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Thursday, January 19, 2012

I Hope You Can Make It!!

Here's what's coming up!

February 15th, 6p
HER WORD AS WITNESS Q&A with Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts (she wrote the NY Times-lauded Harlem is Nowhere) and me; moderated by Marva Allen.
Skylight Gallery
3rd fl
1368 Fulton Street
Brooklyn, NY 11216

March 31st, 11:45a-1:15p
“Migration and Cultural Memory in the Literature of Black Writers” panel discussion
Founders Auditorium on the campus of Medgar Evers College
1650 Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11225
Honorees include Ishmael Reed, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, Nikki Giovanni, and Dr. Howard Dodson

"Kindess is Always Fashionable" - Amelia Barr/Rachel Roy

Buy Rachel Roy's "Kindness" clutch to benefit Ghana-based charity OrphanAID Africa & receive a free copy of Powder Necklace

Happy NEW Year!! I know it's way too late to be asking about Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Year's plans, but nonetheless, I hope you had a great set of holidays including Martin Luther King, Jr day! Mine were super relaxed and recharging, and now I can't believe we're actually 19 days into 2012.

Several months ago, I learned that designer Rachel Roy had created a clutch to benefit the charity OrphanAID Africa. This non-profit is dear to my heart because it works to address the issue of Ghanaian families who can't afford to take care of their kids. In Ghana, and in many so-called developing nations, poor families find themselves in a position where they feel they have no other option but to send their children to wealthier relatives/employers to work as servants (house girls, house boys, garden boys, etc). In some cases, these children are sent to orphanages. OrphanAID Africa supports families at this breaking point, offering financial assistance, job training, and other tools to help keep children at home with their families.

Actress Selma Blair has the "Kindness" clutch

In Powder Necklace, my character Enyo is an acknowledgment of this phenomenon, and in my upcoming book Maids and Mothers, I explore this issue more deeply. Perhaps I identify with this phenomenon so closely because I was sent to Ghana as a pre-teen. I was sent for different reasons, and pretty much pampered by my family; left alone to sulk about my desire to return to the States, but it still struck me deeply to see adolescents and teens working as household staff. As I've gotten older, it continues to bug me. I hate to think of money separating children from their parents and vice-versa.

Hilary Swank totes the clutch

To that end, I ordered a few of the Rachel Roy clutches--100% of the net profits went to OrphanAID--and decided to sell each with a free copy of my book. The clutches are $49; about 10" long, and divided into a small and big compartment inside that can fit a wallet, keys, lip gloss, and other similarly sized things. There's also an inscription inside that reads "For my kids in Ghana. [heart] Rachel Roy." If you're feeling the premise of OrphanAID Africa / admire Rachel Roy's work / need a cute spring/summer clutch / been meaning to pick up a copy of my book, you can satisfy all of the above on my website till the clutches run out.

Rachel Roy with the clutch she designed to benefit OrphanAID Africa