Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Love In Action: Mirror Article

Check out how d article accompanied by an advertisement for Adult Male Toys ... The Mirror good yes!

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Another article published in the first edition of the Campus Chronicle a new online and print publication geared at chronicling the activities of all local tertiary institutions.  


Trinis embrace international campaign, hugs from strangers Featured

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Strangers share an embrace on the Brian Lara Promenade, Port-of-Spain during the Love In Action: Hug Someone event on August 17th. The event was staged in commemoration of Marcus Garvey's birthday.Strangers share an embrace on the Brian Lara Promenade, Port-of-Spain during the Love In Action: Hug Someone event on August 17th. The event was staged in commemoration of Marcus Garvey's birthday. MARK GELLINEAU / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
A multiple-choice question for you: What do you do when a total stranger walks up to you and, for no apparent reason, requests a hug? (a) Give it to them; (b) bus’ a small wine; (c) take a feel-up; (d) politely decline; (e) run for the hills.
One rain-soaked afternoon on the Brian Lara Promenade in Port of Spain, 10 designated huggers witnessed all of the above. The event, “Love in Action: Hug Someone,” was organised by social activist Stephanie Leitch.
Leitch, a recent UWI graduate, explained that the concept of handing out free hugs, though new to Trinidad, is not an original one:
“Somebody sent me a YouTube video about the Free Hugs Campaign and they commented that they wished something like this could be done in T&T.”
She admits that although she loved the idea, it took a while before she could fully conceptualise the event. But then she learned about the “One Love Movement,” a global campaign geared toward spreading love and inspiring acts of kindness on Marcus Garvey’s birthday, Aug. 17.
The campaign’s organisers, the Bob Marley Foundation, encouraged individuals all over the world to enact the message behind Marley’s anthem, “One Love,” in commemoration of both the reggae icon and the founder of the Pan-African Movement.
Aug. 17, Leitch realised, was the perfect time to hand out hugs to strangers. Some members of the public, however, needed convincing.
“They have a catch in this or what?” one passerby asked. Attempts to assure her otherwise were met with skepticism: “Something wrong,” she said, a puzzled look on her face. “We don’t do that in Trinidad.”
Another onlooker asked if she had to give hugs “for free.” “You have to pay me for that,” she laughed, walking away.
And then there was the man who put his arms up defensively and shouted, “You trying for me to get charge or what?”
For Leitch, those moments of rejection were opportunities for growth: “To come out of yourself to offer a hug to somebody and to be rejected … It’s an enriching experience.”
“I don’t think it really matters,” she continued. “At the end of the day, we’re there to spread love. It’s what we have to do.”
For every person who refused a hug, however, there was somebody who accepted one. Outstretched arms were greeted with blushes and shy smiles. Cheeks touched; backs were patted and people wished each other “a good day.”
Whatever was being shared that afternoon made people feel good. So good, in fact, that once this reporter started hugging, she didn’t want to stop. Who would have guessed that hugging was so addictive?
Apparently, it’s contagious, too. Leitch says that she’s been asked to stage similar events in South Trinidad and along the East-West Corridor.
“I’m not sure if I’ll do it, though. I think I’ll pass the baton, let someone else organise it,” she said.
In the meantime, she plans to edit the footage of the event, put it over Bob Marley’s One Love and submit the finished product to the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival.
There is no doubt that the Love Movement will continue in one form or another. But can this reporter make a suggestion? One onlooker said, “Hug? Nah, man! I don’t give that. But I’ll take a bounce.”
Maybe we could have a “Love in Action: Bounce Someone” sometime soon … 

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