By Edward Henderson

Response to the aftermath of hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas has been an overflowing expression of concern for humanity. Unlike any other natural disaster in recent history, we’re seeing support come from everyday individuals and concerned citizens using the recourses they have to lend a helping hand. That sense of goodwill has expanded to the open mic scene here in San Diego.

Last Friday, Black Xpression open mic hosted a clothing drive to help victims of the storm in Houston. Attendees of the show were granted free entry with a donation and funds from the show went towards shipping the items. The drive will continue with another free show this Friday at 8pm at La Bodega Art Gallery in Barrio Logan (2196 Logan Ave.)

“Being so far it feels like you can’t help,” said Kovu, one of the founders of Black Xpression. “But this is what we can do. We can send this to people who we know can help and everything is trackable.”

Kovu learned of the opportunity to donate from a friend he met in the Marines who currently lives in Houston. After the initial donations were collected last week, photo documentation of the sorting and labeling process was posted on their social media to show people who donated how their gifts were being used. Once the donations arrive, videos will be taken to further illustrate the impact made on individuals who need aid the most.

Grassroots efforts like these have increased over the years due to mistrust of major organizations who take donations and misappropriate the funds.  

“We’ve learned from past mistakes. With social media, people can see raw content. If something is going on down there and people post it, you can see what it is before the media puts their spin on it. Now that people see raw content on social media, they’d rather get involved directly than rely on someone else. People are tired of wanting to contribute then finding out they contributed to something that isn’t directly helping people.”

The first shipment of goods from the drive will take place this week and a second will occur next week. Pickups can be arranged if individuals can’t make it out to the open mic. Everyone donating clothing is asked to wash the clothes before they are donated if possible. To learn more about how you can donate to the cause, search I Will Xpress on Facebook, follow the Xpress Instagram page @Xpress_it or message Kovu directly on Instagram @khalifa_kovu.



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