When I was three, someone asked me what my favorite color was and I yelled “RED!” At 28, ask me the same thing and I’d yell just as loud RED! But you probably don’t need to ask me. There is usually something red on me. If it’s not my clothes or my shoes, it’s the scarf around my neck of the rubber band around my wrist. Or it’s my eyes from not getting enough sleep (O___o). In fact, look at my website colors. Mmmhmm.
Yes. I am ALL RED EVERYTHING. I’m obsessed with the color and I can’t help it. RED RULES EVERYTHING AROUND ME (RREAM).
But it works. The color red represents energy, desire, action and passion. I like to think I live my life with all of these. Everyday, I wake up and I’m doing what I want. I love what I do and I’m passionate about my work, and more importantly, my purpose, which I’m lucky to have figured out already.
Late February 2009, I was having a conversation with my girl Karyn and I told her I had the idea to do something around HIV/AIDS and red shoes. HIV was an issue that I cared about because one of my friends from college had over 20 cousins who were orphaned by the epidemic, and I had worked as an Event Coordinator for a small AIDS nonprofit in Chicago. And I wanted to do something.
Wells, Karyn realized that National Women & Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NWGHAAD) was coming up on March 10 and thought we should do a blogging campaign. We called it “The Red Pump Project” and asked our blogger friends to put a custom badge we designed, of a red shoe on their sites and talk about the impact of the epidemic on women and girls. On NWGHAAD, 135 blogs joined us to “Rock the Red Pump®.”
Unbeknownst to us, we had started something bigger than us. More than just a national nonprofit organization, Red Pump has also grown into a movement that has spurred women all over the world to put on red shoes (even if they aren’t pumps) to jtake a stand against the AIDS epidemic. And over 2,000 blogs have participated in our campaigns.
If a red shoe can allow one more person to pay attention, and one less person to become infected, we’re doing what we’ve set out to do. Our work online and on the ground is to motivate action and encourage dialogue about the effects of HIV/AIDS. We work to decrease the stigma and normalize the conversation through workshops for teenagers, cocktails events and other initiatives.
We’re actually in the middle of our FIFTH annual campaign right now (SHEESH! FIVE! We’re Kindergartners now!). We’re asking bloggers to join us once again to Rock the Red Pump on their websites by signing up, grabbing a badge and placing it on their sidebars. And on March 10, they dedicate a blogpost to talking about the epidemic.
And we want everyone else to get their favorite pair of red shoes ready! Upload pictures of you in red shoes to the Red Pump Facebook fan page, and help us spread the word using the #RocktheRedPump hashtag (and follow us on Twitter @RedPumpProj).
We want women and girls to understand that we can beat this epidemic, so our kids won’t have to fight so hard. And when we’re empowered to make better choices with our bodies, we’re saving ourselves.
The Red Pump Project is how I choose to pay it forward and this is where my passion lies. The color red is a power color and Red Pump is a powerful cause.
Red is my spirit animal, and being able to look at what I do as life’s version of the color red motivates and inspires me to keep chugging. And my hope for everyone is their lives are full of passion and energy too. Put on some red sometime. 😀
Anyone else inspired by a certain color or is it just me?
BeeTeeDUBS, those shirts that me and Karyn have on in the video? They’re from the newly-launched Red Pump T-Shirt line so you can order one too (and support our work). We’ve partnered with Royal Dynamite, the same folks who do the Awkward Black Girl tees. Get a Red Pump T-Shirt! KTHXBAI!
Because a great mentor can make all the difference, Coca-Cola has teamed up with Magic Johnson, Common and Debra Lee of BET Networks to give four young people the apprenticeship experience of a lifetime. Visit MCR.com/PayItForward to nominate an aspiring youth and help pay it forward to the next generation. You’ll also be automatically entered for a chance to win $5,000 for each nomination you make (up to five nominations per person).
Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Coca-Cola via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Coca-Cola. Don’t get it twisted. This post was ALL ME, SON!