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Threadless raises 90k and counting for Red Cross with Haiti tee

Many Hands Make the Load Lighter - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever
A tee from underground t-shirt website has raised over $90,000 for Haiti relief efforts according to the Threadless weekly video update. The Haiti tee was launched on Jan. 19 with the Creole phrase, “Men anpil chay pa lou” (Translation: “Many Hands Make the Load Lighter”). All proceeds from the $10 per shirt sales benefit the Red Cross.

We reached out to Haiti’s neighbors and asked two of our designers from the Dominican Republic to design this tee, Thomas De Santis and Ivan Tarrazo Sanchez. They’ve declined their printing award and are instead giving it to the Red Cross. Shirts Our Business, one of our printers, has donated their printing time and ink. And everyone here has been rallying to get this tee out to retain focus on the relief effort. We hope you too, will send this along to your friends and fams to show your support!

Thomas and Ivan gave us their thoughts:

Thomas says, “Our inspiration (for the tee was) the amazing Haitian street art. It provides a true sense of daily life and community through the use of gorgeous colors.”

Ivan adds, “We hope that with the money raised with the tee we raise awareness as to the importance, not only of immediate assistance, but of the creation of the infrastructure needed to respond in similar crises.”
via Threadless news

Threadless has lifted their donation cap due to the success of the shirt and will now print 15,000 total.

I’ve been a big fan of Threadless since discovering their “Lil Soap” bestselling tee. Beyond the witty designs, Threadless grew quickly thanks to their strong online community including promoting a culture of customers sharing photos of themselves in their tees, and inviting design submissions.

Lil' Soap - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever

I have not worked with the company directly, but I have heard that they are open to partnerships and contests for non-profit organizations. While official partnerships are nice, the success of the Haiti tee is a good reminder that the web can turn anyone into a fundraiser for your cause by offering more ways for supporters to use their talents. In this case, the Red Cross will sit back and gratefully receive a check. Thank you, Threadless community!

Get your Haiti tee while supplies last.

Social Media Revolutionises Disaster Response for Haiti

By Kate Ausburn

On Tuesday January 12th, a magnitude 7.3 earthquake devastated the Caribbean nation of Haiti. The earthquake has destroyed the nations capital of Port-au-Prince including the Parliament building, the United Nations national headquarters, the hospital, the prison and many homes and businesses. Tens of thousands are dead and millions displaced in an event that United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has described as the worst humanitarian crisis in decades.

Photo by IFRC.

The United Nations, who lost 46 staff members in the earthquake and have hundreds more still missing, are coordinating emergency relief efforts in Haiti. Due to proximity, the United States have been able to offer immediate assistance on the ground in Haiti, having taken charge of the Port-au-Prince airport where a large proportion of foreign aid is currently being received.

Representatives from many non-government organisations are also in the country assisting with distribution of water and food to displaced Haitians and with hospitals overwhelmed, Medecins Sans Frontieres are assisting with medical care in makeshift hospitals run out of tents.

Role of Social Media
The use of social media platforms including Twitter and Facebook in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake has meant that an increasing level of coverage has reached more people in less time than that achieved through traditional media outlets. Social media has proved its value as a tool that can not only be used to communicate information but also to increase awareness and instigate a global call to action.

Photo by treslola.

Less than a week after the catastrophic event, donations of $US22mn had been pledged through the Red Cross text message campaign. Text message campaigns enable individuals to easily and impulsively donate while Twitter allows for promotion of the campaign to spread and reach a large global audience. Spokesperson for the American Red Cross, Gloria Huang, has said “…twitter has played an extremely significant part”.

Social media platforms such as a Twitter have been able to bridge the geographical and even causal distance that individuals may once have felt from such disasters. The response to the social media promoted campaigns for relief for Haiti have proven that solidarity with those in the midst of tragedy can be achieved, all that is needed is a simple method by which to become aware of unfolding devastation and similarly simple way to act on that awareness.

Photo by IFRC.

What You Can Do
There is much to be done in the rebuilding of the nations capital and supporting its displaced population in the interim. Out of this crisis comes the opportunity to not only restore but improve infrastructure in Haiti. A conference, to be held in Montreal on January 25, has been called to discuss the long-term plan for rebuilding Haiti.

While millions of dollars have been donated, continuing support will be needed over the upcoming months and years. You can assist by pledging a donation to any of the following campaigns:

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Twitter and Facebook users respond to Haiti crisis | BBC News

Type “Haiti” into Twitter, Facebook or Youtube and you soon encounter a message from @redcross sent at 05:38 GMT on Jan 13.

In less than 48 hours, the American Red Cross had received more than $35m in donations – including $8m directly from texts.

