NAACP helps to heal Haiti

Juana Esquivel

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Jonnae Thompson, the host of the "Help Heal Haiti" benefit preforms a spoken word piece on Tuesday evening. Photo Credit: Jennifer Zeitlin / Staff PhotographerThe National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) CSUN chapter hosted a fundraiser to help those devastated by the Haiti earthquake.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) CSUN chapter hosted a fundraiser to help those devastated by the Haiti earthquake.

“Help Heal Haiti” was held Tuesday night in the Games Room of the University Student Union (USU) with approximately a dozen poetic, musical and comedy performances.

“The purpose of this event was to raise money for Haiti through an open mic benefit, comedy, poetry and music,” said Jonnae Thompson, 22, English major and host of the event.
Thompson said the donation-only event raised $133.50.

Jillian Banks, president of the NAACP CSUN chapter, who is most commonly known as “Gee Gee” said the money will be combined with CSUN’s organization, “United We Serve.”

“United We Serve” will host a benefit concert later this month in which both amounts of money will be put together and sent to Haiti.
Those in attendance were able to drop their donations at the door and by purchasing goods from a bake sale.

The bake sale, hosted by Alpha Nu Kappa, included cookies, brownies, soft drinks and water for $1 each.

On the pink-colored table cloth where the bake sale was held was a small crystal-like box that said “Help Heal Haiti Donations.”

Also on the table was a basket, which included a teddy bear, apple cider, chocolate candy and Bath & Body Works products, covered in red transparent gift wrapping paper that was raffled off in honor of Valentine’s Day.

Thompson said about 75 people were in attendance, but was not sure.

“It was a nice turn out though,” she said.

The audience was scattered around the room, sitting on the couches and high top tables while others were standing and leaning against the walls.
CSUN student Kevin Williams, 21, a communications major, described the event as “exciting.”

“It has a lot of different art forms,” he said. “Poetry, hip-hop, Africanism, comedy, stuff like that. All together, it was interesting. It was fun.”
Williams said he found out about the event through a class presentation given by one of the event’s performers earlier that day.

“He invited me to come tonight and I had a class at 6:45 so I said might as well,” he said.
The event provided a mixture of professional and student performers.

Thompson, a professional comedian, said she just called people she knew.
“As far as the comics that you’ve seen here tonight, I was just able to call some of my comedy comrades and say ‘hey, get involved, jump on with this event for Haiti,’” she said. “They were excited. Half of them e-mailed me asking if they could get on the show so they are just excited to be a part of the benefit.”

Thompson said the musical performance was provided through Pan African Studies professor Dr. Horne.

The event began with the African American National Anthem, “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing.”
Thompson then welcomed everyone for attending and told a few jokes.

The musical performances were started by a young man that was introduced by Thompson as “a poet, dancer, and writer.”
He sang two songs, one which as entilted “Dreams Come True.”

Another female student recited a love poem and then the comedy began.
The first comedian of the night was a perfomer who began by telling a joke about Los Angeles Lakers’ Ron Artest and was followed by a series of jokes on text messaging abbreviations.

That was followed by another male comedian that used a change in voices, gestures, and obscenity as his comedy act.
The musical performance, Precisescience, a duo from Baltimore, entertained much of the night.

They sang songs with music and acapella, talked to their audience and promoted their CD. They said the procceeds would benefit Haiti.
“Remember Haiti needs us,” said one of the band members. “We can’t wait for the Red Cross, we can’t wait for Barack Obama.”

The night continued and ended with comedy.
One of the final performances was of two comedians.

The two women stepped on the stage and talked to the student audience by asking their majors.
Some students responded by saying their majors were music and theatre. One of the comedians joked by saying things such as “who in here wants to have a real job?”

Thompson said it was important for students to attend because it was not only for a good cause, but the event gave an opportunity to show some talent.

“I think it’s important, first of all, because it is an open-mic benefit,” she said. “So, you know, the money is going to a good cause. Also, it is open for students to showcase their talents along with professional artists as well as. So, it was just good to see you know who here on campus is amazing as an artist.”

Thompson said the event was announced last Friday and was happy about the result.
“For it to have just been announced Friday, it was an amazing turnout,” she said. “It’s very commendable. So, I believe this could be successful once again if we raise money for Haiti.”