As a media professional, it has been interesting for me to witness and study how social media networking re-defined journalism over the past few years. I'm a news producer at Tribune. Prior to this I was working at a PBS station in Chicago and have also been a radio host at Chicago Public Radio and Asian Broadcasting Network and have experience working with major media organisations in Pakistan. ...
Buy Life on World AIDS Day with KCA
Africa my motherland why do they do you so?
And yet your faith is strong
Even though you are weary of being hurt for so long
You are resilient
Your light may flicker at times but
Your veins are tied to the beginnings of life
So I say to the world tonight
Give to the Motherland and apologize
Because slavery, colonialism and theft were your ancestors crimes
Give and apologize
Because with our redemption they can again rise.
-Leigh Blake Founder and President Keep a Child Alive
Another year, another day- dedicated to the cause of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome or what we have come know as AIDS. December 1, 2010 will mark yet another World AIDS Day; and in our own way we'll pause or not, to give it a moment's thought. And just like that, we'll be done with it as we would a Hallmark holiday- those we have been numbed to.
By now, I'm sure you've all heard of the Buy Life campaign by Alicia Keys where celebrities will "die digitally" and sign off their Twitter accounts till the charity organization has raised a million dollars on World AIDS Day this year. Alicia Keys who is the co-founder of Keep A Child Alive (KCA) along with her husband Swiss Beatz, Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Kim Kardashian, Usher and some other notable celebrities are taking part in this social media event. There are enough news sources keeping track of things and we will soon find out how well a "coffin laden" Kim Kardashian amongst others did to get people motivated.
The thing is that a well known artist is the woman behind this movement and we haven't heard much about her. Her counterpart Alicia Keys who is genuinely dedicated to cause seems to have received all the media spoof- for reasons that are obvious. But KCA would not be much had it not been for Leigh Blake, the founder and president of this charity organization.
In this video, you will hear her speak about why she fights for the cause:
Leigh Blake on KCA
You will find her written words splayed across the website in the form of poetry and essays that will give you a glimpse into her world; and why she cares about a disease that needs more attention than the single day sandwiched between our holiday excitement where we are asked to stop and think about it.
According to what has been written about her, the following will provide you with more insight about Leigh Blake and her project:
"Although I had been an active member of the anti-apartheid movement in Britain, I thought after the abolition of apartheid that South Africa would be free of its ills. But along came AIDS to that country and indeed the whole continent, and I realized how much more work was still to be done. South Africa was the epicenter of the epidemic in Africa and seeing the pain of the people struggling to cope with the ravages of AIDS spurred me on," said Blake.
According to her biography on the William Morris Endeavour Entertainment site, "One day in the clinic a woman named Anne brought her child Brine, for medical care. He was extremely sick and clearly was not going to survive. Anne refused to leave the clinic until she received the "drugs that you have in America for your children." This was a eureka moment for Leigh and the day that she would recognize her calling. Leigh told Anne to go home, that she would pay for the drugs, knowing that if it happened to her son, she would have done the same. The idea for her next initiative, Keep A Child Alive, was born at that moment but it took a while to get it realized.
In 2003 Leigh officially founded Keep A Child Alive, (KCA) which provides vitally needed anti retroviral medicine to children and families with AIDS in the developing world. So, this AIDS day, even though celebrities you love will feign death for a few hours, do think about those who face death each day of their lives.
Photo Credit: Leigh Blake bio