“This breaks all world records for a mobile giving campaign,” says their spokeswoman, Gloria Huang.

“It’s been incredible. People have donated more to Haiti than to Hurricane Katrina or the tsunami in Asia.

“And Twitter has played an extremely significant part.”

Why I’m making my end of year donation to Global Voices, and supporting not-for-profit journalism

Global Voices community members at the 2008 Summit in Budapest. Image by mentalacrobatics.

Global Voices community members at the 2008 Summit in Budapest. Image by mentalacrobatics.

It’s that time of year when all us professional procrastinators scramble to make that donation we meant to give months ago — just in time to avoid the tax man (sort of). My donation will go to the brilliant volunteers and underpaid/overworked staff at Global Voices. I appeal to you to join me in giving to Global Voices.

Global Voices seeks to aggregate, curate, and amplify the global conversation online – shining light on places and people other media often ignore. We work to develop tools, institutions and relationships that will help all voices, everywhere, to be heard.

Global Voices first came to my attention a few years ago when a friend of mine was working on a project with Ethan Zuckerman, one of the GV founders. I was impressed and followed the effort from a distance, but I didn’t have occasion to approach the GV team until Karina proposed the first G20Voice project at the London Summit. We knew we wanted to bring in “rising voices” from the Global South, but none of us were sure where to look. Lucky for us, GV had a started a project called, “Rising Voices” to train, support and promote new and rising bloggers from the south. We worked with GV and other partners to bring 50 bloggers from 22 countries to cover the London G20 Summit. This was the beginning of a project that includes G20Voice, ConflictVoice and ClimateVoice, which worked with TckTckTck to bring bloggers to the COP15 in Copenhagen.

I read the site, skyped and emailed with the staff, but it wasn’t until Paula Góes spoke at our G20Voice review day in London that I really understood the power of GV. She said, “We help the world’s ‘Blog-o-spheres’ talk to each other,” and the dusty doors of my mind blew open. GV wasn’t simply translating blogs to give me the scoop on what Iranian bloggers thought, they were letting Iranian bloggers communicate with American bloggers who in turn communicated with spanish speaking bloggers, etc., etc.

GV maintains 17 translation communities and growing with an impressive network of volunteer translators. Their power to amplify voices that those in power want silenced is compelling, but the most powerful aspect to me is how GV enables us to understand each other better. The posts from political turmoil are a Godsend. The posts about things like a local effort to save a Beirut landmark give those precious insights that make it harder and harder to see those separated by language and distance as, “Other.”

Beyond what Global Voices is doing, I’m giving because of what they can do and what they stand for — the future of media and information sharing. The old guard will continue to bemoan the death of print journalism as circulation and advertising continue to fall. However, what Legacy Media and their faithful regard as the “Death of journalism,” I see as a mere restructuring. A nonprofit model of journalism can save reporters’ jobs and save the industry from increasing pressure to maximize profit over information.

Texas offers  examples of both the right way forward, and futile clinging to the past. In the latter example, The Dallas News announced plans earlier this month for Section Editors to report to Sales Managers. Some back and forth between the management and reporters served to water-down the initial memo and clarify that editorial would remain independent…sort of. Still, the clear message is that newspapers like The Dallas News need to give greater weight to advertising opportunities and concerns if they are to stay in business.

The Texas Tribune offers the complete opposite side of the future of media coin. The online publication uses a not-for-profit model to promote civic engagement with public policy issues in the state. They provide excellent original reporting without the profit constraints and concerns of traditional news organizations.  The shooting at Fort Hood military base proved to be one of the first tests of the young website and their seasoned news team. As the rest of Texas-based and national media scrambled to own the story, The Texas Tribune stayed put. Tribune journalist Matt Stiles explained simply, “It wasn’t our story. Should we have just been one more news organization rushing to Fort Hood? I don’t think so.” A traditional news source does not have the luxury to make such a bold decision when news breaks in their state.

Are we worse off for it? Does the fact that 12 more journalists didn’t rush to Ft. Hood make us understand the story less? Or are we better off, because generous support allows that news team to stay dedicated to their area of expertise? The New Media revolution is not about the falling away of journalistic standards and the end of quality reporting, it is a brave new world where an explosion of new voices and diverse media outlets will break the information monopoly that keeps us delusional in the dark.

Nonprofit journalism like the Texas Tribune provides more expert analysis as the big papers continue to fail, not less. Global Voices ensure that the increasing amounts of information are better understood, rather than sources for confusion. In short, these not-for-profit efforts will do more to increase our understanding and ability to hold leaders accountable. They will make the media better. They will make the world a better place. And now, I put my money where my mouth is. I hope you will too.
Donate to Global Voices