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Every Mother Counts


May 2014


My good friend Kristi York-Wooten asked me to perform at a benefit she wanted to put together for a charity organization that her friend Christy Turlington Burns had founded, one that gives aid to women worldwide who don't have access to adequate prenatal and childbirth care. Of course I agreed, I love Kristi, and Martha and Rufus Wainwright were on the gig too, but as I learned more about Every Mother Counts I was struck by a couple things that made me genuinely proud to be involved: First, I've always felt that organizations which benefit women around the world are crucial to making the planet a better place; that wherever women are specifically made to suffer or are not respected as human beings, there is particular strife for everyone, even the men who make the stupid laws to keep them down. And another thing: that this Christy Turlington, the supermodel, had started this organization because she herself had a complicated delivery in one of her pregnancies and would likely have died had she not had access to a modern, clean hospital full of capable doctors and drugs.


I use the word "supermodel", and it sounds like a pejorative, because having the level of fame and wealth she undoubtedly has in our society makes her able to, essentially, sit on a beach and buy things for the rest of her life, sucking up space and resources. Lots of famous rich people do that and the regular people salivate and crave that too. But this lady went through something frightening and traumatic and on the other side of that decided that women in desperately impoverished places like Uganda and Haiti and central Florida (YES) could be helped by her efforts and that acting on that understanding was an important thing to do.


Christy shook my hand when she arrived at the show we did. She is a beautiful-looking woman, no doubt about it, tall and willowy, like mad American dream elegant with her perfectly understated hair and makeup and fabulous shoes (in my next life I will be..) She seemed warm and friendly, but rather serious too, purposeful and intelligent. 


When I played my short set, I thought about her the whole time, and I know it may sound softheaded and new-age to say it, but I mean it: for someone as cynical as I am, who sees the world as a ruined place where people are ruled by their more sinister tendencies, I felt a little light, hope, a little sense of the power of good to counter the Kardashian-ization of our world.

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