Calling All Crows Makes $100,000 Donation For Darfuri Women

Chad Stokes & Friends sing Dispatch classic "Bang Bang" to close Calling All Crows' 3rd Annual Benefit Show at the House of Blues in Boston. From left to right: Lauren Coleman (Pebaluna), The White Buffalo, Bonnie Paine (Elephant Revival), Chad Stokes (State Radio, Dispatch), Matt Embree (Rx Bandits, Pebaluna), Melaena Cadiz, and Brad Corrigan (Dispatch). (Photo credit: Steve Rosenfield / Ganesh Photography)

Chad Stokes & Friends wrapped up their inaugural acoustic tour on Friday in Boston at Calling All Crows’ 3rd Annual Benefit Show at the House of Blues. Stokes (State Radio, Dispatch) shared the stage with tourmates Matt Embree (Rx Bandits), Lauren Coleman (Pebaluna), Bonnie Paine (Elephant Revival), The White Buffalo, and Melaena Cadiz as well as special guests Brad Corrigan (Dispatch) and Erin Coughlin. Through a check presentation to partner Oxfam America as part of the program on Friday night, Calling All Crows announced that it met its 2010 goal of raising $100,000 to support Sudanese women living in internal displacement (IDP) camps.

Founded by Stokes and tour manager Sybil Gallagher, Calling All Crows is a service organization that works to mobilize musicians and fans to empower women around the world. The donation will be used to offer grants, vocational training, and small-business loans — as well as assets like donkeys, donkey carts, seeds, and plows — to help many of those affected by the conflict in Darfur earn a dignified living.

"In my travels for Oxfam, I've seen first-hand how the initiatives Calling All Crows support are meaningful and can transform women's lives,” said Liz Lucas, Oxfam America’s Humanitarian Press Officer. “We are grateful for Calling All Crows and State Radio's support, and for the support of their members and fans."

What started in December 2008 as a solo acoustic performance by Stokes at the 200-seat Brattle Theater in Cambridge to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights has turned into a music-powered movement for gender equality around the globe. Over the last two years, Calling All Crows has blossomed into a vibrant grassroots network of fans, all working to lift up and celebrate women through service. Through pre-show events organized by Calling All Crows’ local volunteer Action Leaders, service projects led by Community Organizers in New York City and Boston, and two Alternative Break Tours, Calling All Crows has invested over 10,000 hours of service in the last two years.

“You all have really, really stepped up this year,” said Stokes, as he thanked the crowd for their support. “By joining our Bringing Change to Women campaign, participating in the 2nd annual Northampton Halloween 5K – which raised $26,000, a $10,000 increase 2009 – and holding independent fundraisers at high schools and colleges, Crows led and came up with bold and innovative ways to help us reach our goal of helping Darfuri women start their own businesses. Thank you and congrats!”

In addition to the check presentation, Calling All Crows also honored Cynthia Gabriel, Amnesty International’s long-time Northeast Field Organized, with the second annual Lauzie Award. An unsung hero within the organization, Gabriel began her work with Amnesty International as an Anthropology major at Northeastern University, where she served as a volunteer and then became the organization’s first student in their work-study program. Upon graduation, she served in the Peace Corps for two years in West Africa and worked at the United Nations before returning to Amnesty International.

For over a decade, Gabriel has worked to train, equip, and inspire the grassroots to stand up in the defense of human rights. Her belief in the power of young people is evident by both the time and energy she puts into building Amnesty International’s student groups across New England. In particular, Gabriel has worked tirelessly on the case of Nobel Peace Prize winner and prisoner of conscience Aung San Suu Kyi, who was released last month. The Lauzie Award is given annually in honor of Gallagher’s mother Lauren, a woman who embodied a true spirit of service and inspired others to do the same.

Calling All Crows heads back out on the road in 2011 with Stokes’ band State Radio, which kicks off its tour on March 10 at the Ogden Theater in Denver.



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