[Hpn] 2003 Blogathon Participant Blogging in Support of MindFreedom Hunger Strikers

Morgan W. Brown norsehorse@hotmail.com
Fri, 25 Jul 2003 07:22:58 -0400

Am sending out the below piece as an fyi. It is a modified version of a 
press release, compiled from some of my own writing along with what I used 
from the 2003 press kit.

Morgan <norsehorse@hotmail.com>
Morgan W. Brown
Montpelier Vermont USA
Norsehorse's Home Turf: http://nht.blogspot.com


Subject: 2003 Blogathon Participant Blogging in Support of MindFreedom 
Hunger Strikers

News Topics/Themes:
Human Interest; Technology; Computers; Internet; Web logs; Blogging; 
Community; Charities; Fund Raising; Human Rights; Hunger Strike; Mental 
Health; Homelessness

Event: 2003 Blogathon: http://www.blogathon.org/
3rd Annual Internet Funding Raising Event for Various Charities

Start Date of Event: Saturday, July 26, 2003

Finish Date of Event: Sunday, July 27, 2003

Duration of Event: 24 Hours

Start Time of Event: 9:00 AM [ET]

Finish Time of Event: 9:00 AM [ET]

Location of Event: Internet


2003 Blogathon Participant Blogging in Support of MindFreedom Hunger 

Just recently, Montpelier Vermont resident Morgan W. Brown found out about 
the 2003 Blogathon  http://www.blogathon.org while catching up on some 
online reading. Inspired by this, he decided to join this year's Blogathon 
as a first-time participant.

The third annual Blogathon commences Saturday, July 26th at 9:00 A.M. [ET] 
and concludes on Sunday, July 27th at 9:00 A.M [ET].

During the Blogathon web users from around the world will engage in a 
24-hour marathon of blogging, each to raise money and awareness for his or 
her own good cause. In the words of founder Cat Connor, "I've always felt 
the best thing about the web was its ability to affect the real world. The 
web can be a major force for good."

The annual Blogathon is an attempt to harness that force, uniting hundreds 
of bloggers together to raise money for dozens of different charities. 
Pledges are gathered from friends, family, fellow webloggers, and 
occasionally total strangers, all of whom sponsor a blogger just as they 
might sponsor someone in a walk-a-thon.

Blogging is a shorthand term for "weblogging," which is simply the act of 
keeping a regularly updated Internet journal (more commonly referred to as 
Web logs or blogs).  Some webloggers (bloggers, for short) post a diarylike 
record of their lives, while others write lengthy essays, make political 
commentary, or even post digital pictures that document their daily travels.

Connor recruited a total of 101 participants for the first annual Blogathon 
in 2001, and together they raised over $20,000 for their charities.  After 
the event, Connor opined, "Creating an international community over the 
course of 24 hours -- one with a single purpose -- is something that can 
only happen on the web. It makes the web magical. I'd love to see it become 
absolutely huge."  Her dream inched closer to reality last year, when over 
200 bloggers raised more than $50,000 in pledges.

Thus far the 2003 Blogathon has 542 registered participants who will be 
blogging during the Internet event with 2084 sponsors signed up and 
$59,067.94 raised so far.

Brown began blogging a subject-based blog concerning homelessness news and 
information last October (2002). Late the following month, he started his 
own personal blog, Norsehorse's Home Turf: http://nht.blogspot.com

"If I can blog or otherwise utilize the many offerings found on the 
Internet, the truth is that just about anyone could," stated Brown. "There 
was a time, not all that long ago either, when I literally knew nothing 
about any of this. It came very slowly to me. Yet I managed to pick it up 
little by little, mostly by finally sitting down and doing it over and over, 
until I knew enough to actually make use of what I learned.

"All my blogging and other online activity takes place using public access 
computers and sometimes, when available, the computers of friends and 
allies. This is something for which I am extremely grateful as well as 
deeply appreciative".

Not having a residence of his own to live, Brown has been homeless. The last 
three years has brought him places of last resort with the basic comforts of 
a roof overhead, indoor plumbing and, in certain arrangements, at least a 
couch to sleep on. He calls it "couch surfing" and "crashing around," terms 
common in homeless circles. This has meant not having to experience the wear 
and tear that can come with the realities of being on the streets or camping 
out in the woods, especially either or both during the worst of weather or 
already not being in the best of health.

