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As my clock struck 7am, the alarm began blasting its annoying tone. On a typical Saturday morning my alarm wouldn’t be set, and I’d most certainly be sleeping in.
But this was not a typical Saturday.
Today was my first “real” art class, which was taught by a former Disney animator. I sprung out of bed with a sense of immense excitement and unbridled curiosity. I simply couldn’t wait to see what’s in store!
I was 13 years old and, although I didn’t know it at the time, the cost of those art lessons had put a massive financial strain on my family.
Kids from my neighborhood don’t typically get to participate in experiences like this. After all, when you grow up in a mobile home park, these types of luxuries were rarely financially possible.
But my parents recognized that I had a talent for drawing from a very young age, and decided to make the necessary sacrifices to give me an opportunity to further explore my passion art.
None of us knew just how transformative those lessons would prove to be – not only for the development of my artistic skill – but also for my desire to create.
I already had an imaginative spark, but that art teacher helped ignite an artistic inferno that still burns today.
I’m excited to team up with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis because we all share the same desire to give back to our community, and this fundraiser is exemplary of that commitment.
All proceeds of this campaign will benefit the M&RL Equity Fund. Through their fund, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have supported a number of great organizations and causes.
In fact, just last year they helped launch the Hip Hop Artist Residency program with EMP Museum and Arts Corps in Seattle. The Residency program supports aspiring hip hop artists with paid skills development and workshops from leading artists in Seattle. The youth record original music in a professional studio and put on a live showcase performance for hundreds of people. I can personally attest to how impactful programs like this can be.
But the Hip Hop Residency program is just one example of the type of causes the M&RL Equity Fund supports. Another initiative, the 30/30 Project, was launched by Ryan Lewis and his mother Julie, who has lived with HIV for more than 30 years. The Project, which helps expand access to health care in areas that need it most, has raised funds to build seven health clinics in five countries to date.
Needless to say, the M&RL Equity Fund supports a variety of worthy causes, and the funds raised from this campaign will go towards supporting important social and racial justice issues.
I’m honored to join Macklemore and Ryan Lewis and support the M&RL Equity Fund’s goal to help fuel the next generation’s imaginative spark into an artistic inferno, and make a lasting, positive impact in our community and beyond.
Together, we can make a difference, and I hope you join us by supporting this fundraiser.