In mid September Hurricane Maria started churning over the Atlantic, leaving devastation on several Eastern Caribbean islands, just weeks after another deadly hurricane, Irma. Islands like Barbuda, Dominica, and Puerto Rico were left virtually destroyed. Immediate tweets from the acting President of the United States:
” Texas & Florida are doing great but Puerto Rico, which was already suffering from broken infrastructure & massive debt, is in deep trouble.It’s old electrical grid which was in terrible shape, was devastated. Much of the Island was destroyed, with billions of dollars owed to Wall Street and the banks, which sadly must be dealt with.”
As someone who has experienced (still experiences) poverty trauma at the hands of capitalism and greed, these comments really affected me. It’s not news, MJ already warned us that they don’t care about us, but this is a level of despicable I had never seen. But, you don’t have to be poor to understand that no one should think this way or say these things after such an incomprehensible tragedy, especially the “leader of the ‘free’ world.” A reminder.
At the time, I was planning to launch a campaign for my birthday in order to raise funds for my dream trip to Brazil for Carnival. Still, something about fundraising for myself didn’t sit well with me. How could I ask people to give me money when there were people who had lost their homes, their relatives, and their memories. As with many things, it’s easy to sit back, point fingers, and complain, but I wanted to be part of the solution so I tried to think of ways that I could contribute. I was in the bath tub one night when I had the idea to split the money I raised for my birthday with the hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Alas, #KandisCarnivale2018 was born with the goal being to raise $2000. I started offering $20 tarot readings and asked all my friends and family to donate for my birthday, rather than give me gifts, or take me out to dinner. The response was overwhelmingly positive, and the campaign raised $1600, or 80% of my goal!
The Ricky Martin Foundation fights human trafficking, here is an excerpt from their campaign.
“We denounce and educate about the existence of human trafficking through research and community initiatives anchored in the defense of children and youth rights. Protecting our children and citizens is vital after natural disasters. Without a home nor basic human needs, everyone is vulnerable to human trafficking.”
The Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands has been working in the community for over 25 years and 100% of the proceeds go directly toward rebuilding the islands. Looking back, it’s really incredible and beautiful that everyone gave from their hearts. It is certainly a defining moment of my life so far, and a true testament of the power we have when we come together toward a cause.
It’s so unfortunate that we cannot rely on our government to assist us when disaster strikes, but my heart is full knowing that communities continue to come together to organize and create change for themselves. If you are looking for ways to support the hurricane relief efforts, please consider donating to my dear friend’s campaign led by women of color to rebuild farms in Puerto Rico. You can donate money or purchase items on their Amazon Wish List.