One may wonder how someone without a home, phone, computer or reliable 
24-hour online access of his own would expect to be able to blog during the 
Blogathon. As Brown was aware they had a computer lab with reliable Internet 
service, this past Tuesday he went calling on a local charitable 
organization in Montpelier to broach his request.

Right upfront Brown offered 24-hours of volunteer time to the organization 
on a full hourly match basis in return for permitting him the use of their 
computer lab facilities during the 24-hour annual Internet funding raising 
event. A meeting was set up for the next morning, when and where the matter 
could be discussed in greater length and detail. In the end he had his 
answer: yes, he was welcome to use the computer lab for the 2003 Blogathon.

Some bloggers use the Blogathon as a chance to publicize lesser-known 
charities; this year, Conner is blogging on the behalf of Modest Needs, a 
novel charity that assists people with small, unexpected, and often 
devastating expenses. Other charities include Doctors Without Borders, 
Amnesty International, and the Associate for International Cancer Research.

Blogathon is a celebration of the capabilities of the World Wide Web; for a 
single day it unites a decentralized mass of participants, sponsors, 
viewers, and charities to work towards a common goal of affecting change in 
the world.

For some, staying awake is enough of a challenge, but others take the 
opportunity to entertain their audiences with special projects. Last year 
some inventive participants penned haikus, posted serialized novellas, 
followed pets around the house with a camera, performed original songs, and 
even posted pictures of toilets from around the country!

The rules of the Blogathon state that each "participant must update every 30 
minutes for the 24-hour period beginning on July 26, 2002, at 0600 Pacific 
Time. Everyone blogs during the same 24-hour period. [...]"

"Having also done more than my fair share of all-nighters, I have plenty of 
practice and experience to bank on in this regard too," Brown said. "I will 
be blogging round the clock to help benefit the upcoming MindFreedom - 
Support Coalition (SCI) Hunger Strike for Human Rights in Mental Health. The 
hunger strike itself begins on Saturday, August 16, 2003 and is being held 
in Pasadena, California."

Brown added that, "peers and allies of mine will be putting themselves right 
on the line with their hunger strike. They are doing it for me and lots of 
others. There is no way in good conscience that I could sit idlely by and do 
nothing. It is not possible for me to travel to join them in the hunger 
strike in Pasadena, but I certainly knew I could figure out a creative way 
to support what they are doing. That is when the idea to create the 
MindFreedom Fast Blog came to me. It is something I know how to do and am 
good enough at doing. It is my way of giving back to those who are giving 
unselfishly of themselves for something important to so many."

The Web log, or blog, that Brown will be blogging during the annual Internet 
event this coming weekend is his recently created MindFreedom Fast Blog: 

"Having had the lived experience of being a former mental health patient has 
definitely opened my eyes, helping to shape my world view and 
consciousness," says Brown. Now an activist and writer -- albiet a 
"struggling, yet serious and persistent one," he stated his belief that 
"such experiences have terribly awakened or quickened my mind and emotions 
to the depths of my soul, in such a fashion as to ensure that I do more than 
simply survive what I have experienced or just try to get by like I use to a 
longtime ago. It has become vital, even critical, that I speak out and also 
act accordingly in order to help make the mental health system and, as much 
of the world -- as is possible -- better for others."

Support Coalition International, of which Brown is a supporter, is an 
international organization with one hundred grassroots sponsoring 
organizations in 14 nations.

In 2001, Support Coalition International (SCI) was the first psychiatric 
survivor run human rights group to be granted official Non Governmental 
Organization status from the United Nations. SCI currently has NGO 
Consultative Roster Status with ECOSOC in the UN. SCI is active in 
supporting an historic UN convention on disability and human rights.

When the 2003 Blogathon is over, each sponsor will receive an e-mail from 
the staff of the Blogathon with instructions on where and how to send their 
donation directly to the charity the sponsored blogger(s) had chosen.


Related Links:

2003 Blogathon: http://www.blogathon.org/

MindFreedom Fast Blog: http://mindfreedom-fast.crimsonblog.com

MindFreedom - Support Coalition (SCI) Hunger Strike for Human Rights in 
Mental Health: http://www.mindfreedom.org/mindfreedom/hungerstrike.shtml

Alternative Mental Health Links: http://nht_amhl1.blogspot.com/

Have questions about blogs and blogging? To get some answers, check out:

Things Blog
Blog Things: http://blogs_fyi.blogspot.com/


Morgan <norsehorse@hotmail.com>
Morgan W. Brown
Montpelier Vermont USA
Norsehorse's Home Turf: http://nht.blogspot.com

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