Center for Environmental Justice and Sustainability
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AJ Rafael Concert Raises $7500 Towards Environmental Education in the Philippines

  • Aj Rafael 3

  • Those of us at the Center for Environmental Justice and Sustainability (CEJS) started feeling pretty excited when the crowd in Campion Ballroom swelled to over 400.

    But we really knew the concert would be a great success when they all rushed the stage as AJ began to sing; the crowd spent the whole concert draping the stage, surrounding the band with plenty of love! (Watch parts of the concert here.)

    Over $7,500 Raised: We brought AJ to Seattle to help raise funds for School of the SEA, an environmental school in the Philippines devastated by Typhoon Haiyan. Generous donations from community members and ticket sales allowed us to send over $7,500 to the school! Watch this video to learn more about the school and its founder, the internationally-acclaimed lawyer Tony Oposa.

    Fasting with Yeb Sano: The day was marked by an act of solidarity as well: a group of Seattle University students, faculty and staff fasted. This is why: Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines on November 8. On November 11 the world’s climate change negotiators met in Warsaw for another round of UN-sponsored negotiations. Mr. Yeb Sano is the Philippines’ lead negotiator. His emotional opening talk, announcing his fast in solidarity with those suffering from the typhoon, inspired the world. (Watch a brief video of his talk here.)

    Michael Schut, CEJS Program Coordinator, spoke briefly about why he fasted, saying, “I abstained from food, I suppose most fundamentally, because I love this beautiful earth home of ours.  I also despair, some of the time, at my own complicity in degrading that which I love, and despair at our society’s seeming intransigence in addressing that degradation.  So today’s fast was a small act of empowerment for me, rooted in a spirituality that stands for a belief that love is more powerful than hate, or apathy, or despair. Today’s fast was an act of solidarity with those so impacted by Typhoon Haiyan. It was a way to remind myself that climate change has become what some have called the justice issue of our time.”

    Making Connections: Those in attendance heard a great concert. They also heard just a bit about how super-storms like Typhoon Haiyan are likely to become more and more common as climate changes, and  how those most often impacted by such disasters are low-income and minority communities least able to adapt. And, through donations and ticket purchases, they all helped re-build a school working to educate Filipinos on these kinds of connections.

    Thank You! First, to AJ Rafael and his band for donating their time! Second, to Tina Bernardino for her generous help in raising funds! Third, to Law School Professor Cliff Villa for his leadership and presentation. Finally, to all our co-sponsors: Gifted by Choice; Poverty Education Center;  Office of Multicultural Affairs; Mission and Ministry; Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture; Center for the Study of Justice in Society; Student Activities; United Filipino Club; Sustainable Student Action; Hyatt at Olive 8.