Monday, January 10, 2011

Michael Duran: All Hands On Deck For Haiti

What is your job?
Currently working as a door-man/ security for a couple bars in Seattle. Also as a volunteer deckhand on sailing ships.

What social causes are most important to you?
For the last year, the earthquake in Haiti has been my primary focus. Being the poorest country in the western hemisphere, Haiti is dire need for help. Although much of the current government is corrupt, the average Haitian person is warm-hearted and genuinely loving. My primary motivation is for the children. It's up to them to correct the problems for Haiti and with help they can grow to do that.
 I generally feel that the capitalist agenda hurts far more people then it benefits. Haiti is a perfect example of this. Greed, power and corruption begins with the wealthiest of the U.S. and filters down to third world countries to the point that basic clean water is something people are losing their lives over. I've watched this with my own eyes.  

What charity do you support – and how?  Currently I'm working with a group called 100 for Haiti. I helped them and a few others in March of 2010, shortly after the earthquake. I volunteered as crew and help sail much needed medical supplies and food to those in need in Haiti. I also support All Hands Volunteers and the wonderful Doctors Without Borders.

Why do you have a passion for this one in particular, is there a personal tie?
One of the main persons involved in 100 For Haiti is Greg Bennick, a personal friend and tireless warrior in the human cause, who helped me with the opportunity to sail with the volunteer crew. The 2 month personal experience of sailing from Florida to Jamaica then Haiti and back, with all the trails and troubles we encountered, completely changed my outlook on the world and my life. Being in Haiti and Jamaica, seeing the poverty first hand changed me.

Is there a particular way you would want to encourage readers to be involved? 
 You have no idea how good your life is. How well you have it. Travel. See the REAL world for what it is. The price of a drunken night at the bar or a video game or a fancy dinner could feed a sick and starving family in many other countries for an entire week. Also as part of 100 for Haiti we have an event coming up in January. The one year anniversary of the earthquake. 

With  we are asking activists and artists from around the world  to put on simultaneous events on and around January 12th, to raise money for two Haitian relief groups. One is a doctor from Port au Prince, Dr. Jacques Denis, who is the director of the Centre de Sante Saint Martin II a clinic serving 60,000 people. the other is Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees. They event in Seattle includes a number of great local Seattle bands and includes a raffle with many local great tattoo shops donating hours of free work towards this event. 

How would you define social responsibility?
We Americans are spoiled and ignorant of the world around us. Our country alone consumes more then 25% of all the worlds natural resources. We are to busy entertaining ourselves and stroking our own egos to see that most of the world, our fellow humans, suffer daily. We are all in this together. We all need each other. Research. Volunteer. Find a good honest organization and even if it's a few dollars a month, help others. Read. Open your eyes...

Do you have any tattoos that relate to your social/charitable beliefs/work?
A few yes, my knuckles read "Pura Vida" the real life, the good life. To me this means, not the american dream or wealth and fame. It means living a meaningful full life. Traveling, exploring, experiencing life to the full. Meeting and sharing with others everywhere. Our lives are short. Live life to the full. The best way I feel this is to experience other cultures other beliefs and see this great planet before we destroy it. This all ties in with my neck tattoos. 2 swallows that to me represent that freedom. Live a simple life that allows you to go and experience things you never would living in the same place and never seeing the world. Also I have a Tibetan word 'Rangwang' tattooed that means Freedom or liberation. Also I have the latin words Sine Metu which means "without fear."  Sometimes we must remove ourselves from our comfort zones and do things that take extra effort and courage. 

Who is your tattoo artist?
Krysten Dae at Under The Needle Tattoo 

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