the embassy.

I'm here because of a stroke of luck.

I'm here tonight because of a man named Ryan who sat directly next to me when the earthquake started.
I'm here tonight because they pulled out Ryan's body two days later.

I'm here because there happened to be an extra seat in a helicopter to Guantanamo Bay.

I'm here because of a stroke of luck.

I'm here tonight
because Molly was my best friend
because Molly still is my best friend
because Molly was on the 5th floor, not the 7th
because they pulled out Molly's body 3 days later.

I'm here tonight
because Haiti haunts me
because I feel guilty
because I feel guilty ever day
because now I live for two people

I'm here tonight
because people inevitably forget
because I don't get to forget.

I'm here tonight because hope is hard to find
but hope is there if you look hard enough.

I'm here tonight
because Friends of the Orphans gives me hope
because Molly worked for Friends of the Orphans
because Friends of the Orphans runs a home for 500 orphaned, abandoned, and disabled kids in Haiti that is the happiest place I've ever been.

I'm here tonight because Friends started a day camp to give food, community, education and counseling to thousands of kids displaced into tent cities after the earthquake
because Friends made a new orphanage out of shipping containers and took in dozens more kids orphaned by the quake
because they run the country's only free pediatric hospital
because they give kids new prosthetic limbs for free
because they cure pediatric cancer for free
because they provide physical therapy to disabled kids for free
because they provide each of their over 500 children as much education as he or she wants, even through college for free.

But I'm here tonight because the colleges in Haiti fell down.

I'm here tonight
because over a thousand people have died from cholera in Haiti.
I'm here tonight
because cholera is easily cured.

But cholera is only easily cured if you aren't malnourished
cholera is only easily cured if you have clean water
cholera is only easily cured if you have access to IV fluids to save you from fatal dehydration

cholera is only easily cured if you aren't poor.

I'm here tonight because IV fluids are cheap
but IV fluids aren't cheap if you live on less than $2 a day.

I'm here tonight because Friends of the Orphans is saving people dying of cholera for free.

I'm here tonight because I'm going back to Haiti in a few weeks.
I will spend 17 days cleaning up bodily fluids for cholera sufferers
I will spend 17 days touring the destruction that nobody's cleaning up
I will spend 17 days convincing myself that Molly isn't still in Haiti and she's never coming home.

I'm here tonight because Haiti is the only place I want to be, but being in Haiti breaks my heart.

I'm here tonight
because $22 can buy the antibiotics, IV supplies, and fluids to save a child's life from cholera
$20 for adults.

I'm here tonight because you all might have $22.

I'm here tonight because $22 is a pretty good deal for a human life.

I'm here tonight
because Haiti haunts me
because I feel guilty.

I'm here because of a stroke of luck.

I'm here tonight because Molly is not here to ask for your help.
I'm here tonight because Haiti is not here to ask for your help.
I'm here tonight because Haiti really needs your help.

I'm here because of a stroke of luck.

I'm here tonight because, to be honest, I don't have an explanation for why I'm the one who survived, but being here tonight to ask you to help Haiti is the only way I can start to answer the question
of why I'm here at all.

Comments

  1. That's beautiful, Rae. I don't know if I ever told you this but I 'adopted' a child through Friends of the Orphans last February - Cesar, in El Salvador.

    I just donated to your Heal, Help Hope initiative!

    -Zach

    ReplyDelete
  2. That is AMAZING!! You are such an inspiration!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Tears in my eyes as well. I remember when they were looking for you. I remember when they found you. I remember when they found Ryan and Molly and Erin. I won't forget, can't forget either. Blessings to you, blessings to Haiti for your return.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment