Posts Tagged ‘Ricky Martin’

Ricky Martin & Habitat in Haiti

One of the elements of the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake is the still uncounted numbers of orphaned children. We understand all too clearly the hardship these kids do now and will face as the nation begins trying to move ahead. One of the side-effects we may not have thought of is just how vulnerable these kids are…to the forces of crime and injury and disease…but also to those who would prey on their innocence. Child sexual slavery is an international scourge and epidemic of proportions we rarely see or can even conceive. Ricky Martin has worked tirelessly with his Ricky Martin Foundation as an advocate for children and breaking the cycle of child enslavement that can and does see children of three and four years being sold into sexual slavery, and raped by dozens and dozens of men. It is unfathomable and yet happens every day. And it is not only overseas, but here in our own nation as well. It should make you sick to your stomach…if not, you didn’t read that correctly.

Martin recently went to Haiti alongside the CEO of Habitat for Humanity, Jonathan Reckford, to survey the devastation. Martin, who also traveled to the Boxing Day Tsunami region as soon as possible, said of the scene in Haiti, “Every family is a family in need.  I’m asking each of you to think about the future of the children.  What they will need to survive after they are properly fed and have received appropriate medical care is a safe and decent home.”

Habitat for Humanity has been at work in Haiti for 26 years and has provided more than 2,000 families with housing solutions through a variety of initiatives including new home construction, progressive building, home repairs and improvements. Habitat and The Ricky Martin Foundation (RMF) have joined to form the RMF/HFH Haiti Recovery Fund.  Both organizations are encouraging supporters to visit www.habitat.org/rmfhaiti to donate now for immediate and long-term efforts in Haiti.

Through his ongoing philanthropic endeavors in conjunction with the Ricky Martin Foundation, Martin continues to be one of Habitat for Humanity’s most visible supporters.  Martin’s relationship with the organization began in early 2005, when the Ricky Martin Foundation partnered with Habitat for Humanity to build 224 homes in Thailand in response to the Asian tsunami in Dec. 2004.  Martin personally assisted in the building of the homes and has said that handing over the keys to the homeowners was one of the most impactful moments of his life.

Clinton Global Initiative-Day 3

Alicia Keys-Keep a Child Alive

Alicia Keys-Keep a Child Alive

Usher-Powered by Service

Usher-Powered by Service

CGI-DAY 3

Today, Day 3—Thursday, seems to be celeb day, even more than the past two. I was in a press conference with Usher (who just donated a million dollars and is launching a new youth service program, “Powered by Service” http://www.poweredbyservice.org). Really Usher, you’re chewing gum for this? The new project aims to mobilize 5 million young people in initiating projects to serve their communities. He is partnered with several other organizations, including Philippe Cousteau and his focus on Oceans of the World with the “Waterplanet Challenge.” I bumped into, literally, James Brolin who was standing with Barbra Streisand—ended up dashing for the exit with them at the end of the night when we were ducking out a bit early.

Ricky Martin opened a session about human trafficking—his focus with the Ricky Martin Foundation (http://www.rickymartinfoundation.org). He’s looking very buttoned up in his black suit and gray tie. He gets choked up as he says, “I’m here because there are so many kids who didn’t make it,” we lost them, he tells us, to slavery, sexual slavery, and human trafficking.

This is also the focus of Mira Sorvino and Julia Ormond, who are here. There’s Bono being called up on the stage, next to Jessica Alba. Eve Ensler, Jesse Jackson….and this is before the evening awards ceremony with Demi & Ashton, Alicia Keys performing, Ben Stiller as MC, Lisa Ling presenting an award, and Quincy Jones giving a super-long speech. The carpet is blue throughout this hotel, but today it seems it ought to be red.

Queen Rania of Jordan—the most stunning ruler in the world—is one of the panelists on the dais for “Building Human Capital—Creating Jobs and Strong Communities.” She gets a big reaction when she tells us, “It would cost $11 billion dollars to put every child in the world into primary education. That is the money Americans spend on their pets every three months.”

Devastating statistics again float out: On average, paternally-led families that earn one dollar a day spend, on average, 2 cents on education and 20 cents on alcohol, sugar drinks, prostitution, and gambling. When mothers are given the money to make family decisions, almost 95 cents gets re-invested into their families.

Brad Pitt, with his pointy, Green Arrow-looking beard, gets the hallways buzzing—he is a featured panelist in the Town Hall meeting, “Building a Better Future—A Progress Report on Make it Right, New Orleans.” Make it Right was born from this conference three years ago, and will, by this time next year, have built 150 houses in the Lower Ninth Ward that are green, aesthetically designed, sustainable, and affordable. Many families are already back home from their paradigm-shifting work. Bill Clinton wonders why, if we can do it in New Orleans for no more money than traditional, wasteful architecture—why would we ever build the old way, anywhere, again?

After truly dense days of emotionally and intellectually challenging forums large and small, the evening awards are a nice relief. The ballroom has gone through a mild transition—tables have dark tablecloths instead of white, more elegant chairs have been swapped in, the crowd arrives more dressed up with lots of cocktail dresses, suits, and an array of beautiful native fabrics from cultures around the world. Juanes, the most popular Latin recording star, does a couple of great numbers, and Alicia Keys, a CGI member with her outstanding fight against AIDS (http://www.keepachildalive.org), closes out with her hits, including “Superwoman,” particularly poignant considering the day’s insights.

To have been present this week to such profound commitment and the energy to make change, it felt like the people in these rooms had the drive and determination to solve all the problems in the world. How can we not, every one of us, want to be part of that?

Philippe Cousteau-Waterplanet Challenge

Philippe Cousteau-Waterplanet Challenge

Ricky Martin-Ricky Martin Foundation

Ricky Martin-Ricky Martin Foundation