Note: I just realized I have yet to post August's Cause of the Month, as well as a new batch of virtual volunteering opportunities, so I guess today is going to be an impromptu festival of do-good-ing.
The Cause of the Month is a little thing I do to increase exposure of a particular charity or organization I think is worthwhile, and I feature a new one every month. I also donate a minimum of $10 in cash or needed supplies to each cause. You can help the causes you find important in a variety of ways: 1) donate, 2) link to my article and/or the charity's own website, or 3) suggest an organization for future month's cause.
Joe Strummer, the lead singer of the Clash, died unexpectedly on December 22, 2002. My memory of learning the news is still saddeningly clear. A few days before Christmas, I was visiting at my mom's and couldn't get to sleep, so around midnight I ended up channel surfing. To my happy surprise, I found a block of Clash videos on MTV. It was a contented fifteen minutes or so of viewing - until the first commercial break, when they popped up with his name, and the date of his death. I was stunned. I remained in denial until the morning, when I confirmed it online. I remember sincerely wishing it weren't true. I'm sure I remember it so clearly because it was the first time I witnessed the death of one of my heroes.
Me rehashing yet again the reasons why the Clash were called "the only band that matters" is not really necessary, but Strummer himself was important for, even after the Clash days, maintaining his complete dedication to social rights issues and charities, and his close connections to his fans - not to mention continuing to put out fantastic music with his band the Mescaleros. Beyond that, though, I admired Strummer for his inherent conviction in the positive power of music as a force of change, and the audience as agents of that change. He believed in people. He believed in rock and roll, and he believed in revolutions, and he saw both as a way to get justice for those who needed it.
Which is why this Cause of the Month post is for Strummerville: The Joe Strummer Foundation for New Music. Its' website description:
Set up by the friends and family of Joe Strummer in the year after his death, the charity seeks to reflect Joe's unique contribution to the music world by offering support, resources and performance opportunities to artists who would not normally have access to them.
They offer studio time and promotion for new musicians, and inspire fundraising concerts across the world. You can help support the cause with a PayPal donation, or check out their MySpace. After all, if Strummer left us anything, it's proof positive that a musician with a message and a platform can make a huge difference.