by Shaun Knittel -
SGN Associate Editor
In response to the recent earthquake and tsunami that occurred in Japan late last week, the Asian Pacific Islander (API) Council of Seattle, along with Seattle Gay News and Neighbours Nightclub (1509 Broadway) are combining resources to raise money and awareness through Japan Rising, a cabaret show fundraiser where 100% of the proceeds will benefiting the Rainbow World Fund.
On March 26, API Council will present the show, and an open donation at the door gets you into the cabaret, scheduled to begin at 8 p.m.
'After watching the horrific images of what is happening in Japan and other affected areas, our organization decided to come together and put on a fundraising event,' President of the API Council Gaysha Starr told SGN. 'Since we are primarily a drag organization, we have the ability to bring many people from different communities as a captive audience, and raise money through the door cover, auction, and raffle prizes, and the entertainers donating their tips.'
According to API officials, after researching different charities, the organization chose to raise money for Rainbow World Fund, a volunteer-run 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that is headquartered in San Francisco, California. RWF is an all-volunteer international humanitarian service agency based in the LGBT and allied communities. Their mission is to promote LGBT philanthropy in the area of global humanitarian relief.
RWF currently support projects focusing on global HIV/AIDS, water development, landmine eradication, hunger, education, orphan care, and disaster relief in Africa, Asia, Central America, the Caribbean, and the United States. They also work to raise awareness of the charitable contributions of the LGBT community and to establish connections with non-LGBT communities. RWF has many direct ties with Japan through their annual World Tree of Hope, project which is a collaboration between RWF and members of the Japanese American community.
'The recent natural disaster in Japan greatly affects the greater API community in Seattle at so many levels,' Aleksa Manila, co-hostess of the event and community activist, said. 'The psychological and emotional effect on family members and relatives, whether immigrants or those who have a cultural relationship to Japan and/or Asia, can be relative to the direct effect on citizens living in Japan. Seattle has a long and rich history with Japan. Notably, in 1974, Kobe Park in the International District of Seattle, was named in honor of Seattle's sister city, Kobe, Japan. The trees and a four-ton, 200-year-old Yukimidoro stone lantern at the park were gifts from the people of Kobe. It is only natural for the API Community of Seattle to respond and support Japan in any way possible, whether it is a personal, familial, cultural, or community response.'
Fundraising and community service is nothing new to the Asian Pacific Islander Council. The API International Council was established in 2001 and was founded on the principles of raising cultural awareness, promoting tolerance, and fostering community service through educational outreach and fundraising efforts. More than a decade later, they are proud to say they are still working to fulfill those ideals.
Teriyaki Temple, co-founder of the API Council, recalls, 'Many members of the council have made significant impacts with their efforts in leadership roles spearheading awareness, fundraising, and relief efforts for countless causes, including HIV/AIDS, cancer, domestic violence, equal rights initiatives, mental health and substance abuse education, and most recently addressing the bullying and suicide epidemic affecting our youth.'
'The individuals in the API organization have been deeply moved by the images and stories of loss and suffering affecting the Japanese people, and they feel compelled to contribute in our own unique way,' she continued. 'As they have done in the past for victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and natural disasters like the Sumatra tsunami and Hurricane Katrina, they are coming together with others who want to take action and spread hope to those less fortunate.'
To make a raffle or auction donation or to get more information on Japan Rising, please contact Gaysha Starr at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the Rainbow World Fund or to make a direct donation to them, you can visit them online at www.rainbowfund.org/donate or mail a check to Rainbow World Fund, 4111 18th Street, Suite 5, San Francisco, CA 94114.
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