NEW YORK, March 28 Today the "Healing Starts With Us"national campaign launches its website Healingstartswithus.net to create agrassroots online network that will mobilize and promote the campaign's goalto reach 1 million pledges by Independence Day, July 4, 2008.
The campaign's website comes after an overflowing crowd of community,civic, social, political leaders and entertainers including Academy Award(R)nominee Ruby Dee, John Amos, Mo'Nique, Terry McMillan, HBO's The Wire co-starsJamie Hector and Felicia "Snoop" Pearson and Rev. Al Sharpton united on March18, 2008 for the launch of the "Healing Starts With Us" campaign, moderated bySusan L. Taylor and Geoffrey Canada. More than 700 attendees gathered at thehistoric Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial & Educational Center(formerly known as The Audubon Ballroom) to listen as celebrity guests readexcerpts from Terrie M. Williams' latest book, BLACK PAIN: It Just Looks LikeWe're Not Hurting. Following the dramatic readings, in what has become thecampaign's trademark, Williams engaged the audience in an "Open Book healingQ&A" discussion - which lead to an outpouring of audience members sharingmoving testimonials that dealt with rape, death, and other traumas - includingTerry McMillan, Felicia "Snoop" Pearson who shared incredibly touching storiesof their own trials. Mo'Nique brought the evening full circle by sharingpublicly for the first time her struggle with depression, and credited herhusband Sidney who recognized and suggested her need for therapy. SaidMo'Nique, "I thought depression was a white woman's disease; my sistahs andbrothas, I'm here to tell you that it does not discriminate."
The historic launch marked an important day in the history of thecommunity, recognizing the opportunity to raise awareness and voices aboutissues facing men and women at every age and stage of life. Echoing the wordsof Malcolm X, Academy Award(R) nominee and beloved matriarch, Ruby Dee toldthe community that, "We must take back our community and its well being ... ByAny Means Necessary."
"We want to encourage 1 million people to commit in support of our missionto provide a support network that encourages open dialogue about emotionaldistress", said Xavier Artis, creative philanthropist and campaign creator."With this campaign we can take back our independence and begin the process ofhealing individually and collectively, as a community. It is through the powerof one that we will reach and exceed our goal of 1 million pledges."
Growing support of the campaign to reach its 1 million pledges includeseveral national corporations, non-profits, and community businesses who havejoined forces to create the 'Healing Starts With Us' Committee of Sponsorsincluding: The Dixon Group, Inc.; Forest City Ratner Companies; Macy's; Coca-Cola; The River Room; Columbia University Office of Government and CommunityAffairs; The Jonathan M. Tisch Foundation; The Malcolm X & Dr. Betty ShabazzMemorial & Educational Center; The Loreen Arbus Foundation; Moet Hennessy USA;The Middleton Law Group; Shabazz Fish & Grill; The Terrie Williams Agency; BadBoy Entertainment Worldwide; The Artis Connection; Planet Hollywood; BET; SeanJean; National Cares Mentoring Movement; Alpha International Travel; SeanJohn; and Blue World Travel; Hue-Man Cafe & Bookstore; The Shark Bar; Raventhe Cakeman and Citrus Restaurant.
"We are proud of the partnership's we are establishing with businesses andindividuals. This movement plays a significant role in helping our communitymove further down a path of hope and healing, while also providing them with anurturing environment," added Williams. "With the website, we have the abilityto use digital media to offer more opportunities for the community to createan, 'open book' dialogue with others, sign-up and pledge their support as weheal within the African American community."